Top Democrats Warn Intelligence Director About Sharing Secrets With Other Members of Congress

Letter to Dan Coats does not discuss specifics of intelligence in question

Rep. Adam B. Schiff was among the signatories on a Thursday letter critical of DNI Dan Coats. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic members of the group of lawmakers with access to particularly sensitive intelligence information expressed concern Thursday about broader dissemination — to other members of Congress.

The July 12 letter directed to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats was publicly released on Friday.

“In recent days, we learned that certain classified documents that were originally made available to a small group of designated members have been made more broadly available to all members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees,” wrote the Democratic members of the so-called gang of eight. “While we understand the need for congressional oversight, this action — which we understand was taken at your direction — contravenes your representation to us and our colleagues that this information would not be shared outside that group.”

The letter, signed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York and Intelligence Committee top Democrats Rep. Adam B. Schiff of California and Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia was not specific.

The signatories warn crucial national security information could be compromised by release to other members of the House and Senate who now have access to ... whatever in particular is in question. They said the level of sensitivity was previously discussed with the DNI.

“All of the meeting’s attendees agreed that the information discussed was among the most sensitive type of information and should be protected accordingly,” the Democrats wrote. “We believe your decision could put sources and methods at risk.”

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