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Video: Sen. Mark Warner – On 21st Anniversary of 9/11, Attack on Our Democracy “not coming from terrorists, but…literally insurgents attacking the Capitol on 1/6”

Sen. Warner adds that the Intelligence Committee needs damage assessment from Trump's mishandling of classified information.

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This morning on “Face the Nation,” Sen. Mark Warner – Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee – said he thinks “in many ways we defeated the terrorists…and we are safer, better prepared.” But, Sen. Warner added, “The stunning thing to me is, here we are 20 years later, and the attack on the symbol of our democracy was not coming from terrorists, but…literally insurgents attacking the Capitol on January 6...I think the threat of terror has diminished….but I do worry about some of the activity in this country where the election deniers, the insurgency that took place on January 6th, that is something I would hope we can see that same kind of unity of spirit.”

Also from Sen. Warner:

  • On the investigation into Trump taking classified information: “As the Chairman of the Intelligence Committee...the Vice Chairman and I have asked for a briefing on the damages that could have arisen from mishandling of this information, and I believe it’s our Congressional duty to have that oversight. Remember, what’s at stake here is the fact that if some of these documents involved human intelligence, and that information got out, people will die; if there were penetration of our signals intelligence, literally years of work could be destroyed…If there’s intelligence that has been shared with us by allies, all of that could be in jeopardy…It is essential that the intelligence committee – leadership at least – gets a briefing of the damage assessment…I believe we will get a briefing as soon as there is clarification whether this can be performed or not…”

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From Sen. Mark Warner’s office:

WASHINGTON – Today, on the 21st anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), appeared on CBS’s Face the Nation to discuss evolving threats facing our country as well the recent request by the Intelligence Committee to assess the damage of the classified documents potentially mishandled by former President Trump.

On the national security threats facing our country:

“The stunning thing to me is, here we are 20 years later and the attack on the symbol of our democracy is not coming from terrorists but it came from literally insurgents attacking the Capitol on January 6th. So, I believe we are stronger. I believe our Intelligence Community has performed remarkably. I think the threat of terror has diminished, but I still think we have new challenges in terms of nation and state challenges, Russia and longer term a technology competition with China. But I do worry about some of the activity in this country, the election deniers, the insurgency that took place on January 6th. That is something I hope we can see that same kind of unity of spirit.”

On the Intelligence Committee request for a damage assessment of the classified documents potentially mishandled by former President Trump:

“The vice chairman and I have asked for a briefing of the damages that could have arisen from mishandling of this information. And I believe it’s our congressional duty to have that oversight. Remember, what’s at stake here is the fact that if some of these documents involved human intelligence, and that information got out, people will die. If there were penetration of our signals intelligence, literally years of work could be destroyed. We talk about the enormous advances our Intelligence Community has made helping our Ukrainian friends. That comes about because we share intelligence. If there’s intelligence that has been shared with us by allies and that is mishandled, all of that could be in jeopardy.”

Video of Sen. Warner’s interview on Face the Nation can be found here. A transcript follows.

CBS’s Face the Nation

MARGARET BRENNAN: We begin with the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner of Virginia. Good morning to you, Senator. 9/11 introduced to many Americans for the very first time this sense of vulnerability at home and it launched the global war on terror. I wonder how vulnerable you think America is now. Are we paying enough attention to the Middle East and to Afghanistan?

SEN. MARK WARNER: Well Margaret, I remember, as most Americans do, where they were on 9/11. I was in it is middle of a political campaign and suddenly the differences with my opponent seemed very small in comparison, and our country came together. In many ways, we defeated the terrorists because of the resilience of the American public, because of our Intelligence Community—and we are safer, better prepared. The stunning thing to me is, here we are 20 years later and the attack on the symbol of our democracy is not coming from terrorists but it came from literally insurgents attacking the Capitol on January 6th. So, I believe we are stronger. I believe our Intelligence Community has performed remarkably. I think the threat of terror has diminished, but I still think we have new challenges in terms of nation and state challenges, Russia and longer term a technology competition with China. But I do worry about some of the activity in this country, the election deniers, the insurgency that took place on January 6th. That is something I hope we can see that same kind of unity of spirit.

