The Republican members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) have been sending signals to the Biden administration that they intend to investigate the source of COVID-19 and the surveillance of domestic radicalism if they should take power in the House next year.
Representative Mike Turner (R-Ohio), the ranking member of the committee, informed the media that the two “resolutions of inquiry” to the Biden administration that were passed in committee last week had “unanimous” bipartisan support.
The first question that was answered concerned a government investigation into the backstory of the influenza strain COVID-19, which yielded two reports, one of which was secret. Several committee members are concerned that the declassified report does not adequately reflect the material detailed in the confidential version, and they have requested an explanation from the administration. To address what he terms a “severe issue,” Turner and his colleagues have written 27 letters to the Biden administration seeking information on this.
The second resolution addresses a public report on violent domestic extremism scheduled for release by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) in March 2021. Turner claims he has submitted 19 letters regarding this issue in an attempt to obtain clarification, but none have been responded to.
The congressman assured the committee that the Biden administration is “fully aware” of the unanimous vote, which he said sends a “clear signal” that lawmakers would not stop pressing until they obtain answers.
According to Turner, the Republican Party will respond to the Biden administration’s silence with subpoenas in these areas where the lack of an answer is unacceptable.
Turner continued by saying that the GOP is aware of the committee’s work and that republicans have taken the most crucial step in sending a clear message to the Biden administration that there is support for him answering these concerns. Turner said that the incoming Democrats might appreciate his promise that the GOP will exhaust all legal avenues to extract information from the Biden administration.
Turner pointed out that the HPSCI was established to stop the intelligence community from abusing America’s fundamental rights.
A 2022 Intelligence Authorization Act clause mandates that the director of national intelligence report annually on any domestic actions that the intelligence community was undertaken, as the lawmaker noted.
Turner stated their motivation, claiming they are likely beyond the democratic party’s statutory authorities in their pursuit of international actors and intelligence. He said that the Republican Party would alter the law if it found that the Biden administration was abusing its power in any way, including through legal loopholes or the pursuit of American citizens in gray areas.
The time for ODNI to submit its legally mandated report to Congress passed on June 13.
On Tuesday, the two resolutions of inquiry were formally submitted to the House floor and placed on the calendar. However, whether they are brought up for a vote is ultimately up to Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif.