Press Releases

WASHINGTON— Today, the Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Committee member Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced bipartisan legislation to help combat tech-specific threats to national security posed by foreign actors like China and ensure U.S. technological supremacy by improving interagency coordination across the U.S. government. To do this, the bill creates an Office of Critical Technologies & Security at the White House responsible for coordinating across agencies and developing a long-term, whole-of-government strategy to protect against state-sponsored technology theft and risks to critical supply chains. 

“It is clear that China is determined to use every tool in its arsenal to surpass the United States technologically and dominate us economically. We need a whole-of-government technology strategy to protect U.S. competitiveness in emerging and dual-use technologies and address the Chinese threat by combating technology transfer from the United States, ” said Sen. Warner, a former technology and telecommunications executive. “We look forward to working with the Executive Branch and others to coordinate and respond to this threat.”

“China continues to conduct a coordinated assault on U.S. intellectual property, U.S. businesses, and our government networks and information with the full backing of the Chinese Communist Party,” said Sen. Rubio. “The United States needs a more coordinated approach to directly counter this critical threat and ensure we better protect U.S. technology. We must continue to do everything possible to prevent foreign theft of our technology, and interference in our networks and critical infrastructure. By establishing the Office of Critical Technologies and Security, this bill will help protect the United States by streamlining efforts across the government. I look forward to working with my colleagues and the Administration to enact this legislation and guard against these national security threats.”

China and other nations are currently attempting to achieve technological and economic superiority over the United States through the aggressive use of state-directed or -supported technology transfers. At the same time, the U.S. is also facing major challenges to the integrity of key supply chains as a result of reliance on foreign products that have been identified as national security risks. A national response to combat these threats and ensure our national security has, to date, been hampered by insufficient coordination at the federal level.

The Warner-Rubio bill would guarantee that there is a federal entity responsible for proactively coordinating interagency efforts and developing a national strategy to deal with these challenges to our national security and long-term technological competitiveness. Under the bill, the Office of Critical Technologies & Security would be directed to coordinate and consult with federal and state tech and telecom regulators, the private sector, nongovernmental experts and academic stakeholders, and key international partners and U.S. allies to ensure that every available tool is being utilized to safeguard the supply chain and protect emerging, foundational and dual-use technologies. The Office would also be responsible for raising awareness of these threats and improving the overall education of the American public and business leaders in key sectors about the threats to U.S. national security posed by the improper acquisition and transfer of critical technologies by foreign countries and reliance on foreign products – such as those manufactured by Chinese telecom companies ZTE and Huawei – that jeopardize the overall security of private sector supply chains. 

Sen. Warner, a former telecommunications executive and entrepreneur, has long expressed concerns about the risks to our national security posed by Chinese-controlled telecom companies. On October 12, 2018, Sen. Warner and Sen. Rubio sent a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urging his country to reconsider Huawei’s inclusion in any aspect of Canada’s 5G development, introduction, and maintenance. Warner has also urged the Administration to work with our allies to combat these technology threats. Sens. Warner and Rubio are also the authors of bipartisan legislation to enforce full compliance by ZTE with all probationary conditions of a U.S. Commerce Department’s deal struck with the company last year that ended U.S. imposed sanctions.

 

For a copy of the bill text, click here

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the below statement after the Director of National Intelligence concluded that Russia and other foreign countries used social media and additional means of influence to target Americans during the 2018 midterm elections:

“As the Director of National Intelligence reminds us, the Russians did not go away after the 2016 election. Now that the Russian playbook is out in the open, we’re going to see more and more adversaries trying to take advantage of the openness of our society to sow division and attempt to manipulate Americans. Congress has to step up and enact some much-needed guardrails on social media, and companies need to work with us so that we can update our laws to better protect against attacks on our democracy.”

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the below statement after the Department of Justice announced charges against two hackers associated with the Chinese government:

“The Department of Justice, and in particular Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, should be congratulated for their work on this announcement. DOJ’s recent moves to hold China accountable are important in exposing some of the threats posed by China as it attempts to pursue economic and technological dominance over the United States.

While legal action is important, a truly effective response will require a coordinated approach with our allies and a comprehensive strategy to protect our national security and enhance U.S. competitiveness and resiliency. We have to punch back against China’s malign activities – but we also have to do more than play defense if we’re going to truly check China’s bad behavior.” 

 

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, introduced legislation to modernize our antiquated security clearance system, reduce the background investigation backlog, and ensure the government has the trusted workforce necessary to perform its national security and public safety missions. Earlier this year, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) added the government-wide Personnel Security Clearance Process to their High-Risk List of federal areas in need of either broad-based transformation or specific reform to prevent waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement.

“The current process for granting security clearances to government personnel and contractors is in dire need of reform,” said Sen. Warner. “In light of new and emerging threats, this bill reflects the changes we need to make to this 70-year-old system to adjust to the increasing availability of data, new technologies, and a more mobile workforce so that we can maintain the pipeline of trusted professionals that the nation requires.”

“PSC and the contractor community owe Vice Chairman Warner thanks for his tenacious and persistent focus on modernizing and streamlining the federal government’s security clearance processes,” said David J. Berteau, president and CEO of the Professional Services Council. “The current backlog and wait times add risk to government missions, contract performance, and the ability of both the government and contractors to recruit and hire the talent we need. Enactment of the Modernizing the Trusted Workforce for the 21st Century Act will reduce these negative impacts while maintaining integrity in the system and better protecting our national security.”

“We deeply appreciate Senator Warner’s leadership on critical security clearance reform. For our members to attract and retain technology talent, we must seriously reduce the clearance cycle time. This is crucial for our ability to serve the nation effectively,” said Bobbie Kilberg, CEO of the Northern Virginia Technology Council. 

“While the security clearance backlog is slowly getting smaller, we need urgent steps to ensure the U.S. government and U.S. companies doing critical national security work can recruit, hire, and retain talented individuals to work on classified programs. AIA supports the Modernizing the Trusted Workforce for the 21st Century Act of 2018 as a positive step towards resolving the security clearance backlog and positioning us to employ the workforce essential to ensuring our security into the future," said Eric Fanning, President and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association.

The Modernizing the Trusted Workforce for the 21st Century Act would:

  • Hold the Executive Branch accountable for addressing the immediate crisis of the background investigation backlog and provide a plan for consolidating the National Background Investigation Bureau at the Department of Defense, as the Administration has committed to doing; 
  • Implement practical reforms so that we can design policies and timelines for clearances that reflect modern circumstances. Reforms must be implemented equally for all departments, and for personnel requiring a clearance, whether they are employed by the government or industry;
  • Strengthen oversight of the personnel vetting apparatus by codifying the Director of National Intelligence’s responsibilities as the Security Executive Agent; and
  • Promote innovation, including by analyzing how a determination of trust clearance can be tied to a person, not to an agency’s sponsorship.  The bill draws on provisions that were contained in the Intelligence Authorization Act unanimously reported out of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in June 2018.

