Watch: Kamala Harris busts Trump’s intel chief for talking down to her about countering Russian disinformation attacks

Watch: Kamala Harris busts Trump’s intel chief for talking down to her about countering Russian disinformation attacks
Image via Screengrab

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coates told Senator Kamala Harris that the intelligence community has “no written strategy” with which to counter foreign disinformation campaigns spread through social media, at Tuesday’s hearings held by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Harris got right to the point, asking Coates, “do we have a written strategy for how we’re going to counter the influence operations that target social media in the United States?”

“We are fully engaged in that issue,” Coates replied, hedging a bit. “We have regular communication among the various sectors of the intelligence community. Much of that is shared both verbally and in written form.”

“So there is a written strategy?” Harris responded, looking for confirmation.

“Not a written single strategy, but we’re always looking at how we can best address this,” Coates said. “It’s a fluid situation.” But Senator Harris was not satisfied and continued to press him.

“Do you have any intention of having a written strategy that will be agreed to and understood by all members of the IC,” she asked again. Coates sighed and repeated that it was “a fluid situation”, assured Harris it was a “top priority”, and then promptly put his foot in his mouth.

“It is something we are working on and we’ve seen very significant progress,” he said. “When you go back and read the transcript of what we talked about before, you’ll understand that.”

“I have the transcript from February 13th of 2018, when you and I had this discussion at our last worldwide threats hearing,” she shot back. “So can you tell us has there been any advancement on that point since February of 2018?”

“I’ll be happy to get back to you with that,” said Coates, punting.

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.