BRENNAN: As you’re pointing out, America came together after 9/11 and we are incredibly divided right now. One thing that is potentially quite explosive is this ongoing investigation by the Justice Department of the former president and his handling of classified information. You’ve asked for a briefing from the Intelligence Community. Given how sensitive this is, why should anything be shared with Congress given that this is an ongoing investigation?

SEN WARNER: Because as the Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, and I’m very proud of our committee, we’re the last functioning bipartisan committee, I believe, in the whole Congress. The vice chairman and I have asked for a briefing of the damages that could have arisen from mishandling of this information. And I believe it’s our congressional duty to have that oversight. Remember, what’s at stake here is the fact that if some of these documents involved human intelligence, and that information got out, people will die. If there were penetration of our signals intelligence, literally years of work could be destroyed. We talk about the enormous advances our Intelligence Community has made helping our Ukrainian friends. That comes about because we share intelligence. If there’s intelligence that has been shared with us by allies and that is mishandled, all of that could be in jeopardy. Now we don’t know what’s in those documents, but I think it is incumbent, as soon as we get approval — let me be clear, as soon as we get approval, my understanding is there is some question because of the special master appointment by the judge in Florida, whether they can brief at this point. We need clarification on that from that judge as quickly as possible because it is essential that the Intelligence Community leadership at least gets a briefing of the damage assessment.

BRENNAN: That damage assessment, it has been paused, as has the classification review, and it will take some time. So, A, I’m assuming in your answer there you’re saying, there have been no promises of a briefing to be scheduled, is that right?

SEN. WARNER: I believe we will get a briefing as soon as there’s clarification whether this can be performed or not in light of the ruling of the judge in Florida.

BRENNAN: Why should that happen? Because I want to get o something you said, which was the “last bipartisan committee”. You and Marco Rubio, your partner in this request for a briefing, put forth this letter asking for the damage assessment. But lately your colleague has been making some comments that don’t sound quite as bipartisan. He’s compared the Justice Department to corrupt regimes in Latin America when it comes to this investigation, he’s accused DOJ of leaking sensitive details. He says the only reason to leak it is to create a narrative for political purpose. When information gets shared with Congress, as you know, the accusation is, it will get leaked. So, A, it looks like you’re losing that bipartisanship and, B, if you brief Congress, isn’t it going to leak further and worsen?

SEN. WARNER: The record of our Intelligence Committee of keeping secret, secret, that’s why the Intelligence Community shares information with us. Remember, this was the committee bipartisan that did the Russia Investigation –

BRENNAN: But you know your oversight capability, many would argue, including former heads of counterintelligence, FBI, the line is drawn when it’s an active investigation. They don’t owe you a briefing.

SEN. WARNER: We do not — I do not want any kind of insight into an active investigation by the Justice Department. I do want the damage assessment of what would happen to our ability to protect the nation. Here we are 21 years after 9/11. If classified secrets, top secret secrets are somehow mishandled, I pointed out earlier, people could die, sources of intelligence could disappear, the willingness of our allies to share intelligence could be undermined, and I think we need that assessment to make sure –

BRENNAN: Which you will get, but it’s going to take some time.

SEN. WARNER: But I think we need it sooner than later.

BRENNAN: To that point, because it’s so sensitive, because the country is so divided, because you already have in many ways a target being put on the back of law enforcement, isn’t it more important to get it right, to be deliberate and not to be fast here? I want the details just as much as you do.

SEN. WARNER: Listen, I do not think we should have as the Intelligence Committee, a briefing on the ongoing investigation. What our responsibility is, is to assess whether there’s been damage done to our intelligence collection and maintenance of secrets. That is a damage assessment that frankly, the judge in Florida has said can continue.

BRENNAN: Before November?

SEN. WARNER: Listen. Once we get clarification from the judge in Florida, and again, I don’t think we can cherry-pick what part of the legal system we like or dislike. I have trust in our legal system. I may not agree with the decision the judge in Florida but I respect our Department of Justice. I respect the FBI. I think they are trying under extraordinarily difficult circumstances to get it right and we owe them the benefit of the doubt.

BRENNAN: Senator, thank you for coming on and I know we are going to continue to track this and any potential impact to national security.

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