Sen. Warner has been a strong voice on security clearance reform, urging the White House to prioritize reforms to the clearance process. The Intelligence Authorization Act that was unanimously by the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this year contains similar provisions found in this bill.

For more information on this bill, click here. The full text can be found here.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the below statement following the Canadian government’s arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei:

“There is ample evidence to suggest that no major Chinese company is independent of the Chinese government and Communist Party – and Huawei, which China’s government and military tout as a ‘national champion,’ is no exception. It has been clear for some time that Huawei, like ZTE, poses a threat to our national security. Now we know that Huawei, like ZTE, has violated U.S. sanctions law. It's my hope that the Trump Administration will hold Huawei fully accountable for breaking sanctions law, as it failed to do in the case of ZTE. 

“This is a reminder that we need to take seriously the risks of doing business with companies like Huawei and allowing them access to our markets. I continue to strongly urge our close ally Canada to reconsider Huawei’s inclusion in any aspect of its 5G infrastructure.” 

Sen. Warner, a former telecommunications executive and entrepreneur, has long expressed concerns about the risks to our national security posed by Chinese-controlled telecom companies.

On October 12, 2018, Sen. Warner and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urging his country to reconsider Huawei’s inclusion in any aspect of Canada’s 5G development, introduction, and maintenance.

In September, Sen. Warner joined several colleagues to introduce the ZTE Enforcement Review and Oversight (ZERO) Act. The bipartisan bill would enforce full compliance by ZTE—a Chinese state-directed telecommunications firm that repeatedly violated U.S. laws – with all probationary conditions outlined in a Commerce Department deal with the company that lifted a denial order banning the export of U.S. parts and components.

 

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WASHINGTON – In a letter to President Donald Trump, Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Mark Warner (D-Va.), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, expressed their serious concerns regarding the Administration’s expressed intention to pull the United States out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.  

“While we understand the challenges of getting Russia to reverse its violation of the INF Treaty, the Administration’s sudden decision to withdraw unilaterally is a political and geostrategic gift to Russia,” wrote the Senators. “It takes the focus away from Russia’s transgressions and malign behavior and instead feeds a narrative that the United States is willing to shred our commitments unilaterally without any strategic alternative.  Additionally, it allows Russia to expand the production and deployment of its intermediate range missile system, the 9M729, which will further menace Europe.  

The senators’ letter comes on the heels of a scheduled NATO Foreign Ministerial later this week, which presents the Trump administration with an opportunity to consult with European allies on the INF treaty and show the United States will not take unilateral steps to the detriment of European security and stability.  

“Moving forward, before taking steps to withdraw or suspend participation in the INF Treaty, we urge you and your administration to engage with Congress on the implications of this step for strategic stability and our relations with European and Asian allies,”concluded the Senators.

A copy of the letter can be found HERE and below.

 

The Honorable Donald J. Trump

President of the United States of America

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500

 

Dear Mr. President:

 

We write to you to express our serious concerns regarding your announced intention to pull the United States out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.  

 

Withdrawal from the INF Treaty, which has been a cornerstone of the European security architecture for over thirty years, was announced without any notice or consultations with the Senate, much less a path toward Senate advice and consent to the withdrawal.  This was despite multiple opportunities to explain the rationale for this decision, including a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on arms control and Russia held only a few weeks prior to your announcement.  In that hearing, senior officials from the Department of State and the Department of Defense provided no indication that a decision to withdraw was even imminent, nor that U.S. forces envisioned any military operational benefit from near-term withdrawal. 

 

We are concerned about Russia’s ongoing violation of the INF Treaty, and believe Russia must return to compliance and fulfil its obligations.  While we understand the challenges of getting Russia to reverse its violation of the INF Treaty, the Administration’s sudden decision to withdraw unilaterally is a political and geostrategic gift to Russia.  It takes the focus away from Russia’s transgressions and malign behavior and instead feeds a narrative that the United States is willing to shred our commitments unilaterally without any strategic alternative.  Additionally, it allows Russia to expand the production and deployment of its intermediate range missile system, the 9M729, which will further menace Europe.   

 

The United States withdrawal from the INF Treaty also threatens to exacerbate tension in relationships with our European allies, particularly those in NATO.    This decision, taken without coordination with foreign partners, once again shows an eagerness to take unnecessary unilateral actions over the objections of our closest allies to the serious detriment of European security and stability.  A spokesperson for EU High Representative Federica Mogherini condemned the U.S. withdrawal from INF noting “the world doesn’t need a new arms race that would benefit no one and on the contrary would bring even more instability.”  Other leaders from major European allies echoed these sentiments, expressing deep concern that in withdrawing from the INF Treaty the United States was moving toward an unconstrained nuclear arms race with Russia.

 

Given the lack of strategic forethought and planning apparent in the hasty decision to withdraw from the INF Treaty, we believe it is important for the U.S. government to re-emphasize the integral nature of effective arms control as a part of nuclear deterrence and strategic stability.   In fact, our nuclear defense planning and modernization programs are contingent on the arms control architecture the United States has diligently built over many decades.  The decision to withdraw from the INF Treaty suggests that you may take a similarly dangerous approach and renege on other key arms control agreements, such as New START, which would only serve to diminish international security further and potentially necessitate vast increases in nuclear spending.  We do not believe that the degradation of our arms control agreements that have provided strategic stability for decades serves U.S. security interests or those of our allies and partners.

 

Moving forward, before taking steps to withdraw or suspend participation in the INF Treaty, we urge you and your administration to engage with Congress on the implications of this step for strategic stability and our relations with European and Asian allies.  We also ask you to consider once again the importance of arms control within the context of U.S. and international security.

 

                                                                        Sincerely,

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Washington, DC – Top Senate and House Democrats today released a new letter to the Department of Justice’s Chief Ethics Official, Assistant Attorney General Lee J. Lofthus, in which they outline the number of serious ethical considerations that should preclude any involvement by President Trump’s handpicked Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker with the Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation, and that require Mr. Whitaker’s immediate recusal. In the letter, the Democrats also request that the Department of Justice’s chief ethics officer immediately notify them whether he has advised Mr. Whitaker to recuse himself from supervision of the special counsel’s investigation.

The letter, signed by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Vice Chairman Mark Warner, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Ranking Member Adam Schiff and House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, includes a number of examples of Mr. Whitaker’s many conflicts of interest and hostile statements toward Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation. These include Mr. Whitaker’s televised statement suggesting that the investigation be defunded or subjected to strict limitations on its scope, a published online opinion piece referring to the investigation as a witch hunt, and a statement in which he pre-judged the outcome of the investigation.

