Intelligence Committee Senators Call On Obama To Declassify Evidence Of Russian Election Interference

from the that-would-be-interesting dept

We’ve been a lot more skeptical than most about all the claims of “Russian interference” with the US Presidential election this year. While I don’t doubt there was some effort to do something, Russia is such an easy scapegoat. Still, plenty of people insist that it’s true, including those who at least should have a fair bit of insight into what actually happened. To me, the bigger issue is that attribution in many of these things is a lot more difficult than most people make it out to be.

Either way, it’s quite noteworthy that seven Senators on the Senate Intelligence Committee have asked President Obama to declassify the evidence pointing to Russia and detailing what Russia actually did to attempt to interfere with the election. The Senators sent a very simple letter, which was released publicly, noting that a classified letter with a lot more details was also sent. Here’s the entire text of the publicly released letter:

Dear Mr. President:

We believe there is additional information concerning the Russian Government and the U.S. election that should be declassified and released to the public. We are conveying specifics through classified channels.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Of course, it needs to be noted that this will clearly be seen as a partisan effort. Of the seven Senators who signed on to the letter, six are Democrats, and the other, Senator Angus King, is an Independent who caucuses with the Democrats. Basically it’s all of the Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee except for Dianne Feinstein and Harry Reid. So, it’s easy for some to spin this as a case of sour grapes about the Democrats not winning the election, and that they’re now clinging to stories of Russian interference to explain what happened.

But… that spin holds somewhat less weight when you look at the details. First off, the letter itself was put together by Senator Ron Wyden. And, yes, his name comes up a lot around here, but that’s because he has a pretty long history of being right on lots and lots of stuff. And that’s been especially true when Wyden says that there’s some secret info that the public deserves to know about. He’s been right on that every single time he’s said it. So the track record is there. When Wyden says the public deserves to know something, pay attention.

The second thing that provides more confidence here is that this isn’t just random conspiracy theories about “rigged” voting or whatever that some have been spewing. This is a specific request for more transparency by asking for specific information to be released to the public — specific information that the Senate Intelligence Committee members have seen.

Given that, it seems worth paying attention to — and at least asking why the President won’t declassify such information? If there really is such strong evidence, why not reveal it? So far, all of the evidence pointing to Russia has been fairly weak, and it feels a bit like groupthink that everyone just insists it’s true. But it’s entirely possible (and perhaps now, probable) that the intelligence community has some more serious evidence. And, if that’s the case, it seems worth sharing with the public even if you were happy with the outcome of the election. If Russia really did “interfere” somehow in the election, the public deserves to know the details of it.

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Comments on “Intelligence Committee Senators Call On Obama To Declassify Evidence Of Russian Election Interference”

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Anonymous Coward says:

The problem is the administration has already stated that Russia did not interfere with the election. Obama can’t now release classified information he has stating otherwise without basically admitting he lied. So if any information does exist I find it highly unlikely that Obama is going to release it under any circumstances.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“It could be the opposite too. They could be asking to release the info to defuse the conspiracy theories.”

Because that worked out so well for the mylar balloon crash in Roswell.

The guys on that committee are all hawks. They want the rumor mill to flow, so they can start greasing up the military industrial machine with fear and propaganda.

Not that it matters at all what the Russians did anyway. Nothing has or will in the near future, result in more foreign interference with domestic elections than Citizens United v. FEC.

So if the committee wants to talk about whose been in bed with Putin, they can start by walking across the street and asking SCOTUS to spit for a DNA sample.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: If we wanted transparency...

I didn’t vote for him in ’12, for that and other reasons. But we don’t get to pick our leaders’ policy positions a la carte. I’m sure there were people who voted for Obama in ’12 because they don’t care about transparency (at least when their guy is in office). But I’m also sure there were people who voted for him despite grave misgivings about his administration’s lack of transparency, because they supported him on other issues — and because, after all, it’s a two-party system, with only two viable candidates, and while there were significant differences between Obama and Romney on a number of issues, realistically I don’t think government transparency was one of them.

If you voted last month, I’m guessing you probably voted for a candidate who you agree with on some issues and not others. That’s how voting usually works; it’s pretty rare that you find somebody who you agree with 100% on everything.

Christenson says:


What the *!$&@! is going on here? The cry for releasing info is now being repeated in the DC halls of power:
First it’s the church committee staffers on intelligence
Then it’s Feinstein on torture
Now it’s the rest of the intelligence committee on the Russians

Is the possibility of powerful secret tools in the “wrong” hands suddenly waking everyone up?

Thad (user link) says:

Re: WTF???

I’m not a fan of Feinstein, but it’s not like she just started asking for declassification of the torture docs. Whatever her flaws (and she has many), she’s been pushing for that for years.

That said, yeah, there are definitely some people who have just now found religion on a myriad of issues related to executive overreach now that there’s a new guy about to take office.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Sony all over again

I’m reminded of the "North Korean" Sony hack that no knowledgeable person believes had anything at all to do with the North Korean government.

Well, rather a lot of knowledgeable people do, actually; see . It’s a pretty exhaustive analysis by a number of well-respected security researchers.

It’s quite clear that the attack went on for years, so the assertion that it was all a response to The Interview is clearly wrong. And it’s quite possible that the attackers had inside help (there’s some disagreement on this).

There’s no smoking gun proving the involvement of North Korea, and there’s some dispute about it. But to say "no knowledgeable person believes" NK was involved is simply not true.

John Mayor says:


Ha, ha, ha!… very interesting! This new request combined with the stuff at,… AND…… AND… “Jill Stein Just Called…” at, (see, left window, “All Articles” bar!)!… AND…… is making December 19, 2016, look a loooong way away!

Please!… no emails!

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