A group of Republican senators on Tuesday asked FBI Director Christopher Wray to investigate one of President Biden’s Pentagon candidates over whether he disclosed classified information on social media after leaving the administration Obama.
The group was led by Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., And Tom Cotton, R-Ark. Hagerty himself alleged last month that Colin Kahl, the candidate for Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, “could have knowingly or otherwise disclosed on Twitter sensitive information, including information. classified ”.
Kahl, who served as Biden’s national security adviser when he was vice president, disputed disclosing classified information in a response to the committee. He said the Washington Post was specifically the source of at least one batch of tweets that senators have expressed concern about.
But Hagerty called the letter “evasive,” said the referenced Washington Post article did not include all of the information Kahl tweeted and said there were even more posts than those that contained classified information.
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“Indeed, Kahl’s March 23 written response raises more questions than it answers and may even implicate him more in the mismanagement of controlled classified and unclassified information,” wrote Hagerty and other GOP senators. .
“We also subsequently discovered other posts on Kahl’s Twitter that merit further examination,” they continued. “In a series of Twitter posts on December 20, 2017, the candidate not only appeared to publicly confirm disclosed classified information and checked unclassified information contained in a news story … but also publicly claimed to have personally confirmed the accuracy of the story. this classified information disclosed, unclassified information and controlled information with “several representatives of the United States government.”
GOP senators have said there should be “a full investigation” of Kahl “before Kahl’s nomination is advanced to the Senate.”
Kahl has firmly denied sharing classified information on Twitter last month.
“I have never publicly shared information that I knew to be classified and I take seriously my obligations to protect classified information,” he wrote in his letter to the committee. “I was not present at the interagency meetings mentioned in the letter or in the referenced tweets. I had no direct access to information at those meetings which may or may not have been classified.”
Kahl continued to say that information about his tweets about Yemen and former President Trump’s drinking habits from the Presidential Daily Brief was already common knowledge.
“For example, in a media interview, President-elect Trump said in mid-December 2016 that he did not need daily intelligence briefings,” Kahl wrote. Asked shortly before his inauguration by a journalist about his preferences regarding intelligence information and briefings, President-elect Trump expressed his desire to receive bullets or little information if necessary … The other tweets referenced do not do not contain any information to my knowledge to be classified. “
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The White House did not comment on additional tweets about North Korea raised in Hagerty’s new letter.
Kahl faced one of the most difficult paths to confirm the attendance of any Biden official, and the Senate Armed Services Committee voted on party lines to move his nomination forward. Beyond the tweets that Republicans say violated national security, Kahl was a prolific Twitter user who sharply criticized Republicans.
Even moderate Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine has said she opposes Kahl, citing her social media posts and previous political positions.
“He warned of calamity following the relocation of the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, when instead we saw historically close Arab-Israeli relations in 2020,” she said. said last month, according to Politico. “Some of Dr. Kahl’s actions have raised questions about his ability to work with Congress in a thoughtful and productive manner … If America is to successfully face our most difficult national security challenges, we need a candidate for this post that will help bring Republicans and Democrats together. “
Senator Joe Manchin, DW.Va., also moderate, was the decisive vote of the Armed Services Committee that saw Kahl advance to the Senate. With Manchin’s backing, Kahl will likely be confirmed when the final vote on his nomination takes place.
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Last month, dozens of former U.S. generals and flag officers backed Kahl in a letter to the Armed Services Committee, largely citing Kahl’s work with Israel.
“It is precisely because we support the US-Israel alliance that we also support Colin Kahl to be the next Under Secretary of Defense for Politics,” the senior officers wrote. “Mr. Kahl’s in-depth knowledge of politics, military technology and adversary capabilities has helped save countless Israeli lives. a crucial tactical and strategic advantage. “
It is unclear when a final vote on Kahl’s nomination will take place, or whether the FBI will open an investigation into the nominee as GOP senators have requested. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., has yet to file a closing on Kahl’s appointment, a procedural step needed to secure a final vote.
Lucas Tomlinson, Kelly Phares and The Associated Press of Fox News contributed to this report.
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