 

The full text of the Democrats’ letter can be found here and below: 

 

November 11, 2018

 

The Honorable Lee J. Lofthus
Assistant Attorney General for Administration 

  and Designated Agency Ethics Officer

Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.
Washington, DC 20530

 

Dear Assistant Attorney General Lofthus:

We are writing to you in your capacity as the Justice Department’s Designated Agency Ethics Official regarding the supervision of Special Counsel Robert Mueller by Mr. Mark Whitaker, the newly appointed Acting Attorney General.  There are serious ethical considerations that require Mr. Whitaker’s immediate recusal from any involvement with the Special Counsel investigation of the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.  

 

Mr. Whitaker has a history of hostile statements toward Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation, including televised statements suggesting that the investigation be defunded or subjected to strict limitations on its scope.  On June 9, 2017—not even a month after the Special Counsel was appointed—Mr. Whitaker stated on a radio show:  “There is no criminal obstruction of justice charge to be had here.  The evidence is weak.  No reasonable prosecutor would bring a case.”[1]

 

On July 26, 2017, Mr. Whitaker stated that he “could see a scenario where Jeff Sessions is replaced with a recess appointment and that attorney general doesn't fire Bob Mueller but he just reduces his budget so low that his investigations grinds to almost a halt.”[2]  Mr. Whitaker has also made reference to the Special Counsel investigation as “a mere witch hunt” and published an opinion article entitled “Mueller’s Investigation of Trump Is Going Too Far” in which he argued that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein should place limits on the scope of the investigation.[3]  He has even claimed publicly that “[t]he left is trying to sow this theory that essentially Russians interfered with the U.S. election. Which has been proven false. They did not have any impact in the election that is very clear from the Obama Administration.”[4]  This statement demonstrates plainly that Mr. Whitaker has pre-judged the outcome of the Special Counsel investigation.

In addition to his public criticism of the Special Counsel investigation, Mr. Whitaker appears to have troubling conflicts of interest that may also require his recusal from the investigation.  In 2014, Mr. Whitaker served as chairman of the campaign of Sam Clovis to be Iowa State Treasurer, and Mr. Whitaker and Mr. Clovis have reportedly remained in close contact.[5]  Mr. Clovis served as a national co-chairman of the Trump presidential campaign, and in that capacity supervised George Papadopoulos, the Trump foreign policy advisor who sought to set up a meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign, and who has pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI regarding his contacts with agents of the Russian government.[6] As you know, following advice from career Department ethics officials, Attorney General Sessions recused from the Special Counsel investigation given his senior role on the Trump campaign and a series of undisclosed contacts with Russian government officials.[7] 

The official supervising the Special Counsel investigation must be – in both fact and appearance – independent and impartial.  Regrettably, Mr. Whitaker’s statements indicate a clear bias against the investigation that would cause a reasonable person to question his impartiality.  Allowing a vocal opponent of the investigation to oversee it will severely undermine public confidence in the Justice Department’s work on this critically important matter.  Mr. Whitaker’s relationship with Mr. Clovis, who is a grand jury witness in the Special Counsel investigation, as well as Mr. Whitaker’s other entanglements, raise additional concerns about his ability to supervise the investigation independently and impartially.  

For these reasons, we request that you immediately notify us in writing regarding whether you, or any other ethics officials at the Justice Department, have advised Mr. Whitaker to recuse from supervision of the Special Counsel investigation, and the basis for that recommendation.  We also request that you provide us all ethics guidance the Department has provided to Mr. Whitaker to date.

Sincerely,

 

Charles E. Schumer

Democratic Leader

U.S. Senate

 

Nancy Pelosi

Democratic Leader

U.S. House of Representatives

 

Dianne Feinstein

Ranking Member

Committee on the Judiciary

U.S. Senate

 

Jerrold Nadler

Ranking Member

Committee on the Judiciary

U.S. House of Representatives

 

Mark R. Warner

Vice Chairman

Select Committee on Intelligence

U.S. Senate

 

Adam B. Schiff

Ranking Member

Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

U.S. House of Representatives

 

Elijah Cummings

Ranking Member

Committee on Oversight &

Government Reform

U.S. House of Representatives

 

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[1] The David Webb Show (June 9, 2017) (online at www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYQzupQzNOQ).

[2] CNN Tonight, CNN (July 26, 2017) (online at http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1707/26/cnnt.01.html).

[3] Matthew Whitaker, Mueller’s Investigation of Trump Is Going Too Far, CNN (Aug. 6, 2017) (online at www.cnn.com/2017/08/06/opinions/rosenstein-should-curb-mueller-whittaker-opinion/index.html).

[4] The Chosen Generation Radio Program (Mar. 3, 2017) (online at www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCA120DtAhI).

[5] See, e.g.Whitaker’s Friendship with Trump Aide Reignites Recusal Debate, Reuters (Nov. 8, 2018) (online at www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-whitaker/whitakers-friendship-with-trump-aide-reignites-recusal-debate-idUSKCN1ND2SN).

[6] Statement of the Offense, United States v. Papadopoulos (D.D.C. Oct. 5, 2017) (online at www.justice.gov/file/1007346/download).

[7] Attorney General Sessions Statement on Recusal, Department of Justice (Mar. 2, 2017) (online at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/attorney-general-sessions-statement-recusal).

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) has pressed the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) regarding recent reports documenting serious hazards in military housing at several bases in Virginia.

An investigation by Reuters revealed significant problems in base housing such as cockroaches, mice, mold and leaks, and described the difficulty that military families have encountered in getting the private management companies that own and operate the housing to address issues posing health hazards for families living in the homes. As part of its investigation, Reuters identified problems at several facilities across the country, including Fort Belvoir, Quantico, Oceana Naval Air Station, and other Hampton Roads naval bases. Most of the issues Reuters uncovered involved contractor Lincoln Military Housing, which manages 36,000 military family homes nationwide, including thousands of rental units in Hampton Roads.

In a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis addressing what the Senator termed “unacceptable conditions” in the homes, Warner demanded a briefing from the Defense Department on the current situation as well as a plan from DoD to ensure the safety of military families residing in private housing moving forward.

“The health and safety of our service members and their families are of the utmost importance. Our nation’s military families deserve safe and healthy housing.  It is imperative that you determine a plan to alleviate these issues in the coming weeks,” Sen. Warner wrote.

This isn’t the first time Sen. Warner has intervened on behalf of military families experiencing health hazards in military housing. Back in 2011, dozens of military families stationed in Norfolk described problems with the same contractor identified in Reuters’ recent report, Lincoln Military Housing. As now, the affected families – experiencing issues such as leaks, mold, and infestation – recounted major difficulties in getting the company or the Navy to  take the complaints seriously. After Sen. Warner got involved, however, Navy brass and Lincoln executives pledged to improve their responsiveness, and the company took steps to address mold and other hazards. 

