The Director of National Intelligence serves as the head of the U.S. Intelligence Community, overseeing and directing the implementation of the National Intelligence Program and acting as the principal advisor to the President, the National Security Council, and the Homeland Security Council for intelligence matters related to national security. The President appoints the DNI with the advice and consent of the Senate.
The DNI works closely with a President-appointed, Senate-confirmed Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence to effectively integrate all national and homeland security intelligence in defense of the homeland and in support of U.S. national security interests.
Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe joined Maria Bartimoro on “Sunday Morning Futures” today to discuss new intelligence briefing procedures for Congress on security threats like China.
“We’ve had a pandemic of information being leaked out of the intelligence community and I’m going to take the measures to make sure that that stops,” Ratcliffe said.
In his first interview taking office, Ratcliffe said that an increasing number of leaks by Congress for “political purposes,” such as promoting Russian collusion, have motivated him to change to only giving limited or written briefings for those “who are entitled to it.”
According to Ratcliffe, many of the politicians leaking information want to “create a narrative that simply isn’t true, that somehow Russia is a greater national security threat than China.”
“I don’t mean to minimize Russia. They are a serious national security threat, but day in, day out, the threats that we face from China are significantly greater,” Ratcliffe said. “Anyone who says otherwise is just politicizing intelligence for their own narrative.”
“China is the greatest threat that we face,” he added.
Ratcliffe said China’s concealment of COVID-19 is a prime example of why the intelligence community, members of Congress, and people in the United States should be aware of China’s malignant actions.
“Ultimately, they engaged in a campaign to deflect blame from China,” Ratcliffe said. “They’re a bad international actor, and that’s why they shouldn’t be allowed to set international standards instead of the United States.”
On the declassification of certain documents, Ratcliffe promised that he would continue to work with U.S. Attorney John Durham and the FBI to ensure that the proper information is disseminated without risking harm to the United States. He also said that even though the FBI would handle the prosecution of any congressional information leaks, he continues to pursue and report them.
“When I become aware of intelligence community information that is disclosed unlawfully, I do what’s called a crimes report. I’ve done that now on a number of occasions,” he said.