Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe offered to deliver an annual threat assessment to the House Intelligence Committee in a hearing next month but will keep it partially behind closed doors to protect classified information.
Ratcliffe penned a letter to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Ranking Member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., on Wednesday, after offering a briefing in a similar format to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.
“During my nomination hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in May, I indicated that, if confirmed, I would appear as the Director of National Intelligence at a worldwide threat hearing,” Ratcliffe wrote. “Although I made no such representations to the House Permanent Select Committee, I would like to extend the same offer to appear to your committee.”
Ratcliffe said that he would be willing to appear at an “open and closed” hearing session during the week of August 3, along with heads of the Intelligence Community, including CIA Director Gina Haspel, FBI Director Christopher Wray, NSA Director Paul Nakasone and NGA Director Robert Sharp.
During the open session, Ratcliffe said the intelligence community “could provide an unclassified statement for the record in the interest of transparency,” and that each member could also provide “individual opening remarks on global threats to more fully meet the public interest.”
Ratcliffe said that he would then like to deliver a briefing in a closed session “with a thorough exchange of classified questions and answers between the panel and Committee members” so that he could “ensure members receive the information they need.”
Ratcliffe proposed the hearing take place during the week of August 3, but said that “if that week is not feasible for the Committee’s schedule, the IC would be prepared to support a briefing as described later this year.”
A source familiar with the plans told Fox News that Ratcliffe is not the first DNI to suggest a threat assessment be delivered in private, due to the classified nature of the material.
During the Obama administration, former DNI James Clapper said he felt “strongly” that he should “refrain from having an open global threat assessment hearing,” and that instead, it should take place in a “closed session.”
Meanwhile, a source close to Ratcliffe told Fox News that he believes it is important to share threat information with the American public in an unclassified setting, and further doubled-down on the importance of delivering classified information in a closed session.
Ratcliffe was confirmed to DNI in May, replacing acting DNI Richard Grenell.
During his confirmation hearing in May, Ratcliffe pledged to senators that he’d deliver intelligence information without bias if confirmed for the job. Ratcliffe, who was one of Trump’s fiercest allies during impeachment, said he had the experience to be an independent leader of the nation’s 17 intelligence agencies, given his past work as a federal prosecutor.