House Republican says as much as 40 percent of some intel agencies remain unvaccinated
A Republican who sits on the House Intelligence Committee says, citing non-publicly disclosed data, that as much as 40 percent of some U.S. intelligence agencies remain unvaccinated against the coronavirus.
While The Associated Press noted that most intelligence agencies have reported vaccination rates that outpaced that of the U.S. population, Rep. Chris Stewart (Utah) specified in an interview published Friday that those with lower rates were more often military-affiliated.
CIA Director William Burns said last week that 97 percent of the agency’s officers are vaccinated.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, National Security Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency declined to provide figures on vaccination rates when asked by the AP.
The Defense Intelligence Agency did not provide any information regarding its vaccination rates, only saying in a statement to The Hill, “The Defense Intelligence Agency takes seriously the health and safety of its workforce and complies with U.S. Defense Department and other federal health requirements and mandates.”
The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency told The Hill in a statement “we are working to ensure that all members of the workforce understand the process and documentation required prior” to the mandated vaccination date, and that it would provide a vaccination percentage after Nov. 22.
That’s the deadline for when federal workers are either supposed to be fully vaccinated or have been granted an exemption. A second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines — or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — must be received by Nov. 8.
Employees who fail to get their shots could face termination, suspension or other disciplinary actions. That possibility poses a threat to intelligence service agencies whose highly skilled members may be more difficult to replace.
Stewart, who has received the vaccine, told the AP that he wanted the Biden administration to delay potentially firing employees and for more exceptions to be granted.
“My question is what’s the impact on national security if we do that?” he said. “You’re potentially firing thousands of people on the same day. And it’s not like you put an ad on Craigslist and have people apply by Thursday.”
The AP noted that Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee believe that agencies will not be negatively impacted by the vaccine mandate.
The Hill has reached out to Stewart, the National Security Agency, Office of the Director of National Intelligence and White House for comment.
Updated: 6:48 p.m.
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