Russian nuclear capabilities in space could threaten international satellites, US military comms: Sources

The U.S. has intelligence of a national and international security threat related to Russian nuclear capabilities in space which could threaten satellites, including potentially knocking out U.S. military communications and reconnaissance, Fox News has learned. 

Sources tell Fox News that the Russian capability has not yet deployed.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner on Wednesday morning first warned of a ‘serious national security threat,’ and called on President Biden to declassify it. 

‘The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has made available to all Members of Congress information concerning a serious national security threat,’ Turner said. ‘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 this threat.’ 

Fox News Digital obtained the notice sent to congressional members Wednesday, which pointed to ‘an urgent matter with regard to a destabilizing foreign military capability that should be known by all Congressional Policy Makers.’

Sources told Fox News that the deliberations about declassifying the intelligence relate to interests in protecting intelligence sources and methods.  

A separate source told Fox News that the threat is ‘concerning Russian capability,’ noting that the ‘potential seriousness of the threat is grave,’ but ‘the threat is not immediate in nature.’ 

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., later attempted to quell any panic caused by Turner’s statement by explaining that last month, he sent a letter to the White House ‘requesting a meeting with the president to discuss a serious national security issue that is classified.’

‘In response to that letter, a meeting is now scheduled tomorrow on this matter here at the Capitol with the Gang of Four and with the president’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan,’ Johnson said. ‘I will press the administration to take appropriate action, and everybody can be comforted by that.’ 

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

‘We are going to work together to address this matter as we do all sensitive matters that are classified,’ Johnson said. ‘And beyond that, I’m not at liberty to disclose classified information and really can’t say much of that, but we just want to assure everyone, steady hands are at the wheel, we’re working on it. There’s no need for alarm.’ 

Meanwhile, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., and Vice Chairman Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said their committee ‘has the intelligence in question, and has been rigorously tracking this issue from the start.’ 

‘We continue to take this matter seriously and are discussing an appropriate response with the administration,’ Warner and Rubio said. ‘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.’

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Wednesday at the White House press briefing said that he was surprised by Turner’s statement, given that earlier in the week he reached out to members of Congress to offer himself to come to Capitol Hill to give a personal briefing on the matter. 

That briefing will take place on Thursday.

‘I am a bit surprised that Congressman Turner came out publicly today in advance of a meeting on the books for me to go sit with him alongside our intelligence and defense professionals tomorrow. That’s his choice to do that,’ Sullivan said.

‘All I can tell you is that I’m focused on going to see him, sit with him, as well as the other House members of the Gang of Eight tomorrow, and I’m not in a position to say anything further from this podium at this time, other than to make the broad point that this administration 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,’ he continued.

Sullivan added: ‘You definitely are not going to find an unwillingness to do that when it’s in our national security interest to do so.’

He said, however, that the administration has prioritized ‘the issue of sources and methods.’

‘Ultimately, these are decisions for the president to make, but in the meantime, the most important thing is we have the opportunity to sit in a classified setting and have the kind of conversation with the House Intelligence leadership that I, in fact, had scheduled before Congressman Turner went out today,’ Sullivan said.

Sullivan again stressed that he ‘personally reached out’ to Congress on the matter.

‘It is highly unusual, in fact, for the national security adviser to do that,’ he said. 

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