Andy Ogles Wants Mike Turner Investigated For Raising Alarm About Mysterious Threat

Right-wing Republicans have accused Turner of publicizing a mysterious national security threat in order to boost support for warrantless wiretapping legislation.

WASHINGTON ― Rep. Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.) wants consequences for his Republican colleague who raised alarms Wednesday about a mysterious national security threat.

Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, called on President Joe Biden to declassify information about the danger, offering no details and prompting House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) to tell reporters there was no need for “public alarm.”

In a letter to Johnson shared Thursday, Ogles asked for an inquiry into the revelation, saying it was done with “reckless disregard” for consequences to geopolitics, markets and “the well-being and psyche of the American people.” Ogles also questioned whether Turner should remain chair of the intelligence committee.

“The Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has extraordinary influence, both nationally and internationally,” Ogles said in an emailed statement to HuffPost. “He must be someone who will rise above personal political agendas, he must be someone the American People can implicitly trust; he must use the processes of the committee in an appropriate manner.”

Later on Thursday, the White House said that Russia had obtained an anti-satellite weapon that was “troubling,” but not yet operational and not capable of causing destruction on Earth.

Ogles, a member of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus, said in his letter that Turner only disclosed the existence of the threat in order to boost support for Ukraine funding and a reauthorization of government spy powers.

“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 passage of an unreformed Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA),” Ogles said.

Ogles told Politico’s Olivia Beavers on Thursday, after sending his letter, that he “chose not to look at the classified information,” suggesting that he already knew what it was. HuffPost observed dozens of lawmakers visiting a secure briefing room at the Capitol to learn about the material Wednesday.

Turner, for his part, released a statement Thursday noting that the intelligence committee had voted on a bipartisan basis to make information available about the Russian weapon system to other lawmakers.

“The House Intelligence Committee voted 23 to 1 to make this information available to Members of Congress,” Turner said. “White House officials confirmed that, in their view, the matter was ‘serious.’”

Turner has been pushing a reauthorization of Section 702, which is set to expire at the end of the month. Section 702 is a key provision of FISA that allows warrantless wiretapping of foreigners outside the U.S. Ogles’ letter insinuates, without saying so outright, that the government discovered the mysterious foreign threat using intelligence gathered from Section 702 authority and that Turner wanted to demonstrate its usefulness. Turner has also recently traveled to Ukraine and urged his colleagues to approve more military support.

Some Republicans and Democrats are skeptical of the law because it can incidentally capture communications by U.S. citizens. There is also a Donald Trump angle; the former president dubiously claimed in 2018 that it had been used to spy on his 2016 campaign before reversing himself and signing a reauthorization into law during his presidency.

“It was abused on Donald Trump’s case,” Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), another far-right Republican who’s part of the Freedom Caucus, told HuffPost on Wednesday. “And it’s been documented they’ve had over 275,000 people, Americans, they’ve spied on.”

The House had been set to vote on Turner’s reauthorization on Wednesday, but Johnson pulled the vote, apparently because it lacked enough support to pass.

Popular in the Community


What's Hot