Rep. Peter King (R-NY) told reporter Martha Raddatz on ABC’s “This Week” that he believes CIA John Brennan is conducting a “hit job” against President-elect Donald Trump. While he accepts that Russia hacked the email system of the Democratic National Committee, he said that it is still unclear whether Russia also targeted the emails of Hillary Clinton’s campaign director, John Podesta.
King accused CIA Director Brennan of leaking information. “And that’s what infuriates me about this, Martha, is that we have John Brennan––supposedly John Brennan––leaking to The Washington Post, to a biased newspaper like The New York Times, findings and conclusions that he’s not telling the intelligence committee… There should be an investigation of what the Russians did but also an investigation of John Brennan and the hit job he seems to be orchestrating against the president-elect.”
Raddatz asked King if he believes that the revelations by the Obama administration are really “all political,” he answered that he has not yet heard the assessment by the intelligence agency or any evidence supporting its contention in briefings House Intelligence Committee. King sits on the Homeland Security Committee and chairs the Sub-Committee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. He also serves on the Financial Services Committee and Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
During the interview with Raddatz, if indeed it is not Brennan who is issuing the leaks, he “should be carrying out a full-scale investigation to find out who in the intelligence community is talking to the media on this issue when they’re not talking to the elected representatives.”
On the same program, the ranking Democrat on the intelligence committee, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, said he is convinced that the Obama administration will release more information about the intelligence assessment within the next three weeks but has not done so out of concern for revealing methods and sources. However, he criticized Trump for allegedly giving Russia “deniability” as to its alleged involvement in the U.S. elections and thus hampering Obama’s efforts. King responded that he wants CIA Director Brennan to brief the entire intelligence committee.
Last week, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) denounced the intelligence community for its refusal to brief his committee on its findings about Russian meddling in the presidential election. In a statement, Nunes declared, “It is unacceptable that the Intelligence Community directors would not fulfill the House Intelligence Committee’s request to be briefed tomorrow on the cyber-attacks that occurred during the presidential campaign.”
Nunes went on to say, “The Committee is deeply concerned that intransigence in sharing intelligence with Congress can enable the manipulation of intelligence for political purposes.” Like King, Nunes wants a classified briefing from Intelligence Director James Clapper, FBI Director James Comey, and CIA Director Brennan. The CIA demurred, claiming that their hands are tied by the investigation ordered by President Obama.
Last week, King also denounced the decision. Speaking on Fox News, King said last week, “Somebody has the time to leak it to the Washington Post and the New York Times, but they don’t have the time to come to Congress.” King added, “It’s their job to come. They don’t have any choice. They have to come in, especially when they have created this.”