What You Need to Know: Congressional Hearing with FBI Director Comey and NSA Director Admiral Rogers

FBI Director Comey

The House Intelligence Committee held a public hearing on Russian election interference on Monday, with FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Admiral Michael Rogers called as witnesses.

Almost five hours long, the bulk of it is what you would expect–“I cannot comment on that”–but there are a few pieces of information you might want to know, which are summarized below.

FBI Director James Comey’s Full Opening Statement

Russian Interference

  • It was confirmed that both parties were hacked, but only one had material released.

  • Rogers stated that it is not the intelligence community’s job to determine if Russian influence had an impact on the electorate, only if they attempted to interfere.

  • Comey states that the investigation into Russian influence began in July 2015, and he would not comment on how much longer the investigation would take.

  • Russian intelligence did not communicate directly with WikiLeaks or Guccifer 2.0., instead using a cutout, or intermediary.

  • Comey stated that there is a blurred line between government officers and Russian intelligence, as well as Russian oligarchs and Russian intelligence, and both might act on behalf of the Russian government.

  • Comey would not answer whether the Russian Ambassador to the United States is acquiring intelligence on American leaders, but he did confirm that intelligence officers, in general, have been known to operate under diplomatic cover.

  • Both Comey and Rogers stated that their assessment that the Russian government sought to undermine public faith in the US election process and harm Hillary Clinton’s electability, while helping Trump’s chances, still stands.

  • Rogers confirmed that the Russian government provides financial support and “other things” to the RT media outlet.

Election Hacking

  • Director Comey and Admiral Rogers stated their departments do not have evidence that votes were changed in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, North Carolina, or Ohio.

  • Rogers did, however, state there were attempts to penetrate voter registration systems.

Leaks of Information

  • Comey refused to address the leaks of classified information, stating that he did not want to confirm whether or not it was classified, as well as that he could not confirm that it would be investigated for the same reason.

  • Comey confirmed that unauthorized leaks of classified information, including FISA information, to the press is a violation of the Espionage Act.

  • Rogers explains that if a US person is involved when collecting information on a target, intelligence protocol is to determine if there is illegal or threatening activity involved or if it has nothing to do with their collection authority. Depending on the answer, they’ll purge the information or mask the identity of the US person.

  • There are 20 individuals that have the ability to unmask a US person’s identity inside the NSA. Outside, other individuals such as the FBI director and attorney general could request unmasking. Comey did not know how many were able to unmask in the FBI.

President Trump’s Wiretapping Accusations

  • Comey confirmed that the FBI and DOG have no information that supports the President’s claim of wiretapping by Obama and/or the Obama Administration. He also stated that such an act would require going through a rigorous process in the courts.

  • Rogers stated that the US government would be unable to have the British GCHQ wiretap Trump on behalf of the US; he could not authorize that because it is against the Five I’s agreements. He also stated that it would be against the law to spy on a US person on behalf of British request.

Trump Associates and Collusion

  • Comey did confirm that the FBI is investigating whether there was collusion between individuals involved in the Trump campaign and Russian officials, but he would not state the kinds of contacts they are looking for.

  • Comey stated that an individual meeting with a foreign leader in itself is not enough to open an investigation.

  • Director Comey would not confirm the accuracy of Roger Stone’s relationship with Guiccifer 2.0 or Julian Assange (of WikiLeaks), nor Stone’s relationship with Paul Manafort. He also could not comment on Stone’s knowing of when John Podesta’s emails would be leaked nor Stone’s part in the Trump campaign.

  • Comey would not comment on Paul Manafort’s Ukrainian lobbying, registration as a foreign agent, or any Ukrainian government requests regarding Manafort.

  • In relation to Flynn, Comey states that he believes the willful violation or failure to register as a foreign agent is a crime.

  • They would not comment on Christopher Steele.

Video of the full testimony is below. 

Krista Johnson

Krista's a freelance proofreader and writer with a focus on medical editing and teen story-based games. She also makes a few bucks with photography. When she's not working with words, she's spoiling her English bulldog and trying new things in the kitchen.

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