The Senate Intelligence Committee will launch an investigation into alleged Russian interference into the U.S. presidential election, its chairman announced on Dec. 16.
"The Committee will follow the intelligence wherever it leads," Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the committee's chairman, said in a statement posted to his official website. "We will conduct this review expeditiously, but we will take the time to get it right and will not be influenced by uninformed discourse."
During this review, which will take place over the course of the next session of Congress, the panel will conduct "a thorough examination of the underpinnings of intelligence" that indicated Russian involvement in the U.S. election, which the Obama administration said in an Oct. 7 statement was "intended to interfere with the U.S. election process," notes The Washington Post.
"The Committee's role is not only to ensure that the intelligence provided to policymakers is of the highest quality, but to understand how policymakers use that intelligence," Burr added. "This includes possible intelligence collected on Russian 'active measures' in the US political sphere in 2016."
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The investigation will review all pertinent intelligence on the matter, including cyber activity evidence, and determine its implications through a series of congressional hearings and interviews with top-ranking intelligence officials.
Burr explained that the committee will make those hearings public when possible, but will conduct the majority of the investigation "behind closed doors" to protect the sensitive nature of the information.
"As the Committee's review progresses, we will keep Senate leadership, and the broader body, apprised of our findings," he added.
According to the North Carolina senator, the panel will seek to be unbiased and nonpartisan, as requested by Democratic leaders.
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"It is a charge the SSCI takes seriously, as bipartisanship -- in fact, non-partisanship -- is at the very core of the Committee's charter and is essential to preserving the intelligence equities involved," he stated.