House Republicans on Wednesday stormed a secretive facility at the Capitol in which the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry was conducting a deposition of a Pentagon official on US policy toward Ukraine. In doing so, they put America’s national security at risk.
That area, known as a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), is designed to securely store intelligence and make it harder for foreign spies to obtain its secrets.
That didn’t matter to about two dozen GOP lawmakers led by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), a close ally of President Trump, who stormed the SCIF in an effort to sit in on the deposition. Republicans have long complained that Democrats haven’t given them enough access to the closed-door depositions, claiming House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) is running a “kangaroo court.”
Many of Trump’s allies will applaud the stunt as a combative way to defend the president and make Democrats look bad. But the problem is that House Republicans may have jeopardized US national security with this play.
Mieke Eoyang, a former top House Intelligence Committee staffer and now national security expert at the Third Way think tank in Washington, thoroughly explained why in a now-viral tweetstorm.
“The SCIF itself is a secure facility designed to prevent electronic eavesdropping so members of Congress can receive highly classified information about how the nation collects information on its adversaries, and on *very* sensitive intelligence operations,” she wrote Wednesday morning. “Foreign adversaries are constantly trying to figure out what goes on inside those rooms to figure out what the US knows about them, to out US high-level sources in their governments, to know what the US government knows and use it against us.”
And who might foreign adversaries target to get such information? Why lawmakers, of course.
“Members of Congress (and their electronic devices) are high-value targets for compromise by foreign intelligence services,” Eoyang continued. “Members of Congress have access to a wide range of sensitive information, including, in the case of these members, conversations with the President of the United States” and “tend to be lax in their security protocols.”
What should Republican Congress members have done instead of forcing their way into the SCIF?
Eoyang says they “should give over their electronic devices for scanning to ensure no malware was on them, and that they have not compromised the SCIF. If they don’t want to give them up, they should have checked them before entering.”
In other words, House Republicans may have just made it easier to spy on America. No matter one’s anger level at the Democratic-led inquiry, that is clearly too high a price to pay.
To get Eoyang’s full views on this, you can read her entire Twitter thread below:
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