Exiting DNI Ratcliffe: Anti-Trump intel chiefs downplayed China’s 2020 election interference

FPI / January 29, 2021


Trump administration Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe suggested U.S. intelligence agencies played partisan political games by downplaying China‘s role in interfering in the disputed Nov. 3 presidential election.

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe accused U.S. intelligence analysts of playing down China’s role in interference with the Nov. 3 presidential election. / Associated Press / File

An Intelligence Community (IC) assessment of China’s interference in the election could have triggered enforcement of President Donald Trump’s 2018 executive order on foreign interference in U.S. elections.

“From my unique vantage point as the individual who consumes all of the U.S. government’s most sensitive intelligence on the People’s Republic of China, I do not believe the majority view expressed by [intelligence community] analysts fully and accurately reflects the scope of the Chinese government’s efforts to influence the 2020 U.S. federal elections,” Ratcliffe said in a Jan. 7 statement.

Ratcliffe said that what he called “the politicization of China election influence reporting” was the result of “undue pressure being brought to bear on analysts who offered an alternative view based on the intelligence.”

The debate centers on whether intelligence analysts emphasized Russian meddling while playing down the role of communist China during the election. Ratcliffe said the three-page report raises broader questions about the quality of U.S. intelligence analyses.

Ratcliffe was notified by “career intelligence officials” on Dec. 16 that the IC was unable to meet the Dec. 18 deadline set by President Donald Trump’s executive order to report on foreign threats to this year’s election.

Intelligence officials said the delay was due to the IC receiving relevant new information since the election and the fact that a “number of agencies have not finished coordinating on the product.”

“I think that’s dishonesty on the part of the bureaucrats inside the intelligence community,” Bart Marcois, former principal deputy assistant secretary of energy for policy and international affairs under the Bush administration,  said . . .

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