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Blackburn To Austin: Why Did Biden Officials Share Intel With Chinese Officials?

marsha blackburn
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr

At the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) questioned Defense Sec. Lloyd Austin.

Senator Blackburn: Thank you Mr. chairman, secretary Austin why don't we make our intelligence reports public now?

Sec. Austin: We share as much as we can from our intel reports, but as you know we have to be careful about protecting sources and methods, right so that we don't lose capability.

Blackburn: And would you agree that giving our adversaries access to our intel reports is a poor decision?

Sec. Austin: Exactly I think that's something that we absolutely work to avoid. 

Blackburn: Okay and so then why did senior Biden officials hold nearly half a dozen meetings with top Chinese officials to give them information on Russian troop movements?

Sec. Austin: I don't know if I don't have insights on any occurrences like that so.

Blackburn: Okay, it seems the Chinese called up their comrades in Russia and sent Moscow the intel that Biden staffers provided them and it appears that u.s officials knew Beijing gave the intel to Moscow. so I would imagine you do not support giving Russia our intelligence!

Sec. Austin: I am unfamiliar with the issue that you raise but you are right I do not support giving our adversaries. 

Blackburn: Right general Milly under what circumstances if any have you advised intelligence sharing with Beijing.

Gen. Miley: zero never 

Blackburn: Thank you given what we know now about how that subsequently shared information this intelligence went to Moscow what would you advise for similar scenarios going forward. 

Gen. Miley: I don't think you should give intelligence to your adversary period. 

Blackburn: Thank you what senior leader is ultimately responsible for this decision of intel sharing is it you is it secretary Austin, is it jake Sullivan is this the president who is it?

Gen. Miley: My opinion is I'll give you a couple answers to that one as the director of national intelligence is responsible for all the intelligence agencies in the national intelligence DNR avalanche so that's the person who's technically responsible obviously the president's responsibility for everything that the government does executive branch does and then each of us is responsible within our areas of responsibility.

Blackburn: So, under what authorities would we share our intelligence with Beijing?

Gen. Miley: I would ask that you ask these questions of the DNI, however, my knowledge of the system is is that the president and or the director of national intelligence or perhaps the director of the CIA or something like that does have authority but I don't know what those are specifically and it's not something I can answer with accuracy. 

Blackburn: So it's not a practice you approve of but we do know that it has happened correctly? 

Gen. Miley: I don't know that it's happened I'm not aware of what you're talking about actually 

Blackburn: okay we've talked a good bit about Afghanistan today so did Biden's precipitous withdrawal from Afghanistan which really fed perceptions of America in retreat did that play a role in shaping Putin's decision to invade Ukraine. 

Gen. Miley: From the intelligence I've read, it's not clear I think it certainly is possible but I also know that Putin had aims on Ukraine long before the end of the war in Afghanistan, in fact, you all know that yes, well the forces were building up they began to build up their forces in September October so right i think in order to do that they would have had to have the plans and approval long before September October.

Blackburn: they have a habit of moving forward at the end of the Olympics they did it in a wait they did it in 14 we were watching and the white house chose not to move forward I want to ask you you have both failed and this comes to each of you to share with us the budget line items for diversity and inclusion initiatives and much less any way that you would tie those initiatives to warfighting but public reporting has given us some insight into what is being spent and how some of that money has been spent and secretary Austin earlier this year there was a report that said the department of defense is to study the issue of allowing gender non-binary people to serve in the military is that true 

Gen. Miley: I am supportive of allowing any person that's eligible and can meet the qualifications to serve their country.

Blackburn: and who is involved in the study are uniformed military personnel involved?

Sec. Austin: I can't speak to at this point who is involved in any of the studies that we have ongoing just off the top of my head but I'll certainly take the question for you.

Blackburn: and what will the living arrangements be made for non-binary service members are you all going to come back to us and ask for an appropriation for housing.

Sec. Austin: Senator, any study that we do it will make certainly be transparent and make it available to you. 

Blackburn: And what about gender-fluid individuals how will you handle a service member who identifies as male on some days and female on other days or I want individuals.

Sec. Austin: I don't care to speculate on you know what we're going to ask you for or what we're going to how we're going to qualify people again some of this is in litigation in various states and you know I think it's best to take your question for the record.

Blackburn: Okay, I have some questions Mr chairman that I'll submit for the record thank you so much Austin. I do have some questions on hypersonics.

Chairman responded and said: Well, we will be going immediately senator Blackburn into a classified session and those questions I think could be answered there gentlemen let me thank you for your testimony we will adjourn the open hearing and to recover, we confront reconstitute the committee and SB 217 at 12:30.


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