Acting DNI Richard Grenell. Photo: Sven Hoppe/picture alliance via Getty Images

Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell announced Friday that his office would take the lead role in election security briefings for political candidates, amid other organizational changes to the DNI's National Counterterrorism Center.

The big picture, via the New York Times: Grenell "has been racing against the clock to make changes to his office before his appointment ends and he is replaced with a Senate-confirmed official."

What they're saying: “We are facing a time in our nation’s history where the threat picture is far broader than terrorism, and the I.C. needs to shift resources to address a wide range of complex, sophisticated adversaries,” Lora Shiao, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said in a statement.

  • William R. Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, will continue to work with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security when notifying political candidates of potential threats, the agency said.

The other side: Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, released a statement Friday in response:

“Our Committee did not authorize these latest changes—announced, once again, late on a Friday—by a temporary and unqualified Acting Director of National Intelligence, nor were HPSCI or SSCI even briefed or consulted, as required by law and requested by the Committees. The Acting DNI has a legal obligation to keep the Committee fully and currently informed of these changes and failed to do so.
“NCTC was created in the wake of the September 11th attacks, and preventing another catastrophic attack remains among our nation’s most solemn obligations. Many recent former NCTC leaders expressed concerns about the potential for politicized changes to NCTC. We will therefore be reviewing these significant changes carefully, including to assess the operational impact they could have on our nation’s readiness to identify, assess, and thwart potential terrorist attacks.”

Go deeper... Scoop: Trump weighs tapping Grenell to chair intelligence advisory board

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Ukraine's Zelensky warns citizens not to interfere in U.S. elections

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky attends a meeting in a Parliamentary Hall in Kyiv, Ukraine, in July. Photo: Sergii Kharchenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a statement on his Facebook page Saturday stating that it "is never and under no circumstances acceptable to interfere with another country's sovereign elections."

Why it matters: National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina said Friday the Russian government had taken action to "denigrate former Vice President Biden" before November's election and that a "pro-Russia" Ukrainian lawmaker was "spreading claims about corruption" to "undermine" the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

Aug 9, 2020 - World

Pelosi says election threats from China and Russia are "not equivalent"

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that the threats posed by China and Russia to U.S. elections are "not equivalent," stressing that "Russia is actively, 24/7, interfering in our election."

Why it matters: Top counterintelligence official William Evanina revealed in a statement on Friday that the Russian government is "using a range of measures" to "denigrate" Joe Biden ahead of the election. The government of China, meanwhile, prefers that Trump does not win re-election, Evanina said.

Postmaster general reorganizes USPS ahead of November election

U.S. Postmaster General Louis Dejoy in Congress on Aug. 5. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced a reorganization of the U.S. Postal Service's leadership on Friday, shifting top personnel and pushing structural changes, according to the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The restructure, which reassigns or displaces postal executives, including two officials who oversee day-to-day operations, comes amid increased scrutiny from Democratic lawmakers, who fear that DeJoy's changes could threaten the use of mail-in ballots for the November election.