Congress

Key intel lawmaker: U.S. should hit Russia with sanctions for hacking

FILE - In this May 12, 2015 file photo, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
FILE - In this May 12, 2015 file photo, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File) AP

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, called for immediate economic sanctions against Russia following news that the FBI agrees with the CIA that Russian election hacking was meant to help Donald Trump.

“I believe that this response should have come sooner, but it is all the more important that it take place now, as I have little confidence that the incoming president will take the actions necessary to make the Russians pay any price,” Schiff said on Friday.

Schiff said there’s no dispute about what the Russians did and that economic sanctions should be combined with “clandestine means of exacting a cost on the Russians for their flagrant meddling in our election.” Schiff said he’s demanded measures before but the urgency has grown.

“The Russian involvement in the hacking and dumping of emails damaging to Secretary Clinton's campaign, and their motives for doing so, are the subject of common agreement among top intelligence officials across the agencies,” said Schiff, of Burbank.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes of California, though, is not so sure.

Nunes, a Republican from Tulare, expressed irritation that the nation’s intelligence agencies are keeping lawmakers in the dark about Russian hacking while information on it continues to be leaked to the news media.

The latest leak was of a message CIA Director John Brennan sent to employees of his agency telling them that the FBI and the director of national intelligence agrees with the CIA’s conclusion that Russia’s hacking during the election was meant to help Trump.

“In the course of the House Intelligence Committee’s ongoing oversight of cyberattacks during the U.S. presidential campaign, we have not received any information from Intelligence Community agencies indicating that they have developed new assessments on this issue,” Nunes said. “I am alarmed that supposedly new information continues to leak to the media but has not been provided to Congress.”

Nunes wrote Dec. 12 that the CIA’s prior briefings to the intelligence committee included no indication that Russia had hacked Democratic party computers with the intent of helping Trump win the presidency. He criticized the CIA for refusing his request that the agency brief the intelligence committee this week on the issue.

Nunes, who is a member of the Trump transition team, said the intelligence committee plans visits to the CIA, FBI, and other intelligence agencies in January so “members can further investigate this issue.”

Sean Cockerham: 202-383-6016, @seancockerham

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