FBI, spy agencies will not say if attending U.S. House election security briefing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Federal Bureau of Investigation and key U.S. spy agencies on Friday would not say whether they will participate in a classified briefing on election security, which the Democratic-led House Intelligence Committee has scheduled for Sept. 17.

In a letter to John Ratcliffe, President Donald Trump’s Director of National Intelligence (DNI), committee Chairman Adam Schiff explicitly requested that experts from DNI, the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security participate in the briefing.

Late last month, however, Ratcliffe, a former Republican congressman, sent letters to lawmakers saying that to protect classified information from being leaked, agencies would largely end in-person congressional briefings on election security and instead mainly provide “written finished intelligence products.”

Ratcliffe later told Fox News congressional intelligence committees would still be briefed. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Marco Rubio, a Republican, earlier this week said he expected to continue to receive in-person briefings.

But Schiff and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have said that Ratcliffe’s office canceled live briefings it had planned for mid-September.

Spokespeople for the DNI, FBI and CIA all declined to comment on whether their officials would participate in the Sept. 17 election-related briefing requested by Schiff. The NSA and Homeland Security Department did not immediately respond to request for comment.

A congressional source familiar with contacts between leading House Democrats and spy agencies said it was not clear if the House committee would receive the same range of election security briefings that Rubio said his committee expects.

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