BREAKING NEWS Austinville Elementary School going virtual on Monday following coronavirus case among office staff Full Story
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Top election security intelligence official staying in her job after appearing to overstate Russia's efforts to aid Trump's reelection

The US intelligence community's top election security official,...

Posted: Feb 25, 2020 8:41 PM

The US intelligence community's top election security official, who appeared to have overstated the intelligence community's formal assessment of Russian interference in the 2020 election, said Tuesday she will be staying in her current post.

"Ambassador Grenell has not asked me to leave. In fact, he has encouraged and affirmed his support for my position here in the organization. I have not asked to depart nor discussed resignation in any way," Shelby Pierson said in a statement Tuesday night.

Pierson reportedly told lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee earlier this month that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election with the goal of helping President Donald Trump get reelected.

CNN reported on Monday that a senior intelligence official pushed back on the reports that Pierson told lawmakers during the classified briefing that Russia's efforts were aimed at helping Trump get reelected.

"During the (February 13) briefing, the Intelligence Community did not state that Russia is aiding the reelection of President Trump," the senior official said.

The senior intelligence official also confirmed to CNN that the briefing was a pre-coordinated effort by multiple agencies that have briefed congressional committees before, and that this closed-door session was not just about Russia but multiple foreign actors. A source told CNN last week that the briefing discussed Russia's efforts at hacking, weaponizing social media and attacks on election infrastructure.

Three national security officials told CNN on Sunday that Pierson had omitted important nuance and expanded beyond the intelligence community's formal assessment, which does not include evidence that Russia's interference in this election cycle is aimed at reelecting Trump.

According to the national security officials, the US intelligence community has assessed that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election and has separately assessed that Russia views Trump as a leader they can work with, but the US does not have evidence that Russia's interference this cycle is aimed at reelecting Trump.

"The intelligence doesn't say that," one senior national security official told CNN. "A more reasonable interpretation of the intelligence is not that they have a preference, it's a step short of that. It's more that they understand the President is someone they can work with, he's a dealmaker."

One intelligence official said Pierson's characterization of the intelligence was "misleading" and a national security official said she had failed to provide the "nuance" needed to accurately convey the US intelligence conclusions.

Trump had reacted Tuesday on Twitter to CNN's Sunday report, writing "No surprise!"

News that Pierson is staying put comes amid a shake-up atop the Office of the Director of National Intelligence leadership structure, as acting Director Joseph Maguire was replaced by US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, who then quickly forced out the No. 2 intelligence official in the US government, Andrew Hallman.

Maguire formally resigned last week after Trump made it clear he would not be nominated for the full-time intelligence chief job, a source familiar with the matter tells CNN. The briefing Pierson gave to lawmakers was a key component behind his ouster, with a White House official telling CNN that the President became irate with Maguire over it.

Last Wednesday, Trump announced that loyalist Grenell would serve as acting director, despite having no intelligence experience. Trump has yet to announce his nominee for the role, but two sources told CNN on Tuesday that the President is considering Rep. John Ratcliffe. The Texas Republican withdrew his name from consideration for the same job last year amid bipartisan concerns about his qualifications. Trump has spoken to him and to US Ambassador to the Netherlands Pete Hoekstra about the job in recent days, multiple sources said.

This story has been updated to add background information.

Huntsville
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 67°
Florence
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 67°
Fayetteville
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 66°
Decatur
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 64°
Scottsboro
Broken Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 68°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 134231

Reported Deaths: 2357
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19676351
Mobile13373292
Montgomery8834184
Tuscaloosa8621118
Madison788178
Shelby597849
Lee589760
Baldwin547750
Marshall394343
Calhoun351544
Etowah349045
Morgan329228
Houston290321
Elmore266748
DeKalb241621
St. Clair232235
Walker231684
Talladega216629
Limestone210120
Cullman189920
Dallas179026
Franklin177129
Autauga176425
Russell17603
Lauderdale171333
Colbert164626
Blount161115
Escambia160824
Chilton158530
Jackson157511
Covington140127
Dale138644
Coffee13486
Pike119810
Chambers116442
Tallapoosa116085
Clarke109116
Marion96429
Butler91239
Barbour8827
Winston74412
Marengo72020
Pickens66214
Bibb65410
Lowndes65327
Randolph64713
Hale63528
Geneva6254
Lawrence62023
Cherokee60813
Bullock60414
Monroe5898
Clay5858
Washington55713
Perry5416
Crenshaw53732
Conecuh53511
Wilcox53111
Henry5055
Macon48018
Fayette4578
Sumter43819
Cleburne3805
Lamar3672
Choctaw34712
Greene30315
Coosa1713
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 190891

Reported Deaths: 2374
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby30755458
Davidson26474306
Hamilton944394
Knox937879
Rutherford929389
Williamson525236
Sumner481998
Wilson347645
Putnam331540
Montgomery307044
Unassigned29495
Bradley293417
Out of TN289627
Madison287764
Sevier262315
Blount251624
Maury236124
Washington229736
Robertson221035
Sullivan216433
Hamblen191426
Tipton181819
Gibson165823
Trousdale16577
Hardeman157026
Wayne14975
Dyer137014
Bedford134517
Dickson125715
Coffee123613
Cumberland120118
Weakley118919
Fayette118819
Henderson118124
Anderson117913
Loudon11726
Obion117110
Carter116828
Greene115644
Jefferson111914
McMinn111925
Warren10617
Macon105521
Lawrence104313
Monroe103618
Hardin103016
Lauderdale98316
Franklin9699
Haywood96921
Lake9192
Roane8954
Carroll88920
McNairy88318
Bledsoe8544
White8379
Rhea83412
Hawkins81218
Cheatham80710
Marshall7565
Cocke7469
Overton7456
Smith72311
Johnson7112
Chester63210
Henry6259
Lincoln6191
Giles60717
Hickman5858
DeKalb56614
Crockett53819
Marion5298
Decatur5207
Fentress5053
Campbell4464
Claiborne4425
Polk38810
Grainger3763
Union3591
Benton3369
Jackson3265
Morgan3173
Grundy2915
Cannon2860
Unicoi2861
Humphreys2513
Sequatchie2332
Clay2265
Meigs2263
Houston2203
Scott2142
Stewart2042
Lewis2011
Moore1751
Van Buren1660
Perry1500
Pickett1162
Hancock1063

Community Events