Herald-Leader editorial writers continue to ignore the facts. Instead of informing its readers about my call for an investigation into potential Russian hacking, they decided to embarrass themselves once again by relying on second-hand rumors rather than on my own widely available public statements on the topic.
It appears the paper is still upset its favorite candidate, Hillary Clinton, was soundly rejected by the people of Kentucky and that Donald Trump was elected president. And so, in some misguided effort to soothe those hurt feelings, the paper apparently decided to publish attacks on me without verifying the facts and ignoring what I said during my Capitol Hill press conference.
So let me clarify. Obviously, any foreign breach of our cybersecurity measures is disturbing, and I strongly condemn any such efforts.
Prior to the election, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper released a statement saying, “the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from US political organizations.” His statement reiterates what the intelligence community believes can be said in unclassified remarks without risking sources and methods — anything else is irresponsible, likely illegal, and potentially for partisan political gain.
I agree with the incoming Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and many others who say that this simply cannot be a partisan issue.
The Senate Intelligence Committee (on which McCain and I sit as ex officio members, and Schumer will sit when he formally becomes Democratic leader) is more than capable of conducting a complete review of this matter through regular order, and I have every confidence that Burr will lead that review in a responsible manner.
The Obama administration is also launching a review, and when the Office of the Director of National Intelligence completes its review, there will be additional information released to the public in a responsible manner.
Additionally, McCain has announced that he will conduct a review of the threat we face from cyber-attacks from his position atop the Armed Services Committee. That information will be useful as we assess the need to integrate our cyber capabilities into our overall war-fighting doctrine.
For eight years, the Obama administration attempted to reset relations with Russia and sat back while the country expanded its sphere of influence, intervened in Crimea, Eastern Ukraine, Syria and attempted to bully the Baltic countries. It defies belief that somehow Republicans in the Senate are reluctant to either review Russian tactics or to ignore them.
Let me also say that I have the highest confidence in the intelligence community, and especially the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA is filled with selfless patriots, many who anonymously risk their lives for the American people.
While I’m not surprised that the Herald-Leader attacked me. I do appreciate that it allowed me the opportunity to talk directly to my constituents and set the record straight.
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell is Senate Majority Leader.
At issue: Herald-Leader editorial, “Mitch McConnell should explain why he obscured Russian interference in our election”