“John Ratcliffe has access to the most sensitive intel. This is important.”
John Ratcliffe has access to the most sensitive intel. This is important. https://t.co/MA22UKlBQo
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) December 16, 2020
Trump Spy Chief Stirs Dispute Over China Election-Meddling Views
By Jennifer Jacobs, Bloomerg, December 16, 2020:
President Donald Trump’s spy chief is considering holding up a report to Congress on foreign efforts to sway the Nov. 3 election, arguing that China should be cited more prominently for its attempts to influence American voters, according to people familiar with the matter.
The disagreement that’s dividing U.S. intelligence officials and analysts has prompted Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe to weigh withholding his certification of the report that’s supposed to be delivered to U.S. lawmakers on Friday, the people said.
Ratcliffe wants the report to more fully reflect the national security threat that China’s efforts posed, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity owing to the sensitivity of the information.
The report was set to go to Capitol Hill as Trump continues to reject the outcome of the presidential election won by Democrat Joe Biden. Trump has claimed without proof that wide-scale voter fraud cost him the race, with a number of fellow Republicans still refusing to recognize Biden as president-elect. The intelligence report wouldn’t deal with allegations of domestic fraud, such as in ballot-counting.
Ratcliffe and other Trump appointees — including National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr — suggested over the summer that China posed a bigger election threat than Russia even though intelligence assessments at the time didn’t support that assertion. In recent months they have issued a barrage of warnings that China is covertly attempting to sway American politics and culture from state legislatures to Hollywood movies and from college campuses to Disney theme parks.U.S. intelligence agencies concluded before the election that Russia was seeking to interfere with this year’s vote, reprising its 2016 effort to undermine Democrat Hillary Clinton and help Trump win the presidency. Officials at the time also cited China and Iran for their attempts at interference, with his supporters saying those nations would seek to hurt Trump rather than help him.
[…]Ratcliffe’s concerns are fueled by fresh intelligence that provides a fuller picture of what China’s leaders either did or planned to do to keep Trump from being re-elected, the people said.That information, some of it in Mandarin and gathered in the weeks before and after the election, is still being assessed, one of the people said. It includes social media campaigns, such as attempts to amplify messages that Trump is a white supremacist, the person said.
China has previously rejected the Trump administration claims as false. The Chinese embassy in Washington didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment.
The dispute over China’s role comes even as the U.S. government is trying to assess the damage from a devastating hacking attack on government agencies attributed to Russia.
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