Mike Johnson Urges Calm After Republican Discloses Mysterious 'National Security Threat'

The House speaker said "steady hands are at the wheel" as America's leaders work together to address the issue.

WASHINGTON ― House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) delivered a prepared statement Wednesday aimed at reassuring Americans about a vague national security threat.

House Intelligence Committee chair Mike Turner (R-Ohio) earlier on Wednesday publicly asked President Joe Biden to declassify information relating to a “serious national security threat.”

Amid growing speculation about the threat, Johnson arranged a press gaggle in the Capitol to announce that he and other Hill leaders would meet Biden at the White House on Thursday to discuss the matter.

“I saw Chairman Turner’s statement on the issue and I want to assure the American people there’s no need for public alarm,” Johnson said.

“We are going to work together to address this matter, as we do all sensitive matters that are classified,” he continued. “And beyond that, I’m not at liberty to disclose classified information and really can’t say much, 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.”

Johnson didn’t take questions. Turner also refused to talk to reporters.

The speaker’s reassurance about “steady hands” leading the country was notable. Earlier on Wednesday, in reference to the Justice Department’s special counsel investigation into the president’s mishandling of classified material ― which described Biden as elderly and forgetful ― Johnson said the president was incompetent.

“A man too incapable of being held accountable for mishandling classified information is certainly unfit for the oval office,” Johnson said.

Turner has been pushing for a reauthorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which gives intelligence agencies broad powers to spy on foreigners without a warrant. The law has been controversial among some Republicans and Democrats concerned about privacy.

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) suggested on social media that Turner’s mysterious threat was a stunt to convince lawmakers to support the reauthorization. The House had been scheduled to vote on Turner’s bill this week, but Johnson’s office announced Wednesday afternoon the vote had been postponed.

“Bizarre timing considering we are trying to end warrantless government surveillance this week,” Biggs said.

ABCNews reported Wednesday, citing unnamed sources, that the threat has something to do with Russia putting a nuclear weapon in space in order to destroy satellites.

At the White House, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said he was “surprised” Turner had disclosed the threat, adding that they had already scheduled the White House meeting where he would talk with lawmakers on Thursday.

Other lawmakers with access to intelligence put out statements that did not explain the danger. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said the threat “is a significant one, but it is not a cause for panic.”

Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the chairman and top Republican on the Senate intelligence committee, also said they knew about the threat, have been tracking it “from the start,” and “continue to take this matter seriously” while discussing “an appropriate response” with the Biden administration.

“In the meantime, we must be cautious about potentially disclosing sources and methods that may be key to preserving a range of options for U.S. action,” the senators said.


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