House Intelligence chair blasts White House over Russia’s space nuke threat

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun21,2024

WASHINGTON — House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner (R-Ohio) is ripping into the Biden administration for not being more transparent about intelligence on Russia’s purported development of a space-based nuclear weapon.

Turner, speaking June 20 at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, accused the White House of withholding details about the status of the Russian anti-satellite weapon program, which he described as the modern-day equivalent of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

“If you’re not using intelligence to impact the outcome then intelligence has no value,” Turner said. “We need the administration to declassify the status of this program.”

The GOP lawmaker first raised alarms in February about the “grave” threat posed by Russia’s efforts to place a nuclear device in orbit capable of generating a catastrophic electromagnetic pulse to disable satellites. The next day, the White House confirmed seeing intelligence about an anti-satellite threat from Moscow but said it was not yet an operational capability.

Turner during his talk at CSIS insisted that disclosing more information would not jeopardize sources and methods, arguing it could help deter Russia and inform how the U.S. works with allies on the issue.

“Knowing more about the status of the program can inform our to-do list, and how we work with allies,” he said.

‘Day zero’ event

The congressman raised the specter of Russia detonating a nuclear weapon in space as a potential “day zero” event sparking an armed conflict that could bring “the end of the Space Age” that began with Sputnik in 1957.

“The administration was willing to come forward and say that Russia is developing an anti-satellite nuclear weapon. The administration has confirmed this. This is not speculative,” Turner said.

“There are probably differing opinions as to what needs to be done. But that’s the dialogue that we need to be having, on what should be done. And the administration is not having that debate within itself or with the American public or worldwide with our allies.”

Turner accused the Biden administration of “sleepwalking into an irreversible ‘day zero’” and alleged that some factions within the government believe the U.S. can tolerate Russia’s space-based nuclear ambitions. He alleged that the White House is avoiding the topic to obscure the “gap between what they should be doing and what they are doing.”

He called on the U.S. and NATO to jointly declare their resolve to enforce the 1967 Outer Space Treaty banning the stationing of weapons of mass destruction in orbit.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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