June 4, 2018 - Issue: Vol. 164, No. 91 — Daily Edition115th Congress (2017 - 2018) - 2nd Session
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. ____________________