Chuck Grassley

United States Senator from Iowa

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Johnson, Grassley Question CIA’s Commitment to Producing Crossfire Hurricane Intelligence Records, Repeat Call for Transparency

Oct 07, 2020
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, sent a letter Wednesday to Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Gina Haspel calling for the director to respond in full to their July 28 letter that requested intelligence records relating to the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.
 
“The American people have a right to know the full extent of official action taken by federal officials during the 2016 campaign, the presidential transition, and into the Trump administration,” the senators wrote.  “The information that has already been made public reveals what might be the most outrageous abuse of power in U.S. history against a presidential candidate and sitting president. Unfortunately, many of the puzzle pieces remain hidden, and some of that information rests within your agency.”
 
Full text of the letter can be found below and can be viewed here.
 
October 7, 2020
 
The Honorable Gina Haspel
Director
Central Intelligence Agency
 
Dear Director Haspel:
 
On July 28, 2020, we provided you a list of outstanding oversight requests pertaining to our review of Crossfire Hurricane.  In that letter, we requested your assistance in producing records that are within your jurisdiction and requested that they be produced in a timely and complete manner.  More than two months later, we still have not received any of the requested records that we detailed in that letter.  
 
We both voted to confirm your nomination as Director of CIA, in no small part based on the following statements you made during your confirmation hearing:
 
As both a career intelligence officer and as an American citizen, I am a strong believer in the importance of oversight. Simply put, experience has taught us that CIA cannot be effective without the people's trust, and we cannot hope to earn that trust without the accountability that comes with Congressional oversight.
 
. . .
 
If confirmed as Director, I will uphold the Agency's obligations to Congress and ensure that oversight works on behalf of the American people.
 
Your apparent unwillingness to speak with us on this matter contradicts your testimony. Both of us fully expected you to honor the commitment you made, but we are becoming increasingly disappointed by the CIA’s continued inability to timely respond to our legitimate oversight requests.  Your staff met only once with our staff to discuss these requests, and CIA has not produced a single document in response.  Moreover, your agency has ignored multiple requests to schedule a phone call to discuss our oversight letter.
 
For example, although we have requested all intelligence reporting provided or made available to the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team, we have not received any responsive documents.  Yet we know that such information exists and recent revelations from them are disturbing.  This cannot continue – the American public has a right to know about the rampant mistakes and biased decisions that occurred during the Obama administration that undermined a peaceful transition of power.   
 
Indeed, just last week and yesterday, more information has come to light regarding the CIA’s involvement in Crossfire Hurricane.  Recently declassified documents show that the CIA apparently made an investigative referral to the FBI on September 7, 2016, regarding information about Hillary Clinton’s “approval of a plan concerning US presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russian hackers hampering US elections as a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server.”  According to the referral, the CIA provided this information to FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok.  The referral stated that the information was gleaned from the “Crossfire Hurricane fusion cell” and was, in part, for “investigative action.”  Our oversight requests to CIA calling for the production of this information have been outstanding for months.  From these reports, it is clear that the CIA has information in its possession that is relevant to the FBI’s activities and our investigation into this matter. 
 
The American people have a right to know the full extent of official action taken by federal officials during the 2016 campaign, the presidential transition, and into the Trump administration.  The information that has already been made public reveals what might be the most outrageous abuse of power in U.S. history against a presidential candidate and sitting president.  Unfortunately, many of the puzzle pieces remain hidden, and some of that information rests within your agency.  We are concerned that your agency has thus far failed to respond in full to our oversight requests. 
 
We expect full compliance with our July 28, 2020, letter and request that it be done no later than October 9, 2020.  If the material is classified, it can be produced in an appropriate setting.  Further delay is unacceptable.
 
Sincerely,
 
Ron Johnson
Chairman
Committee on Homeland Security
     and Governmental Affairs
 
Charles E. Grassley
Chairman
Committee on Finance
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