NOMINATION OBJECTION; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 91
(Senate - June 04, 2018)

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[Page S2964]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                          NOMINATION OBJECTION

  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I intend to object to any unanimous 
consent request relating to the nomination of William R. Evanina, to be 
Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, 
PN1548.
  During the course of the Judiciary Committee's inquiry into how the 
Justice Department and FBI handled the Clinton and Russia 
investigations, committee staff have reviewed text messages between 
Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. In some of the text messages, an individual 
named ``Evanina'' is mentioned in the context of government officials 
having briefed then Vice President-Elect Pence on national security 
related issues and planning to brief him a second time. The name was 
redacted from text messages initially provided to Congress.
  ``Evanina'' most likely refers to the nominee who is and was at that 
time Acting Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security 
Center. The committee needs to more fully understand the meaning of the 
apparent references to Mr. Evanina in the Strzok-Page texts and will 
need to obtain further context from him and the Justice Department in 
order to do so before I could consent to proceeding to consider his 
confirmation.
  The committee has recently experienced increasing difficulty in 
obtaining relevant documents and briefings from the Justice Department 
and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, ODNI. For 
example. Deputy Attorney General, DAG, Rod Rosenstein personally 
assured me that the Senate Judiciary Committee would receive equal 
access to information provided to the House Permanent Select Committee 
on Intelligence, HPSCI, with regard to any concessions in its 
negotiations regarding pending subpoenas from that committee. Two weeks 
ago, the ODNI and the DAG provided a briefing in connection with a 
pending HPSCI, subpoena to which no Senate Judiciary Committee member 
was invited. Thus far, the committee's attempts to schedule an 
equivalent briefing have been ignored.
  Additionally, beginning November 29, 2017, I made requests for 
information from the inspector general of the Intelligence Community 
and ODNI regarding the diffusion of the IC whistleblower program and 
the highly unusual and problematic termination of the IC IG's former 
Executive Director for Whistleblowing and Source Protection. In March, 
having received none of the information I asked for, I formally and 
publicly objected to the confirmation of the ODNI general counsel 
nominee. To date, I still have received nothing. Therefore, I also 
object to Mr. Evanina's confirmation until and unless the ODNI provides 
a fulsome response to my letters. Additionally, I understand that Mr. 
Evanina was responsible for developing policies and procedures to 
address retaliatory security clearance actions pursuant to a statutory 
directive, but that it is not clear whether such policies and 
procedures have been implemented. I would like for Mr. Evanina to 
explain the status of those efforts.
  Thus, unfortunately, I must object to any consideration of this 
nomination. My objection is not intended to question the credentials of 
Mr. Evanina in any way. However, the executive branch must recognize 
that it has an ongoing obligation to respond to congressional inquiries 
in a timely and reasonable manner.

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