House Intelligence Committee Chair Warns of a Serious National Security Threat

Congress Threat Warning
Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, speaks during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

WASHINGTON — The head of the House Intelligence Committee said Wednesday he had information about a serious national security threat and urged the administration to declassify the information so the U.S. and its allies can openly discuss how to respond.

Rep. Mike Turner, an Ohio Republican, gave no details about the nature of the threat in his statement. The White House also declined to provide details.

House Speaker Mike Johnson said there was no need for alarm. He said he was not at liberty to disclose the classified information. "But we just want to assure everyone steady hands are at the wheel. We’re working on it and there’s no need for alarm,” he told reporters at the Capitol.

Turner earlier Wednesday sent an email to members of Congress saying his committee had “identified an urgent matter with regard to a destabilizing foreign military capability” that should be known to all congressional policy makers. He encouraged them to come to a SCIF, a secure area, to review the intelligence. He again provided no details.

Turner’s announcement appeared to catch the Biden administration off-guard.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters at the White House that he already had been due to brief Turner and other senior congressional leaders on Thursday. Sullivan did not disclose the topic or provide any other details related to Turner’s statement.

“I’m focused on going to see him, sit with him as well as the other House members of the Gang of Eight, tomorrow,” Sullivan said. “And I’m not in a position to say anything further from this podium at this time.”

He acknowledged it was not standard practice to offer such a briefing.

“I’ll just say that I personally reached out to the Gang of Eight. It is highly unusual, in fact, for the national security adviser to do that," Sullivan said. He said he had reached out earlier this week.

He would not say whether the briefing was related to Turner's warning. “I leave it to you to draw whatever connections you want,” he told reporters.

Johnson said he sent a letter last month to the White House requesting a meeting with the president to discuss “the serious national security issue that is classified.” He said Sullivan's meeting was in response to his request.


Associated Press writers Aamer Madhani and Kevin Freking contributed.

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