Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson testified before the House Intelligence Committee Wednesday, telling lawmakers he has no regrets about telling the public last October that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election – except perhaps, that they made their announcement the same night the “Access Hollywood” tapes surfaced.
In his October announcement, made with former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Johnson revealed that Russia had compromised the emails of U.S. political organizations.
It should have been huge news. Unfortunately, because of the sensationalistic nature of the “Access Hollywood” tapes, which exposed inappropriate comments then-candidate Donald Trump had made in 2005, the Russia announcement was given a backseat.
Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-CA) asked Johnson why the DOJ had delayed the announcement.
“There was no delay,” in the decision, Johnson pushed back.
It was “a big decision,” he added, noting they had to carefully consider whether to declassify the information.
Secondly, he explained, there was an ongoing election. He “didn’t want to appear” like the agency was “taking sides” – especially when one candidate (Trump) was insisting the election was going to be “rigged.”
It would be “unforgivable,” he said, if the DOJ had not informed the public of what they know.
Despite the Russian intrusion, Johnson said he has seen “no evidence” to suggest that votes were altered or suppressed in any way.
Yet, Johnson stressed the need to strengthen America's cybersecurity.
You can read Johnson's full opening testimony before the House Intelligence Committee here.