“As a result, [Lincoln Military Housing] agreed to offer free mold inspection to any resident requesting the service, to hire an independent professional engineering firm to survey the conditions, to update training for maintenance teams and more; the Navy also committed to improving tracking tools and enhancing oversight of property management performance. But today it appears that these changes were insufficient or ignored,” Sen. Warner noted in this week’s letter to the Secretary of Defense

In August of this year, Sen. Warner – along with Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA), David Perdue (R-GA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) – alsopressed Secretary of the Army Mark Esper to address problems with lead poisoning affecting families at several Army bases around the country, including Fort Belvoir.

The full text of the letter appears below. A signed copy of Sen. Warner’s letter to Sec. Mattis is available here

 

The Honorable James N. Mattis

Secretary of Defense

U.S. Department of Defense

1000 Defense Pentagon

Washington, D.C. 20301

 

Dear Secretary Mattis:

 

I am writing to express my deep concern over a recent Reuters article alleging pervasive health hazards in private military housing across the country, including at Fort Belvoir, Oceana Naval Station, Quantico, and in additional areas in Hampton Roads Virginia. The article documents unacceptable conditions such as rodents and mold in housing and describes the difficulties military families face in ensuring these hazards are addressed by private real estate companies.

 

This is not the first time that unhealthy conditions in military housing have been documented. In November 2011, I was made aware of similar complaints regarding mold in private military housing in the Hampton Roads area in Virginia. Working with Navy officials and impacted military families, I strove to ensure that both the Navy and Lincoln Military Housing, a residential real estate management company responsible for the housing, implemented a plan to reduce these hazards. As a result, LMH agreed to offer free mold inspection to any resident requesting the service, to hire an independent professional engineering firm to survey the conditions, to update training for maintenance teams and more; the Navy also committed to improving tracking tools and enhancing oversight of property management performance. But today it appears that these changes were insufficient or ignored. 

 

In 2015, the Department of Defense’s own Inspector General expressed concerns about unsafe military housing, specifically related to Fort Belvoir and Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling. More recently, I was in touch with the U.S. Army regarding another Reuters article, alleging lead poisoning at a number of Army installations across the country.   

 

I ask that you provide our office with a detailed briefing as soon as possible outlining the immediate and long-term mitigation strategy to ensure military housing – both public and private – is safe and secure for our servicemembers and their families, and to provide legislative proposals or guidance on legislation needed to ensure that there is increased accountability for private companies. Please contact Caroline Wadhams in my office with questions. She can be reached at 202-224-2418.   

 

The health and safety of our servicemembers and their families are of the utmost importance. Our nation’s military families deserve safe and healthy housing.  It is imperative that you determine a plan to alleviate these issues in the coming weeks.

 

Thank you for your attention to this serious matter. I look forward to your timely response.

 

Sincerely,

Mark R. Warner

 

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the following statement on the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions:

“No one is above the law and any effort to interfere with the Special Counsel’s investigation would be a gross abuse of power by the President. While the President may have the authority to replace the Attorney General, this must not be the first step in an attempt to impede, obstruct or end the Mueller investigation.

“Senators from both parties have repeatedly affirmed their support for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Every one of them should speak out now and deliver a clear message to the President that the Special Counsel’s investigation must continue without interference.”  

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the following statement after a state-owned enterprise of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), a Taiwan company, and three individuals were indicted for a conspiracy to steal trade secrets from the American semiconductor company Micron:

“The reciprocal trading system that has existed between the U.S. and China can endure only on the basis of mutual respect for the rule of law, including fair trials and the enforcement of property rights. The Chinese government’s complicity in intellectual property theft hurts American manufacturers, workers, and consumers, and undermines the ability of U.S. businesses to operate in China. The Administration has powerful, targeted tools at its disposal to hold bad actors accountable for theft of U.S. companies’ IP and trade secrets, even when the theft takes place abroad. I applaud the Department of Justice for using one of those tools today to hold China accountable, and encourage the Administration to take additional steps to crack down on economic espionage by Chinese businesses and the Chinese government.”

 

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Committee, urged Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to reconsider Huawei’s inclusion in any aspect of Canada’s 5G development, introduction, and maintenance. A letter from the two Senators to the Prime Minister follows comments made by Head-Designee of the Canadian Center for Cyber Security Scott Jones regarding Huawei. 

The entry of Chinese state-directed telecommunications companies like Huawei into the Canadian market could seriously jeopardize the relationship between U.S. and Canadian carriers, depriving North American operators of the scale needed to rapidly build out 5G networks.

The full text of the letter is below. A copy of the signed letter is available here. 

 

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau:

 

We write with grave concerns about the possibility that Canada might include Huawei Technologies or any other Chinese state-directed telecommunications company in its fifth-generation (5G) telecommunications network infrastructure.  As you are aware, Huawei is not a normal private-sector company.  There is ample evidence to suggest that no major Chinese company is independent of the Chinese government and Communist Party—and Huawei, which China’s government and military tout as a “national champion,” is no exception.

 

Based on what we know about Chinese state-directed telecommunications companies, it was troubling to learn that on September 20, 2018, the new Head-Designee of the Canadian Center for Cyber Security Scott Jones told the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security that banning Huawei is not needed, in response to a question about why Canada has not come out against Huawei as other Five Eyes allies have.  Specifically, he claimed that Canada has “a very advanced relationship with our telecommunications providers, something that is different from most other countries,” adding, “We have a program that is very deep in terms of working on increasing that broader resilience piece especially as we are looking at the next-generation telecommunications networks.”

 

In contrast to Mr. Scott’s comments, however, three former senior Canadian national security officials warned earlier this year against the inclusion of Huawei in Canada’s 5G network.  One of them—Mr. Ward Elcock, former Deputy Minister of National Defence—told the Globe and Mail on March 18, 2018, “I have a pretty good idea of how signal-intelligence agencies work and the rules under which they work and their various operations,” concluding that, “I would not want to see Huawei equipment being incorporated into a 5G network in Canada.”

 

While Canada has strong telecommunications security safeguards in place, we have serious concerns that such safeguards are inadequate given what the United States and other allies know about Huawei.  Indeed, we are concerned about the impact that any decision to include Huawei in Canada’s 5G networks will have on both Canadian national security and “Five Eyes” joint intelligence cooperation among the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.  As you know, Australia effectively banned Huawei, ZTE, and other Chinese state-directed companies from its nation’s 5G networks by excluding firms that “are likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government” and therefore pose unacceptable risks to national security.  Moreover, the United Kingdom’s Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre Oversight Board’s 2018 annual report to Britain’s national security adviser found that “identification of shortcomings in Huawei’s engineering processes have exposed new risks in the UK telecommunications networks and long-term challenges to mitigation and management.”

 

Further, the strong alignment between the United States and Canada in spectrum management has meant that American and Canadian carriers in many cases share complementary spectrum holdings, jointly benefiting from economies of scale for equipment designed for regionally harmonized frequencies. The entry of suppliers such as Huawei into the Canadian market could seriously jeopardize this dynamic, depriving both Canadian and American operators of the scale needed to rapidly build out 5G networks.

