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Lawmakers Warn of National Security Threat as Russia Plans to Launch Nuclear Weapon

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The national security adviser and lawmakers tried to allay concerns on Wednesday after the House Intelligence Committee chairman warned of a “national security threat.” One linked to a “destabilizing foreign military capability” so serious that Biden needs to declassify “all information” about it.

Two sources said the intelligence has to do with Russia’s plans to put a nuclear weapon into space. It would not be to drop a nuclear weapon onto Earth but rather to use it against satellites.

One source called it a “very concerning and very sensitive big deal.” Ensuring they did not address the subject directly, members of Congress described the issue as serious without inciting public fear.

“We are going to work together to address this matter, as we do all sensitive matters that are classified,” House Speaker Mike Johnson said. “But we just want to assure everyone steady hands are at the wheel.”

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Rep. Jim Himes, a Connecticut Democrat and the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, echoed the sentiment. He called the warning “significant” but “not a cause for panic.”

“As to whether more can be declassified about this issue, that is a worthwhile discussion. But it is not a discussion to be had in public,” Himes said.

On Wednesday, Ohio Republican Rep. Mike Turner said his panel had “made available to all Members of Congress information concerning a serious national security threat.” He added that he was making information on the matter available to all members of the House in a secure location.

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Lawmakers viewed the raw intelligence for Turner’s warning inside a secure facility in the basement at the Capitol. “It’s concerning,” Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., said afterward. A letter from Turner and Himes indicated the threat is linked to “a destabilizing foreign military capability that should be known by all Congressional Policy Makers.”

The White House’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said he had already scheduled a classified meeting with congressional leadership. And he did it before Turner’s request.

Sullivan declined to specifically say if Thursday’s meeting will be to discuss the reported threat. He also refused to provide further details about it. All he said was that Americans understand the world’s threats, including terrorism.

“I am confident that President Biden, in the decisions that he is taking, is going to ensure the security of the American people,” Sullivan said.

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“I reached out earlier this week to the Gang of Eight to offer myself up for a personal briefing … and in fact, we scheduled a briefing for the four House members of the Gang of Eight tomorrow,” he added. “So I am a bit surprised that Congressman Turner came out today.”

Sullivan said that the White House “has gone further and in more creative, more strategic ways dealt with the declassification of intelligence in the national interest of the United States than any administration in history. So you definitely are not going to find an unwillingness to do that.”

“But just to be clear, Turner calls it an urgent matter with regard to a destabilizing foreign military capability,” ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Mary Bruce asked. “Are you aware that there is an emerging serious threat here that he’s referring to?”

“‘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,” was Sullivan’s response.

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President Biden had reportedly been tracking the threat. A U.S. official has confirmed that he specifically asked Sullivan to “engage” the Gang of Eight on it. “I did that to set up a meeting. … We’ll have that conversation tomorrow,” Sullivan said. “I’m not gonna say anything further.”

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