- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 7, 2022

Sen. Marsha Blackburn is demanding that President Biden’s top intelligence aides testify to Congress over reported information sharing with China on Russian troop movements ahead of the invasion of Ukraine.

Mrs. Blackburn, Tennessee Republican, said the senior White House officials should appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee and discuss the topic under oath.

“National Intelligence Director Avril Haines, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, and CIA Director William Burns need to come before this committee and explain why they thought it was appropriate to give our intelligence to the Chinese, who then gave it to the Russians,” Mrs. Blackburn told The Washington Times. “We should not be giving American secrets to Beijing or helping [Russian President Vladimir] Putin commit war crimes.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The call comes after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appeared before the Armed Services panel. During the hearing, they were questioned over reports that the federal government had shared intelligence with China earlier this year in the lead up to Russia’s invasion.

Both officials said that they were “unfamiliar” with the validity of the reports, but admitted that sharing intelligence with a U.S. adversary would be a poor decision.

“I don’t think you should give intelligence to your adversary, period,” said Gen. Milley.  

When pressed, Gen. Milley said that if information sharing had occurred, it likely would have come at the authority of the White House or the intelligence community.

“The Director of National Intelligence is responsible for all of the intelligence agencies,” Gen. Milley said. “My knowledge of the system is that the president, the director of national intelligence or perhaps the director of the CIA … does have authorities, but I don’t know what that is specifically.”

In February, The Washington Times and other outlets reported the White House had heavily courted China to join its campaign to pressure Russia against invading Ukraine. To convince China, U.S. intelligence officials allegedly shared information on Russian troop movements near Ukraine’s border.

Government sources claim the intelligence-sharing started in December 2021 and continued up to the day that Russia invaded. They also say that instead of joining the U.S-backed pressure campaign, China opted to share the information with Russia.

Republicans argue that the White House’s purported decision to court China was flawed from the start given the communist power’s budding alliance with Mr. Putin. They also question whether the intelligence-sharing may have aided Russia’s plans to invade Ukraine.

SEE ALSO: Ukraine still needs weapons to fight Russia, foreign minister tells NATO

“It is astonishing that neither General Milley nor Secretary Austin was aware of a widely reported story that the Biden administration shared intelligence with Chinese officials,” said Mrs. Blackburn.

• Haris Alic can be reached at halic@washingtontimes.com.

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