GOP Rep Demands Inquiry into House Intel Committee Chair After Warning of Security Threat

by Arjun Singh

 

A Republican congressman has demanded an inquiry into the GOP chairman of the House Intelligence Committee for allegedly compromising national security after he made a public statement about highly classified information.

On Wednesday, Republican Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio, the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, issued a press release confirming the existence of an unspecified “serious national security threat” and demanded that President Joe Biden declassify the information for the public. After that press release provoked significant alarm and controversy, Republican Rep. Andy Ogles of Tennessee on Thursday wrote to House Speaker Mike Johnson to demand an inquiry into Turner, citing the “reckless disregard of the implications” of his release, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“In hindsight, it has become clear that the intent was not to ensure the safety of our homeland and the American people, but rather to ensure additional funding for Ukraine and the passage of an unreformed Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA),” wrote Ogles in his letter. “The act constituted poor judgement at a minimum and a complete breach of trust influenced by the pursuit of a political agenda at a maximum.”

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Ogles’ reference to FISA concerns pending legislation to reauthorize Section 702 of that act, which permits the government to maintain large-scale electronic surveillance programs targeted against foreign powers. The bill has been controversial and faced bipartisan opposition from left-wing and right-wing members of Congress over concerns about loopholes enabling the unconstitutional surveillance of Americans, with a planned consideration of the bill being canceled by the House on Wednesday.

A source familiar with the matter told the DCNF, on background, that Ogles had not viewed the information shared by Turner with members of Congress, which he reportedly confirmed to Politico on Thursday.

“In Washington, if you want a secret to get out, the best place to talk about it is in the SCIF. The issue at hand isn’t the SCIF; the real issue is that it appears that a sitting Chairman colluded with the White House for the purpose of achieving a political agenda,” Ogles told the DCNF. “The comments made by the Chairman spooked international markets and scared the American people. The real cause for concern should be that the Chairman of the intel committee used his position of influence for political gain and that his decision had national and international ramifications. Forgive me if I don’t trust his collusion with the Biden Administration on this matter.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if this [unspecified threat] had something to do with the fact that FISA is up for review…Anytime you start talking about FISA reform, you know, the intel community has this way of bringing out the boogeyman,” said Republican Rep. Eli Crane of Arizona to the DCNF on Wednesday.

Reports on Wednesday suggested that the threat pertained to satellite-based nuclear capabilities of the Russian Federation that are presently under development. However, no member of Congress would verify the information to the DCNF, citing its classified nature.

Being a select committee, Turner’s role as chairman is under the supervision of the speaker of the House, who appoints him directly. Turner has served on the committee since 2015 and was previously the president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, a group of legislators from member-states in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization(NATO).

Turner’s press release on Wednesday prompted responses from the White House and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to confirm the existence of the information, without disclosing any more details. National security advisor Jake Sullivan, when asked whether Americans should be worried about the threat, responded: “That question is impossible to answer with a straight yes.”

“I want to assure the American people there is no need for public alarm,” Johnson told the DCNF on Wednesday at the Capitol. “We are going to work together to address this matter, as we do all sensitive matters that are classified and, beyond that, I’m not at liberty to disclose classified information and really can’t say much more.”

Turner responded on Thursday on Twitter, now known as X. “The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence worked in consultation with the Biden Administration to notify Congress of the national security threat,” Turner wrote. “[L]anguage in the bipartisan notification issued by the Chair and Ranking Member to all Members of the House was cleared by the Administration prior to its release.”

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Arjun Singh is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.

 

 


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