Dear U.S. Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines:
We write as Montanans who served in the U.S. military or as civilians in the intelligence and security communities to express our deep concern about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Like many of your constituents, we are greatly concerned by the initial findings in the declassified version of the Intelligence Community Assessment published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Jan. 6. As you know, those findings include several troubling conclusions, among them that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign aimed at the 2016 presidential election; that Russia’s goals included that of undermining public faith in the U.S. democratic process; and that Moscow is likely to apply lessons learned to future influence efforts worldwide, including those targeting U.S. allies.
We consider it a matter of national security that Congress promptly and thoroughly investigate the matter – with urgency and resources comparable to the 9/11 Commission – and promptly pass legislation to protect American democracy from foreign subterfuge in the future. Aside from the individual investigations of the relevant committees, Congress should also form a bipartisan special committee to ensure oversight across the appropriate jurisdictions of Foreign Relations, Armed Services, Intelligence, and Judiciary committees.
Only a thorough, independent investigation will be able to fully determine the facts regarding Moscow's hostile acts and assure Americans going forward that our political leaders, regardless of their party affiliation, are considering only America's interests when making decisions. It is essential that the investigation remain above the partisan fray and that legislation enacted after the investigation enjoy broad bipartisan support.
Because we deem Russia’s actions an attack on American democracy, we ask that you press for the response in Congress to be as open and democratic as possible. In the near term, we ask that you formally request a briefing by the Senate Intelligence Committee summarizing the facts underlying the DNI Assessment at the highest level of classification. We then invite both of you to join us for a town-hall style meeting in Bozeman and Missoula to discuss your own (unclassified) assessment of Russian interference and exchange ideas with constituents on what Congress should do in response.
Thank you for your dedicated public service and your work on this urgent matter.