WASHINGTON, DC – An old Washington war of words reignited this week when House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) criticized former Director of National Intelligence Rick Grenell’s leadership. Grenell fired back, accusing Rep. Schiff of “regularly leaking classified information.”
No consequences in DC: Ric Grenell says Adam ‘Schiff and His Team Regularly Leaked Classified Information’ https://t.co/id85vZTLwF
— Andrew Malcolm (@AHMalcolm) January 23, 2021
The renewed battle began Thursday when Rep. Schiff attacked Rick Grenell claiming he politicized national intelligence. While praising President Biden’s new Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, Rep. Schiff blasted the previous administration:
“The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, probably the most devastated of all of the agencies by terrible leadership of people like Rick Grenell and John Ratcliffe.
“(They) politicized it, made it a partisan place, and bent products of the workplace to the president’s will rather than speak truth to power.”
.@RepAdamSchiff: “The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, probably the most devastated of all of the agencies by terrible leadership of people like Rick Grenell and John Ratcliffe.” pic.twitter.com/hvbOxUi0vq
— The Hill (@thehill) January 22, 2021
Grenell, who served as Acting Director of National Intelligence for the final year of the Trump administration, fired back at Rep. Schiff, claiming Rep. Schiff refused to work with his office, Grenell then threw a verbal grenade into the fight when he accused the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee of leaking classified information:
“Facts: Schiff wouldn’t return my call to coordinate on DNI reforms. The reforms were asked for by career officials for years. Schiff complained when I appointed the 1st female head of counterterrorism (a career person).
“Schiff & team regularly leaked classified information.”
-Schiff wouldn’t return my call to coordinate on DNI reforms.
-the reforms were asked for by career officials for years.
-Schiff complained when I appointed the 1st female head of counterterrorism (a career person).
-Schiff & team regularly leaked classified information. https://t.co/FQgQzLga95
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) January 22, 2021
The most recent battle between the two politicians, who have sparred previously over mishandling of classified intelligence information, caught the attention of former Deputy National Security Advisor K.T. McFarland. During an interview with Fox Business on Friday, McFarland said Grenell’s counterattack was on the mark:
“Normally, I don’t like to get in the middle of these spats. I usually try to avoid them, but in this case, Rick Grenell has Adam Schiff dead, he just has him dead in the water.”
Grenell accuses Schiff and his team of ‘regularly’ leaking classified info
— Daniel Chaitin (@danielchaitin7) January 22, 2021
McFarland pointed to Rep. Schiff’s championing of the Trump/Russian collusion story as evidence of his mishandling of intelligence:
“(Adam Schiff) for three years, he got hearings behind closed doors, classified hearings where they said time and again there was nothing to the Russian Collusion story, there was no collusion. President Trump had nothing to do with the Russians. There was never anything to the Mike Flynn thing.”
Former Trump Official K.T. McFarland Says Adam Schiff Lies Like ‘Hitler’s Chief Propagandist’ | The Daily Caller
Whether I would use the ‘Hitler’ reference, every time an Obama official testified under oath, Schiff lyingly told us there is clear evidence. https://t.co/ZSNyMIwyM7
— ProsperousUSA (@Prosperous1776) May 20, 2020
McFarland said that Rep. Schiff knew the Russian collusion story was not supported by facts, yet he released what he knew was a lie:
“Day after day after day he got these briefings…He then went out to the press and he would say openly (and) baldly, ‘I just had an important intelligence briefing and I think Donald Trump has colluded with Putin.’ I think ‘Putin’s puppet’ were his words.
“So, not only was he leaking, he was lying about it. I think Grenell had a point here.”
Ric Grenell and John Radcliffe have zeroed in on you, Schiff!!!!!!!! You wouldn’t know the truth if it hit you in the face!!!!!!!!!! Pitiful that taxpayers pay YOUR salary😳😳😳😳😞😞😞
— Madge Davis (@MadgeDa12184104) January 23, 2021
McFarland went on to say the Schiff’s actions caused the government to focus on the discredited Russian conspiracy theory rather than the real concern, which she said should have been “China, China, China.”
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The battle between Rep. Schiff and Grenell has been raging since April 2020 when Rep. Schiff sent a letter to Grenell expressing concern that he was making organizational and personnel changes at the Office of National Intelligence without input or authorization from Congress. Rep. Schiff accused Grenell of altering the messaging of intelligence to meet the expectations of President Trump. In the letter, Schiff wrote:
“The effort appears to be proceeding despite the Coronavirus pandemic and amid indications, exemplified by a March 10 briefing to members of Congress, of political interference in the production and dissemination of intelligence.
“These developments call into question both your commitment to ensuring that the Intelligence Community’s work on behalf of our nation is not inappropriately influenced by political considerations.”
New: Intel Chair Schiff sent a letter today to acting DNI @RichardGrenell raising concern he is reorganizing w/o receiving congressional authorization. Asks him to produce info to committee by April 16. pic.twitter.com/neHfLdptdx
— Olivia Beavers (@Olivia_Beavers) April 7, 2020
Grenell turned the table on the argument by accusing Rep. Schiff of politicizing intelligence for his own purposes. Grenell blasted Rep. Schiff for releasing the letter to the press:
“His letter was sent to the press before it was sent to me. These press leaks politicizing the intelligence community must stop.”
His letter was sent to the press before it was sent to me. These press leaks politicizing the intelligence community must stop. https://t.co/hdWIzGWvZr
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) April 7, 2020
Rep. Schiff is no stranger to accusations of leaking classified intelligence. In February, in another heated exchange of words, he and then-President Donald Trump went back and forth.
During the presidential primaries, Trump accused Rep. Schiff of leaking intelligence that Russia sought to interfere with the Democratic primary to aid the Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) campaign. When asked about Russian interference by reporters, Trump responded:
“Nobody said it to me at all. They ought to investigate Adam Schiff for leaking that intelligence.”
Trump followed up the comment with a tweet (which he copied to Facebook) later in the day, a medium the former president often used to get messages to people:
“Somebody please tell incompetent (thanks for my high poll numbers) & corrupt politician Adam ‘Shifty’ Schiff to stop leaking classified information or, even worse, made-up information, to the Fake News Media. Someday he will be caught, & that will be a very unpleasant experience!”
Rep. Schiff denied the allegation, and then accused Trump of failing to stop Russian interference:
“Mr. President, I didn’t say that. But if you wish to quote me, quote this: ‘The only thing Americans despise more than foreign actors trying to affect the vote is a president unwilling to do anything to stop it.’ Americans decide American elections.”
Mr. President, I didn’t say that. But if you wish to quote me, quote this:
”The only thing Americans despise more than foreign actors trying to affect the vote is a president unwilling to do anything to stop it.”
Americans decide American elections. https://t.co/LEbVzb39Jf
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) February 22, 2020
The reaction to Rep. Schiff’s response on Twitter, if the issue was not so serious, seemed to be summed up by one user called “Amy”:
Schiff mad about someone misquoting a situation… pic.twitter.com/Bd5kSY0U0N
— Amy (@MrsWilliams475) February 22, 2020
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Author: Scott A. Davis