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Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger

Representing the 2nd District of Maryland

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Ruppersberger Defends Intelligence Workers to Trump, Invites Him To NSA

Feb 16, 2017
Press Release

(Washington, DC) — Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger today sent President Donald J. Trump a letter in defense of our intelligence community, which the new Administration has subjected to a relentless barrage of unwarranted criticisms and unfair challenges.

In recent days, President Trump has attacked the integrity of the FBI and NSA, even calling them “un-American” and saying they act “just like Russia.” Now, President Trump is reportedly planning to hire a billionaire financier and campaign donor with almost no national security experience to conduct a review of our American intelligence agencies.

Ruppersberger, whose district in Maryland is home to the NSA, has said the President’s public attacks on U.S. intelligence agencies are affecting morale and NSA’s ability to recruit and retain high-quality employees. He invited President Trump to tour the facility with him to better his understanding of its mission and its workforce.

The full text of the letter follows:

February 16, 2017

The Honorable Donald J. Trump
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Mr. President,

As a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee and the former Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, whose district is home to the NSA and many of its hard-working employees, I am writing in response to your relentless criticisms of our American intelligence workers. I find news reports that you plan to hire a billionaire financier and campaign donor with no intelligence experience to review our intelligence agencies extremely alarming. One media report even suggested you may appoint this person to lead one of our intelligence agencies.

Regrettably, this wouldn’t be the first time you have challenged the competency of our intelligence workers. You discredited CIA findings that Russia hacked DNC emails and you have questioned the need for daily intelligence briefings. Yesterday, you attacked the integrity of the FBI and NSA, even calling them “un-American” and saying they act “just like Russia.” Today’s report that you plan to assign a friend with almost no national security experience to review our intelligence agencies is simply the colloquial straw that broke the camel’s back. If you follow through with this effort, I fear it will greatly damage our intelligence community’s required independence and stifle the exchange of sensitive information that may conflict with your policy positions.

I think it is critical you visit the NSA and see first-hand the work these dedicated men and women do every day to protect our soldiers on the battlefield, as well as everyday Americans. I am confident this will give you a new understanding and appreciation of the essential services provided by our intelligence workers. As Commander in Chief, it is imperative you avail yourself the opportunity to experience the mission of the NSA up close and personally.  I can assure you the employees at the NSA are smart, hard-working, extremely patriotic and law-abiding Americans. As I learned through my many years on the House Intelligence Committee, intelligence is the best defense against terrorism and the men and women of the NSA are indispensable to this defense. 

To that end, I invite you to join me on a tour of the NSA at your convenience. I look forward to your response.
 
Sincerely,
C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger
Member of Congress