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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Dem Lawmakers Support Call by Intelligence, Foreign Policy Experts for Commission to Probe Foreign Interference in Election

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), ranking member of the CIA Subcommittee of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, praised a statement issued by 15 bipartisan, prominent intelligence and foreign policy experts — which included former 9/11 Commission Vice Chair and Rep. Lee Hamilton – support creation of an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate foreign interference in this year’s US presidential election.

Earlier, Swalwell stated, “News reports of an active investigation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s contacts with Russian officials — the latest of at least four Trump associates probed for such contacts — intensifies concern that the campaign and transition team communicated and possibly coordinated with the Russian government. Now more than ever, we need an independent, bipartisan commission — as our Protecting Our Democracy Act would provide — to complement full investigations by the law enforcement and intelligence communities. For the sake of our national security and future elections, it’s long past time that we put country above party.”

Swalwell, along with Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, last month introduced the Protecting Our Democracy Act (HR 6447) would create a 12-member, bipartisan, independent commission empowered to interview witnesses, obtain documents, issue subpoenas and receive public testimony to examine attempts by the Russian government and others to use electronic means to influence, interfere with or sow distrust in the 2016 US elections. This commission — which also would examine similar efforts by any other foreign governments or entities — would issue a final report with recommendations for future security protections to Congress and the President within 18 months of the bill’s enactment.

“Experts agree: The specter of meddling in our elections by Russia or any other foreign entity requires immediate, full investigation in an independent and bipartisan manner,” Swalwell said. “The underpinnings of our democratic process are under electronic attack. Congressional committees can investigate too, but only an independent commission can rise above the perception of political bias in rendering a complete report on what happened and making recommendations on how to ensure it never happens again.”

“The intelligence and foreign-policy experts’ statement says that while this meddling is the most significant the Unite States has ever seen in a national election, it has been occurring against our allies for decades,” Swalwell said, noting the signatories stated in their letter, “That itwas perpetuated against us demonstrates a bold escalation of interference that must be understood and stymied.”

“No American should tolerate these types of intrusions into the bedrock of our democracy. Our elections should always belong to us. When foreign interference occurs, both major political parties should unite and declare they will not tolerate it,” they added, also noting that – despite the conclusions of 17 of our intelligence agencies – some Americans still doubt Russian responsibility for this year’s cyberattacks.

“Such doubts only reinforce why an independent inquiry should occur outside of Congress,” they wrote. “(T)hat is the only way to ensure that the investigation is comprehensive and not siloed within a certain congressional committee’s jurisdiction. This inquiry should occur immediately. Anything less than a swift investigation will leave us vulnerable to another attack and, possibly worse, permit and normalize future interference.”

Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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