WASHINGTON — Former CIA chief John Brennan had a moving response when asked Tuesday why Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election should matter to the American people.
“Why should they care? Why do you care, sir?” Rep. Dennis Heck (D-Wash.) asked Tuesday during a House Intelligence Committee hearing.
“Because for the last 241 years this nation and its citizens have cherished the freedom and liberty that this country was founded upon,” Brennan said. “Many, many Americans, brave Americans, over the years have lost their lives to be able to protect that freedom and liberty. They’ve lost their lives also to protect the freedom and liberties of other countries and other peoples around the world.”
The United States’ ability to chose its own leaders, free from any sort of outside interference, is an “inalienable right” that must be protected at all costs, Brennan added.
“Therefore, I believe this is something that’s critically important to every American,” he said. “It’s very important to me, for my children and grandchildren, to make sure that never again will a foreign country try to influence and interfere with the foundation stone of this country, which is electing our democratic leaders.”
“In other words, sir, because you love your country?” Heck asked.
“That’s the Cliffs Notes version of it, yes,” Brennan said.
Brennan, who spent 25 years with the CIA, testified Tuesday as part of an ongoing probe by the House Intelligence Committee into Russia’s attempt to influence the presidential election and whether Trump’s campaign colluded in the effort. He told House lawmakers that before he left the CIA he was “aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign.”