 

Given the strong statements by former Canadian national security officials as well as similar concerns out of the U.S., Australia, and the United Kingdom, we hope that you will reconsider Huawei’s inclusion in any aspect of Canada’s 5G development, introduction, and maintenance.  Should you have any questions about the threat that Chinese state-directed telecommunications firms pose to your networks, we urge your government to seek additional information from the U.S. Intelligence Community.

 

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

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Washington, D.C. - Today, Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), joined by 20 of their colleagues, sent a bipartisan, bicameral letter urging President Trump to raise Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance with the governments of Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Khashoggi, a Virginia resident and distinguished journalist, has been missing since October 2nd when he was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. According to some reports, Mr. Khashoggi may have been murdered.   

“These conflicting reports and rampant speculation that he was murdered demand immediate answers from both Saudi Arabia and Turkey. We urge you to extend support from all appropriate U.S. federal agencies, such as the FBI, to these governments to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation of Mr. Khashoggi’s case,” the Members wrote

“We sincerely hope that Mr. Khashoggi emerges unharmed and is free to return safely to the United States, especially given the growing and deeply troubling trend of targeting journalists and oppositionists, not only in Saudi Arabia and Turkey, but around the world,” the Members added. “The U.S. must speak out loudly wherever and whenever this occurs.”

Connolly, Kaine, and Warner were joined on the letter by Representatives Beyer, Castro, Chabot, Cicilline, Delbene, Deutch, Dingell, Engel, Espaillat, Hastings, Lieu, McCaul, Meadows, Meeks, Price, Raskin, Schneider, Sherman, Sires, and Suozzi.

The full letter follows and is available here.

 

 

October 9, 2018

 

The President

The White House

Washington, DC 20500

 

Dear Mr. President,

 

We write to urge you to personally raise the issue of Virginia resident Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance and welfare with the governments of Saudi Arabia and Turkey. We also request that you offer U.S. support to any independent investigation into his disappearance.

 

As you know, Mr. Khashoggi is an internationally renowned journalist and columnist for the Washington Post. In fact, Mr. Khashoggi was granted an O-1 visa, which is reserved for those with “extraordinary ability in the fields of science, education, business or athletics…indicating that the person is one of the small percentage who has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.”

 

On October 2, 2018, Mr. Khashoggi visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in order to obtain paperwork related to his upcoming marriage. Reportedly, there has been no confirmation that he departed the consulate though Saudi officials maintain that Mr. Khashoggi did so shortly after he visited.  According to President Erdogan, the Justice Ministry and the chief prosecutor in Istanbul are undertaking an investigation into Mr. Khashoggi’s whereabouts. 

 

These conflicting reports and rampant speculation that he was murdered demand immediate answers from both Saudi Arabia and Turkey. We urge you to extend support from all appropriate U.S. federal agencies, such as the FBI, to these governments to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation of Mr. Khashoggi’s case. We sincerely hope that Mr. Khashoggi emerges unharmed and is free to return safely to the United States, especially given the growing and deeply troubling trend of targeting journalists and oppositionists, not only in Saudi Arabia and Turkey, but around the world. The U.S. must speak out loudly wherever and whenever this occurs. 

 

Best Regards,

 

 

WASHINGTON – Today, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) released the following joint statement on the Department of Justice’s indictment of seven Russian GRU officers for international hacking and disinformation operations:

“Today’s charges further highlight the illegal and aggressive tactics Russia uses to undermine international institutions and wage disinformation campaigns. In recent years, Russia has reportedly hacked or attempted to hack democratic elections, the Olympics, the power grid in Ukraine, and now the international organization that investigates the illegal use of chemical weapons. As Justice Department officials stated today, these actions are part of a criminal conspiracy and are wholly unacceptable. We commend the Department of Justice and our Dutch and British allies on the steps they’ve taken to hold Russia accountable. Collectively, we will continue to combat Russia’s illegal activities and make clear that this reckless and belligerent behavior will not be tolerated.”

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WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Chris Coons (D-Del.) led a letter of 34 Democratic Senators to President Trump to express strong opposition to his decision to cut more than $500 million in aid to the Palestinian people – funding that was passed into law to provide clean water, food, education, and critical medical services to families in the West Bank and Gaza. 

“We are deeply concerned that your strategy of attempting to force the Palestinian Authority to the negotiating table by withholding humanitarian assistance from women and children is misguided and destined to backfire. Your proposed cuts would undermine those who seek a peaceful resolution and strengthen the hands of Hamas and other extremists in the Gaza Strip, as the humanitarian crisis there worsens,” the Senators wrote. 

They continued, “For these reasons, we strongly believe it is in the national security interest of the United States, our ally Israel, the Palestinian people, and our other partners and allies in the region to expeditiously obligate the FY17 Economic Support Fund assistance originally planned for the West Bank and Gaza and to sustain U.S. contributions to UNRWA. We urge you to reverse your decision and look forward to your prompt response.” 

Working with United States Agency for International Development’s implementing partners, Senator Van Hollen’s office has prepared a snapshot of programs and partnerships impacted by these cuts in funding that can be found here

In addition to Senators Van Hollen, Feinstein, and Coons, the letter was signed by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Patricia Murray (D-Wash.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.Y.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tom Udall (D-Colo.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and Gary Peters (D-Mich.).

 

The full text of the letter is available below and here.

 

 

Dear President Trump:

 

We write in strong opposition to your decision to cut some $200 million in Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) Economic Support Fund assistance originally planned for the West Bank and Gaza and to end U.S. contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), including more than $300 million in assistance this fiscal year. Eliminating funds for programs that provide clean water, food, education, and medical services for Palestinians will exacerbate poverty, fuel extremism, further reduce the chance of a future peace agreement and threaten Israel’s security. Both the FY17 and FY18 funds were approved by the Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support—a recognition among Republicans and Democrats alike that these programs are in the U.S. national interest. We urge you to reverse course and obligate these funds as Congress originally intended. 

 

By law, U.S. foreign assistance cannot be directed to the Palestinian Authority or Hamas. Instead, Congress has appropriated funds to provide assistance directly to the Palestinian people, including millions of children in the Palestinian territories. The cuts you have proposed would make a desperate situation even worse.

 

Specifically, according to the organizations implementing USAID-funded programs in the West Bank and Gaza, these cuts will prevent:

  • nearly 140,000 individuals from receiving emergency food aid;
  • 3,000 children and their caregivers from receiving healthcare for anemia and malnutrition;
  • up to 71,000 individuals from receiving access to clean water;
  • 800 children from receiving rehabilitation services for cerebral palsy; and,
  • 16,000 women from receiving clinical breast cancer treatment.

