Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin sent a letter to the intelligence community inspector general Wednesday demanding the government watchdog agency confirm investigations into highly classified leaks.
The letter, addressed to ICIG Michael Atkinson, calls out the inspector general for refusing to acknowledge whether there were any investigations into numerous leaks spilling from U.S. intelligence agencies.
“As we have made clear in previous letters to you, since President Donald Trump’s election there have been a number of leaks of highly sensitive information,” the senators wrote. “These leaks are seemingly perpetrated to achieve partisan political ends at the expense of national security.”
Earlier this month, the senators requested the intelligence community verify an investigation into dozens of leaks, including leaks related to disgraced former FBI agent Peter Strzok, who opened the 2016 investigation into Trump’s campaign searching for collusion with the Russian government and was later shown to have possessed extreme bias against the president. An exhaustive two-year investigation with unlimited resources by a congressionally appointed special counsel concluded this year finding no collusion by Trump.
Atkinson responded, telling the senators that the intelligence community “cannot confirm or deny the existence of an investigation into those suspected leaks, or disclose the details of any such investigations.”
On Wednesday, Grassley and Johnson charged that the response wasn’t enough, and demanded an answer in light of the fact that the inspector general for the Department of Justice has confirmed its own ongoing investigations into leaks of sensitive information that have garnered significant public interest.
“Contrary to your position, other inspectors generals have been more transparent with Congress and the public about information relating to their investigations,” the senators wrote. “In light of this transparency by the DOJ IG and Attorney General about their ongoing investigations or imminent reviews, it is unclear to us why you cannot provide the same level of transparency.”
The letter also revealed new details related to Strok’s communications with fellow FBI colleague and mistress Lisa Page discussing the leaking of classified information, where Strok predicted a “crescendo of leaks.”
The senators concluded by posing the same questions relayed in their first letter, giving Atkinson a week to respond with an Oct. 30 deadline.