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April 21, 2020

King Statement on Fourth Volume of Intelligence Committee’s Bipartisan Investigation into Russian Involvement in 2016 Election

BRUNSWICK, ME – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) released the following statement after the Senate Intelligence Committee released a new report, titled “Review of the Intelligence Community Assessment.The report examines the sources, tradecraft, and analytic work behind the 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) that determined Russia conducted an unprecedented, multi-faceted campaign to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The installment builds upon the Committee’s unclassified summary findings on the ICA issued in July 2018. Today’s report is the fourth and penultimate volume in the Committee’s bipartisan Russia investigation.

“Given the highly sensitive nature of the underlying work examined by this report, much of today’s report is redacted to protect our sources and methods – but even so, the finding is clear,” said Senator King. “On a bipartisan basis, the Senate Intelligence Committee agreed that the 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment is a professional, unbiased, and coherent piece of work that properly reflects the intelligence collected regarding Russia’s aggressive and systematic attempts to interfere in the 2016 elections. This is not a political hoax – it is a foreign adversary, seeking to put a thumb on the scales of our democracy to an unprecedented degree, and we should assume they will escalate these efforts in 2020 and beyond. We need to be prepared to defend this American experiment from those who would prefer to see –and benefit from – the failure of our democratic systems.”

Key findings from today’s report include:

  • The Committee finds the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) presents a coherent and well-constructed intelligence basis for the case that Russia engaged in an attempt to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The Committee concludes that all analytic lines are supported with all-source intelligence, that the ICA reflects proper analytic tradecraft, and that differing levels of confidence on one analytic judgment are justified and properly represented. Additionally, interviews with those who drafted and prepared the ICA affirmed that analysts were under no political pressure to reach specific conclusions.
  • The Committee finds that the ICA reflects a proper representation of the intelligence collected and that this body of evidence supports the substance and body of the ICA. While the Intelligence Community did not include information provided by Christopher Steele in the body of the ICA or to support any of its analytical judgments, it did include a summary of this material in an annex —largely at the insistence of FBI’s senior leadership.  A broader discussion of the Steele dossier will be included in the final volume of the Committee’s report.
  • The Committee finds that the ICA makes a clear argument that the manner and aggressiveness of Russia’s election interference was unprecedented. However, the ICA does not include substantial representation of Russia’s interference attempts in 2008 and 2012.
  • The Committee finds that the ICA did not include a set of policy recommendations for responding to Russia’s interference attempts. This omission was deliberate, reflecting the well-established norm that the role of the Intelligence Community is to provide insight and warning to policy makers, not to make policy itself.
  • The Committee finds the ICA would have benefited from a more comprehensive look at the role of Russian propaganda generated by state-owned platforms in the multi-pronged interference campaign. Open source reporting on RT’s and Sputnik’s coverage of Wikileaks’ release of information from the Democratic National Committee would have strengthened the ICA’s examination of Russia’s use of propaganda.

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