". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Republicans Question Turner’s ‘Security Threat’ Motives, Call for Ouster as Chairman

February 16, 2024

Following House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner’s (R-Ohio) cryptic statement on Wednesday regarding an unspecified “national security threat,” a growing chorus of Republican lawmakers and other conservatives are questioning the “suspicious” timing of the statement, with at least one congressman and four advocacy organizations calling for Turner to be removed as chairman.

Almost immediately after Turner’s initial post on X Wednesday warning of an unnamed “serious national security threat,” sources “familiar with deliberations on Capitol Hill” revealed that the threat was referring to Russia’s intention of deploying nuclear weapons in space. But conservative experts and GOP members on Capitol Hill soon began raising questions about the curious nature of the statement and its timing, which coincided with sharp deliberations over the controversial Ukraine spending bill and the canceled vote to reform the federal FISA spying program.

During Thursday’s edition of “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins,” Rep. Rich McCormick (R-Ga.) expressed frustration at how quickly the classified information made it into the open.

“[O]ne of the things that concerns me, not just [with] what’s going on with Russia in space, but just the fact that we in Congress cannot keep a doggone secret,” he remarked. “You had a bunch of people go into a skiff, look at classified information. Within minutes, it was out on the internet. That bothers me. I’m a military guy. We don’t allow that. We track those things down. But in Congress, there’s no accountability. … I don’t think we should be open on how we gather our intelligence or what we actually know. I think that’s very, very dangerous to our intel community.”

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins went on to note that while the Russian threat in space is certainly a concern, the “low-tech” threat of illegal immigrants with unknown intentions pouring across our border is a much more immediate concern, of which the Ukraine aid bill does not address.

“That’s a fact,” McCormick concurred. “Nearly two million people got away. These are people that didn’t want to be caught, the most nefarious type. … It doesn’t take much material to get into the United States for low tech disruption of our cities. [It could be] dirty bombs, EMPs, … a fungus. It could be a bacteria. It could be a new virus. It could be a lot of different things. … It doesn’t take much fentanyl to poison an entire city worth of people. We’ve lost over 100,000 people last year. … [T]his is a real invasion with real consequences. And these people could mean all kinds of harm from all different countries. We need to do a better job, for sure. We owe the people that.”

As concerns over the border crisis mount, former Congressman Jody Hice, who now serves as senior vice president at FRC, joined “Washington Watch” Thursday and emphasized the curious timing of Turner’s statement.

“[F]or this to just coincidentally come up right at the point where the funding for Ukraine and … the FISA reauthorization, where those bills are in play, there’s no way that anyone can convince me that that’s just sheer coincidence,” he contended. “We have known for a long time the threat that Russia poses to our country, in the world, and therefore the timing of this when Chairman Turner is trying to push through this reauthorization of FISA, is certainly no coincidence whatsoever. And to me, quite frankly, it’s shameful. I think there needs to be some action against this in terms of investigating what’s really going on.”

Hice further argued that Turner’s actions were not well-intentioned. “I believe Chairman Turner has put this out here to create a sense of fear among the American public. … But it also was intended to create fear among members of Congress. And for that reason, I think Speaker Johnson was very wise in pulling back, saying, ‘We’re going to vote on [the FISA reauthorization] at another time.’”

“I think [Turner] should be removed from his post as chairman of that committee,” Perkins remarked.

“I would agree,” Hice responded. “This is an abuse of his position as chairman here.”

At least one member of Congress, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), is calling for Turner to be ousted from his position as chairman. In addition, Rep. Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.) is demanding an investigation into Turner’s actions. On Thursday, he sent a letter to Speaker Johnson accusing Turner of “reckless disregard of the implications and consequences said information would have on geopolitics, domestic and foreign markets, or the well-being and psyche of the American people.”

On Friday, momentum for Turner’s chairmanship removal began to build further as four organizations — FreedomWorks, the Due Process Institute, Demand Progress, and Restore the Fourth — sent a letter to the congressman asking him to step down from the role. Turner’s actions “undermined your credibility, your committee, and national security,” the letter read. “The near-panic you caused by exploiting this potential future threat for immediate political gain is beneath a Member of Congress, and in particular the committee you currently lead, which was formed to rein in — not be a mouthpiece for — warrantless domestic spying. This week is the culmination of months of bad-faith tactics that collectively demonstrate you should not continue as Chairman.”

Notably, as reported by Breitbart, Turner’s “national security” statement came about a week after the congressman traveled to Kyiv and met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and senior Ukrainian officials. Turner later posted on X how he and a delegation of other members of Congress “reiterated America’s commitment to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia.”

Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.