Updated Feb 14, 2024 - Politics & Policy

GOP chair urges Biden to declassify intel on "serious national security threat"

Mike Turner, wearing a gray suit, white shirt and pink tie, sitting in front of a painting of the Capitol on a white wall.

House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

Congressional leaders are set to be briefed on what House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner (R-Ohio) called a "serious national security threat" on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Turner's cryptic statement is a rare example of a top House official calling for the president to declassify information about an ongoing threat.

  • "Today, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has made available to all Members of Congress information concerning a serious national security threat," Turner said.
  • "I am requesting that President Biden declassify all information relating to this threat so that Congress, the Administration, and our allies can openly discuss the actions necessary to respond to this threat."

The latest: House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) told reporters there is “no need for public alarm” about the threat, adding, “Steady hands are at the wheel, we're working on it.”

  • Johnson said he plans to “press the administration to take appropriate action” at the Gang of Eight briefing.

Zoom in: The Intelligence Committee sent out a note to House members on Wednesday warned of a "destabilizing foreign military capability that should be known by all Congressional Policy Makers."

  • Information about the "urgent" matter will be available to all House members from Wednesday to Friday, the note said.
  • Coming out of the House SCIF, where members were being briefed on Wednesday, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) told Axios: “There is not an imminent danger right now.”

The other side: White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan declined to offer specifics on the threat Turner referenced when asked about it in a press briefing on Wednesday.

  • "I'm not in a position to say anything further today," he said. "Standing here at the podium today, I can't say anything further."
  • Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, told reporters "people should not panic" and that the threat is something that needs to be addressed "in the medium to long run."

What's next: Sullivan said he is scheduled to brief the four House members in the Gang of Eight about the threat on Thursday.

  • "I am a bit surprised that Congressman Turner came out publicly today in advance of a meeting on the books for me to go sit with him alongside our intelligence and defense professionals tomorrow," Sullivan said.

Editor's note: This was updated with additional reporting.

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