Two dozen veteran Republican foreign policy experts plan to send a letter to Congress on Friday urging it to investigate the cyberattack on the Democratic National Committee’s email server, the Washington Post reported.
The letter, which was provided to TPM, cautions that the release of thousands of hacked emails from top DNC officials was “not a partisan issue” but “an assault on the integrity of the entire American political process.”
“Congress has a responsibility to get to the bottom of this extraordinary breach, not only to determine who was responsible but also to consider the appropriate response,” the letter reads, as quoted by the Post.
Many of the signees are hawkish conservatives who formerly worked in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Among them are former Bush deputy national security adviser Elliott Abrams, Reagan State Department veteran Robert Kagan and Randy Scheunemann, who provided foreign policy advice to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Mitt Romney during their respective runs for president.
The hacked emails, which U.S. officials say were likely accessed by Russian intelligence agencies, were published online by Wikileaks just before the start of the Democratic National Convention.
Donald Trump said this week that Russia “or any other country or person” should release the “missing” emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server, if they had them. After sparking an uproar by effectively inviting another country to influence the U.S. election, his advisers scrambled to say that Trump meant the emails should be released to the FBI.
For his part, Trump said he obviously was being “sarcastic.”
His running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R), released a statement shortly after Trump made those comments in a Wednesday press conference that was more measured and assured that the “FBI will get to the bottom of who is behind the hacking.”
Read a copy of the full letter below.
Dear Speaker Ryan, Senator McConnell, Senator Reid, and Representative Pelosi:
We the undersigned urge the appropriate congressional committees to launch an immediate investigation into the reported Russian cyberattack on the Democratic National Committee’s computer system. While this is not the first major attack against the United States – recall the Chinese break-in to OPM’s system and North Korea’s against Sony – the hacking of a political party’s email system by Russian intelligence agencies would, if proven, constitute unprecedented foreign interference in an American presidential campaign.
This is not a partisan issue. The foreign attack was an assault on the integrity of the entire American political process. Instead of focusing on who may have benefited and who was damaged, the investigation should focus on discovering the facts concerning the role of Russian intelligence in the hacking, whether others were involved, and the role of Wikileaks in disseminating the stolen information.
Congress has a responsibility to get to the bottom of this extraordinary breach, not only to determine who was responsible but also to consider the appropriate response. Those responsible for this gross interference in our political process, and those who might contemplate similar moves in the future, need to understand that such actions will have consequences.
Reuel Marc Gerecht
Christopher J. Griffin
Michael V. Hayden
David J. Kramer