 

In addition, your decision to end U.S. contributions to UNRWA puts at risk:

  • civilian, secular education for 525,000 kids, 50 percent of which are girls, in more than 700 schools;
  • food assistance to one million residents in Gaza, half of its population; and,
  • public health in the refugee population, where UNRWA has long achieved a 100 percent vaccination rate.

 

We are deeply concerned that your strategy of attempting to force the Palestinian Authority to the negotiating table by withholding humanitarian assistance from women and children is misguided and destined to backfire. Your proposed cuts would undermine those who seek a peaceful resolution and strengthen the hands of Hamas and other extremists in the Gaza Strip, as the humanitarian crisis there worsens. 

 

For these reasons, we strongly believe it is in the national security interest of the United States, our ally Israel, the Palestinian people, and our other partners and allies in the region to expeditiously obligate the FY17 Economic Support Fund assistance originally planned for the West Bank and Gaza and to sustain U.S. contributions to UNRWA. We urge you to reverse your decision and look forward to your prompt response.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and co-chair of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus, released the following statement on the White House’s National Cyber Strategy:

“There is not one sector of American society, public or private, that has escaped the threat posed by malicious cyber actors. The entertainment industry, federal, state and local governments, hospitals, and the banking sector – to name just a few examples – have all suffered from major cyber incursions in recent years. Given the scale and frequency of these attacks, and the urgency of the challenge, I have been calling for some time for a national cyber strategy to build resiliency and deter adversaries.

“The White House strategy document outlines a number of important and well-established cyber priorities. We need to focus on growing the cyber workforce, promoting more secure development and security across product lifecycle, establishing norms of responsible state behavior, leveraging federal procurement power to drive better security, and publicly attributing and punishing adversaries who violate those standards. The Administration must now move beyond vague policy proposals and into concrete action towards achieving those goals.”


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Washington, D.C. – Today, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) sent a letter to Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray expressing serious concerns about the implications of President Trump’s decision to declassify and disclose highly classified information related to the Special Counsel’s investigation and the involvement of the White House Counsel in the process. The Members also requested an immediate “Gang of Eight” briefing from the agency heads prior to any disclosure.

In the letter, the Members write: “The action [President Trump] has taken, to direct your agencies to selectively disclose classified information that he believes he can manipulate publicly to undermine the legitimacy and credibility of the Special Counsel’s investigation, is a brazen abuse of power. Any decision by your offices to share this material with the President or his lawyers will violate longstanding Department of Justice policies, as well as assurances you have provided to us.”

Pelosi, Schumer, Schiff and Warner previously wrote to Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and Director Wray on June 5 and June 27, and to Director Coats on July 12. The full letter is below:

 
* * *
 
September 18, 2018
 
The Honorable Daniel Coats
Director
Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Washington, D.C.  20511
 
The Honorable Rod J. Rosenstein
Deputy Attorney General of the United States
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest
Washington, D.C.  20530
 
The Honorable Christopher Wray
Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest
Washington, D.C.  20535
 
Dear Director Coats, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, and Director Wray:
 
We write to express profound alarm at President Donald Trump’s decision on September 17, 2018 to intervene in an ongoing law enforcement investigation that may implicate the President himself or those around him. The action he has taken, to direct your agencies to selectively disclose classified information that he believes he can manipulate publicly to undermine the legitimacy and credibility of the Special Counsel’s investigation, is a brazen abuse of power. Any decision by your offices to share this material with the President or his lawyers will violate longstanding Department of Justice policies, as well as assurances you have provided to us. 
 
On June 5, 2018, we first wrote to Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and Director Wray to express deep concern that the President and his legal team sought to abuse the President’s power to interfere with the Special Counsel’s ongoing investigation and undermine the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation’s lawful and appropriate activities. We underscored that providing the White House and the President’s lawyers access to classified information and investigatory material of the utmost sensitivity – including information related to the Special Counsel’s investigation that implicates the President’s own campaign and associates – would grossly violate our system of checks and balances, fundamental norms, and long-standing, well-founded, and established procedure. Absent an indictment, moreover, the subjects of federal investigation should not be able to access law enforcement or related national security information for any reason. 
 
On June 27, 2018, we wrote again to memorialize the verbal assurance you provided us that DOJ and FBI would not provide the White House or any of the President’s attorneys with access to sensitive information briefed to a small group of designated Members. 
 
On July 12, 2018, we also wrote to Director Coats to express alarm that this information was being made more broadly available within the Congress, in direct contravention of your assurances. In this letter, we noted that during our meetings with all of you on these sensitive matters we discussed at great length the importance of protecting sources and methods and ongoing investigations. As you recall, all of the meetings’ attendees agreed that the information discussed was among the most sensitive type of information and should be protected accordingly. Director Coats’ July 13, 2018 written response to our letter, moreover, underscored his agreement that protecting sources and methods must be a top concern.
 
Pursuant to the President’s order, announced yesterday evening in a White House press statement, DOJ stated publicly that a declassification review process has been triggered, that DOJ and FBI are “already working with the Director of National Intelligence,” and that this review would be “conducted by various agencies within the intelligence community, in conjunction with the White House Counsel […].” The involvement of the White House Counsel, or any component of the White House, is highly improper and profoundly troubling. President Trump and the White House should not be given access to any sensitive law enforcement or national security information related to an ongoing federal investigation examining conduct by the President, his campaign, or his associates.
 
In light of the assurances you provided, we request an immediate briefing to the Gang of Eight from you  prior to any disclosure of the affected material by your agencies to anyone at the White House. Among other issues of concern, we will need you to clarify in person:
 
  • the exact review process that will be undertaken, including the White House’s role in and visibility into this process and the specific White House officials expected to be involved;
  • your agencies’ proposed redactions and plans to protect investigative equities and sources and methods, including efforts to mitigate harm that may result from these disclosures; and
  • how you intend to comply with statutes binding on the President and executive branch officers and employees, including the Privacy Act.
 
Your agencies’ review, and any communication with the White House on the substance of the material, should not proceed further until you have briefed the Gang of Eight in person.
 
Thank you for your immediate attention and we appreciate meeting as soon as possible.
 
Sincerely,
 
NANCY PELOSI
House Democratic Leader
CHUCK SCHUMER
Senate Democratic Leader
ADAM SCHIFF
Ranking Member, House Intelligence Committee 
MARK WARNER
Vice Chairman, Senate Intelligence Committee 

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) applauded congressional passage of bipartisan legislation to fund federal programs and build new military construction and facilities under the Department of Veteran Affairs (V-A), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Department of Defense (DoD).

The conference report to accompany the Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations package that covers funding for energy and water development, military construction and veterans affairs (MilCon-V-A), the legislative branch, and all of their related agencies, passed in both chambers and now heads to the President’s desk for signature. 

