Updated February 15th, 2024 at 14:10 IST

US Official From Intelligence Committee Raises Concerns Over Russia's Nuclear Capability in Space

Head of the House of Intelligence Committee Mike Turner urged the Biden government to declassify information which posed a "serious national security threat”.

Reported by: Bhagyasree Sengupta
Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden | Image:AP
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Washington – As the animosities between Russia and the West intensify, the head of the US House of Intelligence Committee Mike Turner urged the Biden administration to declassify information which he called a "serious national security threat”. While the Ohio Republican gave no details about the supposed security threat, he alluded to the fact that Russia is currently planning to deploy nuclear weapons in space. Shortly after the revelation, the national security adviser Jake Sullivan expressed surprise at Turner's statement and stated that the GOP leader is due to meet the “gang of eight” (congressional leaders with special security clearance for classified briefings) on Thursday. However, the White House official gave little details on the planned meeting. 

Shortly after Turner's statement was released, American news outlet ABC News and The New York Times cited unnamed sources and stated that the security threat the Republican Politician was referring to involved Russia's potential deployment of a nuclear anti-satellite weapon in space. According to The New York Times, US allies had also been briefed on the intelligence and they reportedly believed that the latest development does not “represent an urgent threat”. The American officials noted that the alleged Russian capability was still in development. 

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“Today, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has made available to all Members of Congress information concerning a serious national security threat,” Turner said in a statement. “I am requesting that President Biden declassify all information relating to this threat so that Congress, the Administration and our allies can openly discuss the actions necessary to respond to the threat,” he added. 

A ‘big deal’ 

Two sources familiar with deliberations on Capitol Hill called it a “big deal” and stated that the matter is “very concerning”. While not mentioning the subject directly, multiple members of Congress assured that they would address the matter with utmost sensitivity. "We are going to work together to address this matter, as we do all sensitive matters that are classified," House Speaker Mike Johnson told reporters at the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, ABC News reported. "But we just want to assure everyone steady hands are at the wheel," he added. 

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Rep. Jim Himes, a Connecticut Democrat and the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee echoed the same sentiment, however, he insisted that there is no reason to “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. A letter sent to Congress from Turner and Himes indicated that the threat is linked to a “destabilizing foreign military capabilities”, ABC News reported.  

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Published February 15th, 2024 at 14:10 IST