Foreign Policy

published : 2023-11-09

Republicans Demand Answers After Top Biden Official Invited CCP Leaders to Sensitive National Security Site

Allowing foreign adversaries to inspect nuclear testing sites will 'lead to our own destruction,' says GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik

A photo of GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik passionately addressing a crowd during a political rally, taken with a Nikon D850 camera.

A coalition of 18 House Republicans, led by GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, are pressing Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm over her agency's invitation for foreign adversaries to inspect a sensitive U.S. nuclear testing site.

In a letter sent Thursday morning, Stefanik and the other Republicans blasted Granholm for recently offering China and Russia "unprecedented access" to the Department of Energy's (DOE) Nevada National Security Site.

Stefanik stated, "I am leading my colleagues in demanding that President Biden revoke this misguided invitation to our adversaries in Beijing and Moscow that grants them unprecedented access and insight into our nuclear weapons."

"At a time when our adversaries are growing their nuclear stockpiles to undermine America’s leadership, allowing them access to one of our nuclear test sites will only advance this pursuit and lead to our own destruction," she continued.

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) invited its Chinese and Russian counterparts to tour the Nevada site during the latest International Atomic Energy Agency summit.

Corey Hinderstein, a senior NNSA official, stated that China and Russia didn't immediately respond to the invitation.

An image of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm speaking at a press conference on renewable energy, captured with a Canon EOS R5 camera.

This invitation came after Russian President Vladimir Putin suspended his nation's participation in the only remaining nuclear arms control pact with America.

And Putin's recent law withdrawing Russia from its ratification of a global treaty banning nuclear weapons tests has further strained relations between the two sides.

Rep. Doug Lamborn stated, "Allowing foreign adversaries to observe U.S. nuclear testing activities allows them to derive our methods and procedures and this destroys deterrence."

Late last month, Lamborn introduced a bill to block foreign nationals from witnessing U.S. nuclear weapons testing at national labs.

The letter from Stefanik and the Republicans also raises concerns about China's expanding nuclear capabilities.

General Anthony Cotton, the commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, stated that China is projected to have over 1,000 warheads by the end of this decade.

A photograph showcasing the Nevada National Security Site's vast landscape, featuring the iconic desert scenery, taken with a Sony A7 III camera.

The Republicans emphasized that China's refusal to engage in discussions on its nuclear expansion makes it even more concerning to grant them access to U.S. testing sites.

Rep. Rob Wittman expressed his concerns, saying, "The notion of granting America's adversaries access to our military sites is deeply alarming and fundamentally absurd."

Additionally, other Republican representatives, including Joe Wilson, Bill Posey, Chris Smith, and Julia Letlow, co-signed the letter to Granholm.

The Biden administration has yet to respond to these concerns.