US Spy Leaders Won't Brief Electors Even as Poll Shows Majority Want Vote Delay
New poll shows majority public support for delaying Electoral College vote on Monday
Amid a nationwide protest effort aimed at convincing members of the Electoral College to reject Donald Trump and serious concerns about alleged interference in the U.S. election by Russia's government, a new poll out Sunday reveals majority support for delaying Monday's scheduled vote until electors are given an official intelligence briefing on the matter.
According to a YouGov poll conducted on behalf of the advocacy group Avaaz, 52% percent of respondents either "strongly agree" or "somewhat agree" that Monday's "vote should be delayed until the Electors can be briefed about the allegations of Russian hacking."
Demands for Electors to receive such a briefing have been growing steadily since several high-profile news stories said U.S. intelligence officials have determined with a "high level of confidence" that the Kremlin was involved with obtaining emails from the Democratic National Committee's computer systems as well as emails from John Podesta, the powerful D.C. lobbyist who served as Hillary Clinton's campaign chair. Additional reporting claimed the CIA also believes that Russia specifically intervened to improve the chances of Donald Trump and NBC News used unnamed sources in its reporting that Russian President Vladimir Putin was "personally" involved in the operations.
But despite lingering and serious questions about the actual "evidence" which might support those claims, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) on Friday said it would not brief Electors prior to Monday's vote due to an ongoing review of the alleged Russian interference ordered by President Obama. "This effort is ongoing and involves sensitive classified information," the ODNI said in a statement. "Once the review is complete in the coming weeks, the Intelligence Community stands ready to brief Congress and will make those findings available to the public consistent with protecting intelligence sources and methods."
On Sunday, former CIA director James Woolsey appeared on ABC's 'This Week' and said it will ultimately be up to the National Security Agency (NSA) to determine whether or not Russia was behind the targeting of the DNC and Podesta emails. "This is really an NSA decision," Woolsey said, "...and if NSA is confident that it’s the Russians, then it almost certainly is. Depends on them."
Unfortunately, the NSA leadership—and the intelligence community overall—have a mixed record when it comes to releasing relevant information in a timely manner or being honest with the American public.