“We are proud to have worked with our colleagues on a bipartisan funding agreement that upholds our promise to our nation’s veterans,” said the Senators. “Although the President has threatened to pull funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission time and time again, this legislation will continue to support this critical federal partnership to boost economic opportunity in Southwest Virginia. Additionally, this bill provides necessary funding for military maintenance, construction of new military facilities, and makes new investments to support research and development at J-Lab.”

The following list includes many of the provisions Sens. Warner and Kaine advocated for on behalf of Virginia that were included in the final appropriations package: 

Appalachian Regional Commission: Following President Trump’s attempts to defund ARC, the bill fully funds this successful federal-state partnership by providing $165 million to continue its efforts to increase employment and economic opportunities for those living in Appalachia, strengthen and maintain the region’s infrastructure, and provide additional educational and workforce opportunities for citizens of Appalachia so that they can compete in a 21st century global economy.

Military Construction: Provides more than $131 million in new construction throughout the Commonwealth. 

  • Joint Base Langley-Eustis: Funds nearly $23 million on three projects at the base.
  • Forts A.P. and Belvoir: Receive nearly $18 million to build new training facilities.
  • Portsmouth Ship Maintenance: Provides $26 million for a ship maintenance shop in Portsmouth, Virginia. 

Both Senators advocated for these projects, and more, when the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act passed the Senate.

Veterans Affairs: Provides $86.4 billion in funding for the V-A, an increase of $5 billion above fiscal year 2018. The bill would increase funding to several Veteran Health Administration priority areas, including $1.1 billion for electronic health record modernization and $8.6 billion to increase mental health services for veterans. It includes $1.8 billion for homelessness programs like the Supportive Services for Veterans and Families program, which provides assistance to homeless veterans; $206 million to increase suicide prevention outreach; $78 billion to help provide high-quality and timely health care services to veterans; $174 million to improve the veteran appeals process; and more than doubles FY18 funds to provide $1.8 billion for the construction of new V-A medical facilities.

Jefferson Lab Nuclear Physics Research: Provides $615 million for nuclear physics research within the Department of Energy’s Office of Science in order to fulfill DOE’s Long Range Plan for Nuclear Science. The funds will enable scientists at labs across the country, including at Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, VA, to engage in critical research that will maintain U.S. leadership and preeminence in this field.

Hampton Roads Infrastructure:

  • Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Projects: Provides $2.18 billion for construction of water infrastructure projects and $3.74 billion for operations and maintenance of existing infrastructure related to harbor maintenance, flood and storm damage control, and aquatic ecosystem restoration. Total funding for the Corps of Engineers is $171 million above the FY2018 enacted level and $2.2 billion above the President’s budget request. 
  • Donor and Energy Transfer Ports: Provides $50 million to ensure that ports like the Port of Virginia receive equitable levels of funding to reinvest in and modernize their infrastructure. 
  • North Landing Bridge: Provides $1.6 million for the Army Corps of Engineers to continue studying the feasibility of replacing the federally-owned North Landing Bridge, which connects Chesapeake, VA, and Virginia Beach, VA. Two years ago, Warner and Kaine were instrumental in securing federal funding to replace a similar Army Corps asset, the Deep Creek Bridge, which was a safety hazard and regional traffic bottleneck.
  • Norfolk Harbor: Includes $300,000 to conclude the study phase of – and advance to construction – the deepening and widening of navigation channels in Norfolk Harbor and tributaries, which will allow the largest deep-draft container ships to call on the Port of Virginia. This project, in concert with the expansion and new marine terminal at the Craney Island Dredged Material Management Area (CIDMMA), will be a generational investment in the infrastructure and economic competitiveness of the Port of Virginia.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and a member of the Senate Banking Committee, released the following statement after President Trump signed an executive order “Imposing Certain Sanctions in the Event of Foreign Interference in a United States Election”: 

“In order to deter foreign interference in future elections, we must make it clear to Russia and other adversaries that interference is unacceptable, and will have painful consequences. 

“Unfortunately, President Trump demonstrated in Helsinki and elsewhere that he simply cannot be counted upon to stand up to Putin when it matters. While the Administration has yet to share the full text, an executive order that inevitably leaves the President broad discretion to decide whether to impose tough sanctions against those who attack our democracy is insufficient.

“If we are going to actually deter Russia and others from interfering in our elections in the future, we need to spell out strong, clear consequences, without ambiguity. We remain woefully underprepared to secure the upcoming elections, and an executive order is simply no substitute for congressional action, such as the strong measures included in the bipartisan DETER Act.”

Sen. Warner is a co-sponsor of the Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines (DETER) Act.


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WASHINGTON— Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) wrote to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to offer assistance in protecting military facilities and personnel in Virginia ahead of Hurricane Florence. Virginia has a significant footprint for each of the branches of our nation’s military and is home to Naval Station Norfolk, the largest naval complex in the world. This week, the station warned its employees about the possibility of flooding and urged them not to leave their vehicles parked at the base during the storm.  

“As sea levels rise, these installations in particular have faced increased frequency and severity of flooding in recent years. Given the critical role that Hampton Roads military installations play in supporting our nation’s security, we ask that you keep us apprised of any assistance you may need to ensure the safety of servicemembers and their families, installations, and infrastructure, and to swiftly address any potential damage resulting from the storm. We look forward to working with you to ensure that the military is able to quickly recover following Hurricane Florence,” wrote the Senators in a letter to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

On September 8, 2018, Gov. Northam declared a state of emergency in Virginia in preparation for Hurricane Florence, which is projected to have a significant impact on the Commonwealth in the coming days. On Monday, Sens. Warner and Kaine led the Virginia congressional delegation in a letter calling on President Trump to support the Governor’s request to issue a federal emergency declaration ahead of the storm.

The full text of the letter can be found here and below:

The Honorable James N. Mattis
Secretary of Defense
U.S. Department of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301

Dear Secretary Mattis,

As Hurricane Florence strengthens in the Atlantic on its projected path toward the East Coast, we write to offer our assistance and support as  the Department of Defense takes the appropriate steps to ensure the safety of its personnel and infrastructure in Virginia. Our state hosts significant footprints for each of the branches of our nation’s military, and is home to the largest naval complex in the world, Naval Station Norfolk.

In preparation for the storm, the Commonwealth of Virginia has declared a state of emergency, and has requested Federal support in dealing with potential emergency response. Additionally, we understand that the Navy has ordered Sortie Condition Alpha, meaning ships from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek and Naval Station Norfolk will be getting underway to avoid the worst of the storm. We are grateful for the steps the Department of Defense has taken so far.

As sea levels rise, these installations in particular have faced increased frequency and severity of flooding in recent years. Given the critical role that Hampton Roads military installations play in supporting our nation’s security, we ask that you keep us apprised of any assistance you may need to ensure the safety of servicemembers and their families, installations, and infrastructure, and to swiftly address any potential damage resulting from the storm.

We look forward to working with you to ensure that the military is able to quickly recover following Hurricane Florence. Thank you again for your preparation on this critical effort.

