Republican Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Chuck Grassley of Iowa requested a meeting with FBI Director Christopher Wray and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines after confidential information missing context was leaked to the public from an allegedly secure briefing.
The letter, the senators wrote, follows an article from the Washington Post alleging that there was an “an extensive effort by the [FBI] to alert members of Congress … that they faced a risk of being used to further Russia’s attempt to influence the election’s outcome[.]” Not only did the article rely on anonymous former U.S. officials to create the report, but Johnson and Grassley said it was inaccurate.
“The article then inaccurately proceeded to link Russian disinformation attempts to our investigation, which was based on Obama administration government records and records that showed extensive financial connections between the Biden family and questionable foreign nationals, including individuals connected to the communist Chinese government’s military and intelligence services,” the letter read.
The Republicans also said that the corporate media outlet used information from a confidential briefing “in response to pressure from Democratic Leadership” without giving proper context, just as the senators previously feared.
“The briefing was not specific. Moreover, it consisted primarily of information that we already knew and information unconnected to our investigation,” the letter stated. “We made clear to the FBI briefers on August 6, 2020, that the briefing was not relevant to the substance of our work. We also made clear our concern that the briefing would be subject to a leak that would shed a false light on the focus of our investigation. Indeed, last week’s article did exactly that.”
The senators were promised that the information in the briefing would be kept secure and were comforted when intelligence officials “rightly refused to disclose who else they would brief on the same matter,” but that didn’t prevent a leak that Johnson and Grassley said disseminated fake news.
“Clearly, that promise of confidentiality was breached. The result was the spread of false information about our investigation and an inaccurate news article sourced, in part, to government officials,” the letter stated, requesting notes and other documents related to the briefing. “The sources of this false reporting could include FBI and Intelligence Community personnel and we request to meet with you in person to discuss this matter.”
Grassley and Johnson previously sent a letter in August 2020 after the original briefing requesting notes and “all intelligence reporting, products, and analysis that formed the basis of the briefing; the name/s of the person/s who recommended that we be briefed; and a description of the process for deciding to brief us and the substance of the briefing, as well as any information you deem pertinent.”