A coalition of 18 House Republicans led by GOP Conference chair Elise Stefanik sent a letter to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on Thursday questioning her over her decision to allow China and Russia “unprecedented access” to a national security site.
The sending of the letter comes two months after Bloomberg reported that the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration had invited Chinese and Russian officials to tour the DOE’s Nevada National Security Site to prove that America is upholding a moratorium against testing nuclear weapons.
At IAEA, U.S. offers voluntary nuclear test site CBMs ahead of #CTBT entry into force to ease Russia, China tensions. A reiteration of a proposal by NNSA administrator in June. U.S., Russian, and Chinese officials should explore the option. https://t.co/IQJqP5wJ8v via @bpolitics
— Daryl G Kimball (@DarylGKimball) September 29, 2023
The good news is that neither China nor Russia responded to the invitation. But this, according to Stefanik, is not enough.
“I am leading my colleagues in demanding that President Biden revoke this misguided invitation to our adversaries in Beijing and Moscow that grants them unprecedented access and insight into our nuclear weapons,” Stefanik told Fox News in a statement.
“Inviting Communist China and Russia to have a front row seat for our sensitive nuclear weapons tests will give them invaluable information on how to defeat our nuclear capabilities and improve their own,” she added.
“At a time when our adversaries are growing their nuclear stockpiles to undermine America’s leadership allowing them access to one of our nuclear test sites will only advance this pursuit and lead to our own destruction,” she continued.
Rep. Doug Lamborn concurred with Stefanik’s assessment. Speaking to Fox News, he argued that allowing a foreign adversary access to secure U.S. sites “allows them to derive our methods and procedures and destroys deterrence.”
“As Chairman of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, one of my priorities has been to strengthen and protect our nuclear arsenal. In the world today, nothing could jeopardize our national security more than losing this advantage. I was stunned to hear recent reports of Biden administration officials inviting citizens from our two greatest adversaries to observe U.S. nuclear weapons tests,” he said.
“Russia and China should not have insider access to our testing. Both countries have had ample opportunity to be more open about their nuclear weapons development and deployments and refuse to do so. The amendment I introduced on this matter will halt the Biden administration’s latest lapse in judgment,” he added.
According to Fox News, last month he introduced a bill that would prohibit foreign nationals from stepping foot on America’s national labs and witnessing nuclear weapons being tested. The bill was reportedly added as an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2024 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.
Today I fought to stop citizens from DOE’s sensitive countries list from watching nuclear tests at our national labs. No foreign national should witness our nuclear weapons test operations.
— Rep. Doug Lamborn (@RepDLamborn) October 26, 2023
“From Los Alamos to Oak Ridge, our National Labs perform critical national security activities that are the bedrock of our defense. They oversee the stewardship of our national stockpile, which maintains our safe, secure, credible, and effective nuclear deterrent force,” he said in a statement at the time.
“I was stunned to hear recent reports though of Biden administration officials inviting citizens from our two greatest adversaries to observe U.S. nuclear weapons tests. Russia and China should not have insider access to our testing. This is the latest in a series of misguided and naïve national security actions made by Biden administration officials,” he added.
Dovetailing back to the letter to Granholm, in it Stefanik, Lamborn, and others warned that China and Russia will have no reason to slow or halt their own nuclear development “if they are given this access.”
“The Biden Administration’s willingness to allow our strategic rivals this unprecedented access to our sensitive nuclear testing will only embolden their efforts to increase their offensive capabilities,” they wrote.
“Once again, the Biden Administration is rewarding our adversaries with access to our sensitive nuclear technology while not demanding anything in return. Giving our adversaries unfettered access to our nuclear testing will only work to undermine our interests and worsen the international destabilization we are facing because of the Biden Administration’s weakness on the world stage,” they added.
The letter was also signed by reps. Rob Wittman, Joe Wilson, James Moylan, Bill Posey, Pat Fallon, Chris Smith, Ashley Hinson, Carlos Gimenez, Scott DesJarlais, John Moolenaar, Lance Gooden, Brett Guthrie, Dale Strong, Julia Letlow, Robert Aderholt, and Brad Wenstrup.
“The notion of granting America’s adversaries’ access to our military sites — and enabling them to gain information about U.S. nuclear capabilities — is deeply alarming and fundamentally absurd,” Wittman told Fox News.
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