“Attorney General William Barr is harming America’s relationships with its closest allies by pressuring them to produce intelligence about the Russia investigation in an effort to help President Trump politically, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee charged Thursday in an exclusive interview with NBC News.
Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, who has presided with his Republican counterpart over a two-year, bipartisan investigation into 2016 election interference efforts, said Barr’s outreach to foreign governments, confirmed by the Department of Justice, threatens to undermine decades of U.S. intelligence sharing.
“U.S. intelligence leaders have expressed their concerns to me privately on this,” said Warner, who is committee vice-chairman. “This idea that Australia’s intelligence product might be being used to go after a political opponent in domestic American politics… That’s just not what the intelligence community is about.”
The senator said he is particularly worried about the foreign requests and their impact on an intelligence-sharing pact known as the Five Eyes, which includes the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand. Those countries cooperate extremely closely, sharing communications intercepts and other intelligence.
“Throughout the last 75 years, every administration has valued the sanctity of the five eyes relationship,” Warner said. “It appears this administration doesn’t value that relationship because if you did, you wouldn’t ask your allies for their intelligence for political purposes.”
Warner added: “Can you imagine if the CIA was asked to provide damaging evidence on a political opponent in Australia? There would be outrage in our political establishment.” (Read more: NBC News, 10/02/2019) (Mark Warner Tagged)