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John Ratcliffe on Capitol Hill in May. Photo: Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe has informed congressional committee heads via letter that in-person briefings on election security issues will no longer take place and lawmakers will instead receive written "intelligence products."

The big picture: He said this would safeguard details the Office of the Director of National Intelligence provides Congress, protecting sources, methods "and most sensitive intelligence" from "unauthorized disclosures or misuse," and ensure it's "not misunderstood nor politicized." Democrats said Saturday the move abdicated the ODNI's lawful responsibility to inform Congress and denied Americans the right to know.

Read the full correspondence, via DocumentCloud:

Go deeper: ODNI cancels future election security briefings for Congress

Go deeper

Biden's pick for intelligence chief is familiar with cyber challenges

Avril Haines. Photo: Mark Makela via Getty Images

Avril Haines, Biden’s pick for director of national intelligence, has a long history of working on critical cybersecurity and digital challenges facing the intelligence community.

Why it matters: A deep understanding of cyber issues is of great value in the position, including as the Biden administration seeks to restore faith in a role that has faced accusations of politicization in the Trump era.

Former Defense Secretary Esper sues Pentagon over book

Former President Trump and former Defense Secretary Mark Esper at the White House in 2020. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper filed a lawsuit Sunday against the Defense Department, accusing the Pentagon of "censoring" his First Amendment rights by redacting parts of his upcoming book on the Trump administration.

The big picture: Esper, who served as defense secretary from July 2019 until he was fired by then-President Trump in November last year, alleges in the suit that "significant text" is "being improperly withheld from publication" of the manuscript "under the guise of classification."

WHO warns against travel bans on southern African countries

Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization regional director for Africa. Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

The World Health Organization called on countries Sunday to not impose travel bans on southern African nations amid concerns over the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The U.S. and countries in Europe and the Asia-Pacific announced travel restrictions in response to Omicron, which was first detected in South Africa. It's since spread to several European countries, Canada, Israel, Australia and Hong Kong. The WHO noted in a statement that only two southern African nations have detected the new variant.