Aug 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Rubio: Congressional oversight of intelligence faces "historic crisis"

 Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)  during a hearing   on Capitol Hill August 04

Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Sen. Marco Rubio during an August hearing on Capitol Hill. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Acting Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Saturday criticized an Office of the Director of National Intelligence decision to cancel in-person briefings with Congress on election security issues, but also claimed leaks by members of Congress are part of the problem.

What he's saying: “Congressional oversight of intelligence activities now faces a historic crisis," Rubio said in a statement. "Intelligence agencies have a legal obligation to keep Congress informed of their activities. And members of Congress have a legal obligation to not divulge classified information. In my short time as Acting Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, I have witnessed firsthand how this delicate balance has been destroyed.

  • “Divulging access to classified information in order to employ it as a political weapon is not only an abuse, it is a serious federal crime with potentially severe consequences on our national security. This situation we now face is due, in no small part, to the willingness of some to commit federal crimes for the purpose of advancing their electoral aims."
  • "Yet, this grotesque criminal misconduct does not release the intelligence community from fulfilling its legal requirements to respond to Congressional oversight committees and to keep members of Congress fully informed of relevant information on a timely basis."
  • "I have spoken to the Director Radcliffe who stated unequivocally that he will continue to fulfill these obligations. In particular, he made explicitly clear that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will continue receiving briefings on all oversight topics, including election matters.”

Go deeper: Read: Intelligence chief's letter to Congress on election security briefings

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