February 13, 2018

Wyden Questions Intelligence Leaders About Release Of Misleading Nunes Memo and Burying of Russian Oligarchs Report

Under Questioning from Wyden, FBI Director Wray Contradicts White House Story on Rob Porter Wyden Asks FBI Director if Any Security Experts Support Weakening Encryption

Washington, D.C. –Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today questioned intelligence leaders on the administration’s political and arbitrary decisions to release the misleading Nunes memo, while refusing to release a congressionally mandated public report on Russian oligarchs.

Both NSA Director Mike Rogers and FBI Director Christopher Wray voiced concerns about the Nunes memo, they testified.  The other intelligence leaders testified that they had not rendered an opinion.

 None of the intelligence leaders weighed in on whether to release the oligarchs report, which Congress mandated include their closeness to Vladimir Putin and indications of corruption.  The Secretary of the Treasury has only released a list of wealthy Russians taken from public sources.

 “I have had many disputes with the Intelligence Community over the years about abuses of the classification system,” said Wyden.  “But in these cases, the fault appears to lie entirely with the president or, in the case of the oligarchs report, the president and/or Secretary Mnuchin.” 

 Earlier in the hearing, under questions from Wyden, Director Wray testified the FBI notified the White House about former aide Rob Porter’s background check in March, and completed the report in July. The file was finally closed in January, Wray said.

 That contradicted White House claims last week that the background investigation was ongoing.

 Finally, Wyden reiterated his request that Wray identify any security experts who would advocate weakening strong encryption. [Link to Ron’s letter on subject.]

“Sometime there’s these policies that make us less safe and give up our liberties. That’s when we get what you all are advocating, which is weak encryption,” Wyden said. “I think there is a clear consensus among experts in the field against your position.”

To see video of Wyden's questioning, click here.