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Growing Calls for US Intelligence to Clear Up Russian Meddling Allegations

Pressure appears to be building on the White House and U.S. intelligence agencies to declassify some information and brief the public on possible Russian attempts to meddle in the upcoming presidential election.

Much of the push is coming from former U.S. intelligence and security officials upset at a series of leaks that led to reports Russia was trying to bolster the campaigns of both President Donald Trump and one of his Democratic challengers, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.  

But some of the pressure is also coming from lawmakers who want see the American public get what they describe as an untainted assessment of what Russia is and is not doing, rather than see the allegations used for domestic political gain.

Congressional officials say, so far, lawmakers have not made any official requests to the intelligence agencies for any sort of public briefing or official statement on possible Russian meddling, due to concerns about protecting intelligence sources and methods.

Still, the officials note some sort of public disclosure is in line with the recommendations of a bipartisan report issued earlier this month by the Senate Intelligence Committee, which warned against keeping voters in the dark. 

“The public should be informed as soon as possible, with a clear and succinct statement of the threat, even if the information is incomplete,” the report stated. “Delaying the release of information allows inaccurate narratives to spread, which makes the task of informing the public significantly harder.”

Both the White House and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment when asked by VOA if a plan to share some of the latest intelligence with the public was under consideration.

In India Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump expressed anger over the intelligence leaks, calling the reports of Russia meddling to boost his reelection campaign or the campaign of Democratic front-runner Bernie Sanders “highly exaggerated.” 

“Intelligence never told me,” he told reporters. “And we have a couple of people here that would know very well.”

Other Trump administration officials have also forcefully denied the reports of Russian meddling to boost the president.