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July 22, 2020

Chairman Thompson Writes DHS, FBI, NCTC on Their Refusal to Brief the Committee

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, sent a letter to Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and National Counterterrorism Center Acting Director Lora Shiao on their sudden refusal to brief the Committee next week – as agreed – regarding the many threats facing the homeland.  In the letter, Chairman Thompson reminds the Administration officials that subpoenas were necessary last year to compel testimony on this issue.

Letter excerpts:

I write to express my frustration that your agencies are refusing to brief the Committee on Homeland Security on the worldwide threat landscape next week as previously agreed. At a time when the United States is confronting a troubling range of domestic and international terrorism threats and counterintelligence challenges, it is critical that Members of the Committee have an opportunity to hear from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) about global threats in a classified setting.

[T]he Committee engaged with your offices in good faith for well over a month to schedule this briefing. Your intransigence at the eleventh hour is outrageous, as is your offer to brief the Committee nearly two months from now, and these actions raise serious questions about whether your agencies are truly committed to keeping Members of Congress informed and respecting the Committee’s oversight responsibilities.

I request that you immediately commit to sending representatives to brief the Committee on worldwide threats in a classified setting next week.

I also reiterate my request that each of you, or your successor, testify before the Committee for the Committee’s annual hearing on worldwide threats on September 10, 2020. You will recall that last year, the Committee was forced to use compulsory process to obtain testimony from the then-Acting Secretary of DHS and the then-Acting Director of NCTC for the Committee’s Worldwide Threats hearing. That was a last resort, made necessary by months of broken commitments from your agencies. I certainly hope your refusal to brief next week and reluctance to commit to testifying do not indicate that compulsory process will be necessary again.  However, I am prepared to use all tools at the Committee’s disposal to ensure that our Members understand the worldwide threat landscape.

Link to letter

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