Senators call for declassifying information about TikTok’s risks

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MARCH 13: In this photo illustration, the TikTok app is seen on a phone on March 13, 2024 in New York City. Congress is set to vote and pass a bill that could ban the popular app TikTok nationwide and be sent to the Senate for a vote. The bill would force the Chinese firm ByteDance to divest from TikTok and other applications that it owns within six months after passage of the bill or face a ban. Lawmakers argue that ByteDance is beholden to the Chinese government making the app a national security threat. (Photo Illustration by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) called on the Director of National Intelligence on Thursday to declassify information about the national security risks posed by TikTok, as the Senate considers legislation that could ban the popular app.

“We are deeply troubled by the information and concerns raised by the intelligence community in recent classified briefings to Congress,” Blumenthal and Blackburn said in a letter to Director Avril Haines.

“As Congress and the Administration consider steps to address TikTok’s ties to the Chinese government, it is critically important that the American people, especially TikTok users, understand the national security issues at stake,” they added.

The House voted overwhelmingly in favor of legislation last week that would require TikTok’s parent company ByteDance to divest from the app or face a ban on U.S. app stores and web hosting services.

The Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act now awaits action in the Senate, where it appears likely to face greater resistance.

Following a classified briefing with members of the intelligence community earlier this week, Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner (D-Va.) similarly said he hopes to declassify information about TikTok’s risks.

“We just had a very powerful briefing,” Warner told reporters Wednesday.

“I’d like to get as much of the content declassified as possible,” he added. “But I think there was a reason why when this brief was given on the House side, to the Energy and Commerce Committee, afterwards they voted 50 to nothing to move the legislation forward.”

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