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Sen. Burr gets it right on Russia

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, right, and vice chairman Mark Warner say they have no reason to question U.S. intelligence about Russian involvement in the U.S. election.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, right, and vice chairman Mark Warner say they have no reason to question U.S. intelligence about Russian involvement in the U.S. election. Washington Post

Sen. Richard Burr's seemingly mild words were, in fact, unmistakably pointed. Speaking last week about Russia’s activities and intentions in the 2016 presidential election, the North Carolina Republican assured Americans that his staff “spent 14 months reviewing the sources, tradecraft, and analytic work” of the intelligence community and found “no reason” to dispute intelligence officials’ conclusions.

Under normal circumstances, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee vouching for the professionalism of the nation’s national security staff would hardly be notable. In this case, Mr. Burr’s statement represented a direct rebuke of the hyper-partisan House Intelligence Committee and of the White House, which has sought to score political points by attacking the professionals.

The House Intelligence Committee last month ended its slanted and abbreviated inquiry into Russian election interference, with the panel’s Republicans accusing the intelligence community of “significant intelligence tradecraft failings” in concluding that the Kremlin intervened to boost Donald Trump’s campaign.

Now Mr. Burr and the committee’s vice chairman, Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va., are formally disputing the House committee’s accusation.

They deserve credit for continuing to cooperate in the face of extreme partisan pressure.



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