House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) has called on the acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to testify at a public hearing next month over security threats facing the U.S. and its allies.
The invitation seeking testimony from acting DNI Joseph Maguire comes amid reports that intelligence officials are trying to persuade Congress from dropping the public portion of the annual Worldwide Threat hearing after backlash from President Trump last year.
Schiff sent a letter Thursday inviting Maguire to testify at a public hearing before the Intelligence Committee on Feb. 12, followed by a closed hearing for the panel later the same day.
Schiff said the committee will inquire about unclassified assessments regarding threats to the nation during the public hearing. He added that the committee “expects” Maguire and intelligence officials to “delve further into classified details about these threats” in the classified portion.
“Witnesses should also be prepared to discuss the challenges faced in ensuring that the IC [intelligence community] can meet these threats and how these challenges have informed the anticipated budget request the Committee will receive for the National Intelligence and Military Intelligence Program within the President’s Fiscal Year budget request for 2021,” Schiff wrote.
An official for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) confirmed to CNN the office received the letter but did not confirm if Maguire will accept the invitation.
“We continue discussions with the committees about the timing and format of the Worldwide Threat Assessment hearings this year,” the official told CNN.
An official for ODNI was not available for comment when contacted by The Hill.
Maguire needs to respond in a written statement at least 48 hours before the hearing, according to House rules.
Schiff’s invitation comes amid reports that intelligence officials have asked the House and Senate Intelligence committees not to hold public hearings as part of this year’s Worldwide Threat assessment over concerns that agency chiefs will publicly disagree with Trump on issues such as Iran, Russia or North Korea.
The push from the intelligence community to block the public portion of the hearing was first reported by Politico.
Last year, Trump said he disagreed “with certain things” intelligence community leaders said at the hearings, following testimony on issues involving North Korea, Iran and the fight against ISIS.
Trump later blamed media coverage for the apparent rift and said that he and then-DNI Dan Coats, CIA Director Gina Haspel and John Bolton, his national security adviser at the time, were “very much in agreement on Iran, ISIS, North Korea, etc.”