Exclusive: GOP senators seek FBI investigation into Biden Pentagon nominee

A group of 18 Republican senators on Tuesday wrote to FBI Director Christopher Wray seeking an investigation into President BidenJoe BidenSchumer vows to advance two-pronged infrastructure plan next month Biden appoints veteran housing, banking regulator as acting FHFA chief Iran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says 'nothing is agreed' MORE's nominee for a top role in the Pentagon over whether he disclosed or solicited classified information after leaving his government job in the Obama administration.

The senators requested Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats urge Biden to extend moratorium on student loan payments White House draws ire of progressives amid voting rights defeat Murkowski to vote 'no' on voting rights bill MORE (D-N.Y.) not advance the nomination of Colin Kahl for under secretary of Defense policy for a full vote until the FBI has completed an investigation, according to a copy of the letter obtained exclusively by The Hill.

Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), who led the letter-writing effort, accused Kahl of using social media to disclose classified information.


"These disclosures are extremely concerning and warrant a complete FBI investigation to determine the full scope of the nominee’s mishandling of sensitive national security information, apparently for his own perceived political gain," Hagerty said in a statement to The Hill.

Hagerty and Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonJoint Chiefs chairman clashes with GOP on race theory, 'white rage' Senate Republicans: Newly proposed ATF rules could pave way for national gun registry Jon Stewart shows late-night conformity cabal how political comedy is done MORE (R-Ark.) led the effort to write the letter, and 16 other Republican senators signed on, including Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense: Joint Chiefs warn against sweeping reform to military justice system | Senate panel plans July briefing on war authorization repeal | National Guard may have 'training issues' if not reimbursed Senate panel plans July briefing on war authorization repeal Rising violent crime poses new challenge for White House MORE (Fla.), John CornynJohn CornynSenators say White House aides agreed to infrastructure 'framework' Cornyn calls on Biden and Harris to visit southern border: 'Y'all come visit' Progressive groups launch .5M ad buy to pressure Sinema on filibuster MORE (Texas), Mike BraunMichael BraunIU parents protest school's vaccine mandates Rick Scott introduces bill banning 'vaccine passports' for domestic flights Braun-McConnell bill would protect Americans from IRS surveillance MORE (Ind.), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzNew Jersey governor tweaks Cruz on Cancun over moving truck quip Hirono tells Ted Cruz to stop 'mansplaining' Senate Republicans: Newly proposed ATF rules could pave way for national gun registry MORE (Texas), Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyFlorida hackers change highway sign to read 'Arrest Fauci' Majority of Republicans thinks critical race theory negatively affects society: poll Harris casts tiebreaking vote to confirm OPM nominee MORE (Mo.), Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstOvernight Defense: Pentagon details military construction projects getting .2B restored from wall funds | Biden chooses former commander to lead Navy | Bill seeks to boost visa program for Afghans who helped US Meghan McCain: Harris 'sounded like a moron' discussing immigration Senate bill would add visas, remove hurdles to program for Afghans who helped US MORE (Iowa) and Rick Scott (Fla.).

The letter cites written responses from Kahl from late last month in which he indicated to senators that an article in The Washington Post in March 2017 was the source of his Twitter posts that day in which he discussed what the senators allege are classified details of a National Security Council committee meeting about a U.S. operation in Yemen.

But the article cited by Kahl does not account for all of the sensitive contents of his tweets, the senators wrote.

They also cited additional tweets from Kahl later in 2017 in which they allege he appeared to confirm leaked classified information related to military options in North Korea and later indicated "multiple" officials within the Trump administration had confirmed the information to him.


"This report should be taken very seriously," Kahl tweeted on Dec. 20, 2017. "There is a contingent at the White House that believes a limited strike is viable and the US can control escalation by threatening regime change if Kim Jong UnKim Jong Un North Korea says it won't engage in talks with U.S. that would get nowhere Sister of North Korean leader dismisses prospects for talks with US Sullivan: Comments by North Korea's Kim an 'interesting signal' MORE retaliates. Very dangerous thinking."

“Kahl’s growing record of apparent mishandling of classified information and controlled unclassified information and his evasive response regarding this issue fall short of the standard required for holding one of our nation’s top national security positions," the GOP senators wrote to Wray.

"By apparently soliciting or otherwise receiving classified information and controlled unclassified information from U.S. government officials serving in national security roles and repeatedly posting such information on social media websites, Kahl demonstrated disregard for security protocols that are designed to protect our national security interests,” the senators wrote.

The senators explicitly asked Wray and the FBI to review the highlighted tweets from Kahl, as well as whether he disclosed classified information or uncontrolled classified information on social media after leaving the government, whether he ever received classified information after leaving the government and whether he violated his classified information nondisclosure agreement.

The Senate Armed Services Committee last month deadlocked in a vote on Kahl's nomination to lead the Pentagon’s policy shop. The 13-13 vote meant Kahl's nomination advanced out of committee but will have to overcome an additional procedural hurdle on the Senate floor.


Republicans had originally unified against Kahl after criticizing him for fiery tweets lambasting the Trump administration, as well as his support for the Iran nuclear deal.

During his confirmation hearing, Kahl apologized for the “disrespectful” language in his tweets and pledged to approach the Pentagon job in a nonpartisan way, saying his past government service demonstrates his ability to do so. Democrats largely dismissed criticism of Kahl as hypocritical, saying that GOP lawmakers stayed silent on former President TrumpDonald TrumpIran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says 'nothing is agreed' Ivanka Trump, Kushner distance themselves from Trump claims on election: CNN Overnight Defense: Joint Chiefs chairman clashes with GOP on critical race theory | House bill introduced to overhaul military justice system as sexual assault reform builds momentum MORE’s own inflammatory tweets.

But the new questions surrounding his past tweets are certain to prompt fresh scrutiny from the GOP in the Senate.

Should all 50 members of the Democratic conference continue to back Kahl's nomination, however, he would be confirmed with Vice President Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote.