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Congressional Leaders Call On Obama To Declassify And Release DNC Hack Info

"Given the grave nature of this breach ..., we believe a heightened measure of transparency is warranted."

Posted on July 27, 2016, at 3:23 p.m. ET

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

The top two Democrats serving on the intelligence committees in Congress called on President Obama Wednesday to declassify and release any intelligence assessments of the massive email hack of the Democratic National Committee.

"Given the grave nature of this breach and the fact that it may ultimately be found to be a state-sponsored attempt to manipulate our presidential election, we believe a heightened measure of transparency is warranted," Senator Dianne Feinstein, vice-chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking member of Intelligence Committee in the House, wrote in a letter to Obama. "Specifically, we ask that the administration consider declassifying and releasing, subject to redactions to protect sources and methods, any Intelligence Community assessments regarding the incident."

The lawmakers noted that such information might explain the potential motivations of the intruders "for what would be an unprecedented interference in a US presidential race."

While Schiff said earlier this week that the Intelligence Committee had already been briefed on the hack, many of his colleagues — and the American public — remain in the dark more than month after the cyberattack was first revealed.

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley, was joined by ranking member Patrick Leahy in asking the attorney general and the director of the FBI for basic information about the breach. In a letter sent Tuesday to the nation's top law enforcement officials, the congressional leaders asked when the FBI first learned of the hack, if the Russian government or any other foreign power played a role, and if existing laws adequately address cyberattacks, which interfere with the electoral process.

In yet another letter sent to administration officials Tuesday, including the secretary of state and the director of national intelligence, several Democratic leaders representing the Judiciary, Foreign Affairs, and Homeland Security committees also demanded more information on the intrusion.

"As senior members of national-security committees in Congress, we are deeply troubled by reports of a Russia-supported hacking of Democratic National Committee data," wrote Reps. John Conyers, Eliot Engel, and Bennie Thompson. "We request that the administration brief members of Congress on this situation as soon as possible in unclassified or classified settings as needed."

While the FBI probe into the hack remains ongoing, the agency has not yet presented evidence identifying its authors, or explained when US government first began investigating the attack. (It's unclear when the FBI first became involved: during the initial discovery of the breach, or when the emails were published online.)

Meanwhile, the DNC has refused refused to say whether it has given the FBI access to its compromised computers.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.