Sincerely,

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, today released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Justice filed charges against a North Korean spy in connection with the 2014 cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment and the 2017 Wannacry ransomware attack:

“This indictment is the result of years of hard work by the FBI and the Department of Justice, and it is an important step in making clear to our adversaries that these kinds of criminal activities are unacceptable. It also points to the need for a clearly thought-out and articulated strategy for deterring and punishing state-sponsored cyberattacks.”


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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the following statement today after Facebook announced that it had removed 652 fraudulent Iranian-backed pages, groups, and accounts from Facebook and Instagram — as well as a number of pages, groups, and accounts linked to Russian military intelligence from Facebook. This announcement comes just weeks ahead of the September 5th open hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee with the leadership of Facebook, Twitter, and Google on the subject of social media manipulation.

“This is further evidence that foreign adversaries are actively using social media to divide Americans and undermine our democratic institutions. I’ve been saying for months that there’s no way the problem of social media manipulation is limited to a single troll farm in St. Petersburg, and that fact is now beyond a doubt. We also learned today that the Iranians are now following the Kremlin’s playbook from 2016. While I’m encouraged to see Facebook taking steps to rid their platforms of these bad actors, there’s clearly more work to be done. I look forward to questioning the leadership of Facebook, Twitter, and Google about this at the Intelligence Committee’s hearing on September 5th.

 

 

 

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, filed anamendment to the defense appropriations bill to prohibit President Trump from abusing the security clearance process to punish his critics. 

“President Trump’s actions over the last week are beyond outrageous. His tactics are reminiscent of another president who abused his office to settle scores and punish critics. By revoking or threatening to revoke the security clearances of former intelligence officials who have criticized his conduct in office, President Trump is setting an extremely dangerous precedent. He’s using the powers of his office in an attempt to intimidate and silence his opponents, and he is politicizing a process that is, by design, supposed to be non-partisan and apolitical,” said Sen. Warner today.  

Sen. Warner offered an amendment to the defense appropriations bill currently under debate on the Senate floor prohibiting the use of federal funds to revoke an individual’s security clearance, except in accordance with Part 147 of title 32, Code of Federal Regulations, and Executive Orders 12968 and 13467 as in effect on August 15, 2018 – the day President Trump revoked John Brennan’s security clearance. Text of the amendment is available here. 

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), David Perdue (R-GA), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) sent a letter to the Secretary of the Army raising concerns over a recent report about lead poisonings and dangerous lead levels in housing on U.S. Army installations, endangering military families. 

“We write to you today concerned about recent reports of lead poisoning at a number of Army installations. The health and safety of our servicemembers and their families are of the utmost importance,” the Senators said. 

While the sale of lead-based paint is banned in the United States, many older homes still have the old paint on walls, which can become dangerous to children as it peels and chips. Young children are most susceptible to lead poisoning and face long-term developmental delays.

The report highlights cases of lead poisoning at on-base housing at Fort Benning, Georgia; Fort Polk, Louisiana; Fort Hood and Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Knox, Kentucky; and a 2015 Department of Defense IG report that found lead paint hazards at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia. In the letter, the Senators ask Army Secretary Mark Esper to provide a detailed briefing about what the Army is doing to keep military families safe and what they need from Congress to address this problem. 

“We ask that you provide our offices with a detailed briefing as soon as possible outlining the immediate and long-term mitigation strategy to keep military families safe, provide medical treatment for those potentially or previously affected, make long-lasting repairs, and finally, provide legislative proposals or guidance on legislation needed to hold maintenance contractors accountable,” the Senators concluded.

 

The full text of the letter can be found here and below.

 

Dear Secretary Esper,

 

We write to you today concerned about recent reports of lead poisoning at a number of Army installations. The health and safety of our servicemembers and their families are of the utmost importance. 

 

A recent Reuters report highlighted cases of lead poisoning at on-base housing at Fort Benning, Georgia; Fort Polk, Louisiana; Fort Hood and Fort Bliss, Texas; and Fort Knox, Kentucky. This follows a 2015 DoD inspector general report that found significant lead paint hazards at Ft. Belvoir in Virginia. At Fort Benning, Reuters conducted tests at five homes using methodology designed with a Columbia University geochemist. All five homes contained hazardous levels of deteriorating lead paint with one home far exceeding the federal threshold. Fort Knox contained levels 100 times the federal threshold.  According to Reuters, records from Brooks Army Medical Center in Texas show that from 2011 to 2016 more than 1,050 small children on bases nationwide tested positive for traces of lead higher than the Centers of Disease Control’s elevated threshold.  The report also raises concerns that the Army has discouraged certified testing to identify deteriorating lead paint in base homes and that base hospitals have not properly reported incidents of children with high lead tests to state health departments. 

 

As the report points out, these on-base homes, managed and operated largely through private partnerships, are putting families and children at risk.  We ask that you provide our offices with a detailed briefing as soon as possible outlining the immediate and long-term mitigation strategy to keep military families safe, provide medical treatment for those potentially or previously affected, make long-lasting repairs, and finally, provide legislative proposals or guidance on legislation needed to hold maintenance contractors accountable.

 

Sincerely,

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine praised Marine Hydraulics International, Inc. in Norfolk for receiving $505,617 in federal funding to purchase rolling stock, forklifts, quay wall, and support operations.

“We are pleased that with this federal funding Marine Hydraulics will be able to purchase new equipment that can support their day-to-day operations and help the world’s largest naval station right here in Norfolk maintain the world-class fleet that keeps our country safe,” the Senators said.

The funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD)’s Small Shipyard Grant Program. This grant program helps support shipyards as they modernize operations, invest in emerging technologies, and improve efficiency. In a letter to the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Warner and Kaine called for strong funding to support the Small Shipyard Grant Program.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) issued the following statement to mark the one-year anniversary of the deadly rally in Charlottesville, Va. on August 11-12, 2017 that claimed the lives of Heather Heyer, Lt. Jay Cullen, and Trooper-Pilot Berke Bates:

“Today we remember the lives lost following the deadly rally that occurred a year ago in Charlottesville, when a group of white nationalists came to a peaceful Virginia town seeking to use hate and division to incite violence against fair-minded, innocent civilians. Their words and their actions betrayed President Lincoln’s appeal to ‘the better angels of our nature,’ forcing us to confront some of the demons that still plague our society today. These purveyors of hate and bigotry were emboldened to take their message public by a President who has refused to categorically and unequivocally condemn their message and actions in clear terms.

“Let us take a moment today to celebrate and honor the lives of Heather Heyer, Lt. Jay Cullen, and Trooper-Pilot Berke Bates. As we honor their memories, we must also continue to heal the racial wounds of our past. We must show that what sets us apart as citizens of this country are our values of respect, openness, and tolerance towards one another. Without that, we cannot fulfill the promise of a more perfect union.”

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