James O'Brien's instant reaction to the Russia Report
21 July 2020, 13:04 | Updated: 21 July 2020, 14:28
This is James O'Brien's instant reaction to the long awaited "Russia Report," where he saw the lack of evidence of interference in Brexit as a fear of what would be found.
"That is frankly astonishing" he began. James focussed in on the reports lack of investigation into Russian interference in the Brexit referendum, which is widely believed to have had been meddled in by Russia.
James summarised the report in one line, stating that "they didn't go looking for evidence of the Russians interfering in the referendum was because they were terrified of finding it."
The Intelligence and Security Committee report states: "It is clear that Russia currently poses a significant threat to the UK on a number of fronts – from espionage to interference in democratic processes, and to serious crime.
"The question is how that has happened – and what the Intelligence Community is now doing to tackle it.""Russia's cyber capability, when combined with its willingness to deploy it in a malicious capacity, is a matter of grave concern, and poses an immediate and urgent threat to our national security."
"Everything was broken by the Brexit referendum with regard to accountability, scrutiny and even, I think everyone will agree now, basic fact." James said.
Referencing "the alleged Russian interference" in the US election in 2016 which was unveiled in the American Russia Report, James admitted he "just didn't see that coming."
James expressed the view that the importance of the report might have been undermined by how long it has taken to be released.
"The period of time that has passed since the report, however grave its impact might have been, might have seen it diminish overtime, but that was objectively huge."
James then played audio from the Committee hearing where Kevin Jones MP told the press that the Prime Minister didn't allow the report to be published before the 2019 general election.
He also refuted claims from Number 10 over how much time they had to scrutinise the report before the release.
"You find yourself wondering quite what happens next because that was unequivocal and fact based, evidence based, refutation of official Downing Street lines, Kevin Jones MP essentially saying they told you things they knew not to be true."