House Intel chair requests details on suppressed climate change testimony

House Intel chair requests details on suppressed climate change testimony

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is requesting details and interviews following reports that the White House suppressed the written testimony of a State Department official about the effects of climate change on national security.

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffDemocrats see John Bolton as potential star witness Top State Department official arrives for testimony in impeachment probe The Hill's Morning Report - Trump grapples with Turkey controversy MORE (D-Calif.) wrote a letter to the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) on Tuesday seeking more details about the reported changes to analyst Rod Schoonover's testimony before Congress last week.

“The circumstances surrounding the absence of Dr. Schoonover's written statement for the record (SFR) — including troubling public reports describing those circumstances published in the days since the open hearing — have left the Committee with deep concern that officials within the Executive Office of the President sought to suppress for political reasons Dr. Schoonover's and State INR's objective analysis about this urgent national security issue,” Schiff wrote in his letter to Assistant Secretary of State Ellen McCarthy.

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Schoonover, a senior analyst in the Office of the Geographer and Global Issues within the State Department, testified before the Intelligence Committee last week.

A Washington Post report later said that the Trump administration protested his prepared written testimony before the panel, inserting deletions and criticizing his remarks as climate propaganda.

Schoonover’s draft testimony included comments from the White House’s National Security Council, which criticized how he characterized global warming threats.

“This is not objective testimony at all,” read one comment, according to a draft obtained by The New York Times. “It includes lots of climate alarm propaganda that is not science at all. I am embarrassed to have this go out on behalf of the executive branch of the Federal Government.”

Schoonover, a former professor of chemistry and biochemistry at California Polytechnic State University, was given permission to appear before the House panel but was not allowed to submit his office’s statement for the record. He ultimately did not submit his testimony to the committee, an aide told the Post.

Schiff called the reporting on the edits to the testimony “disturbing revelations.” He asked for an interview with McCarthy, who heads the INR, and asked to be provided with documents related to the written testimony that was never sent to his committee. He also asked for all communications between the INR and personnel from the president's office — including edits and comments — regarding the hearing.

“These reports raise profound concerns that White House officials abused the interagency process in an effort to manipulate, remove, and ultimately suppress the independent, objective analysis State INR planned to present before the Committee on a matter of national urgency," he wrote.