Hagerty and Colleagues ask FBI for Update on Request to Investigate Under Secretary of Defense Colin Kahl

May 24, 2023

Inquiry comes after report that Kahl leaked classified information about the Chinese spy balloon

NASHVILLE, TN—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), joined by Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Marco Rubio (R-FL), today sent a letter to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray seeking an update on an April 2021 request by 18 Senators for the FBI to immediately investigate whether Dr. Colin Kahl—who at the time was President Joe Biden’s nominee to be Under Secretary of Defense for Policy—publicly disclosed classified information and controlled unclassified information (CUI), discussed classified information and CUI with U.S. government officials, or solicited U.S. government officials to provide, or otherwise received, classified information and CUI, after leaving government employment under the Obama Administration.

“We write to request an update from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on a letter sent to you on April 13, 2021, and signed by 18 United States Senators, and to provide additional, relevant information that has recently come to our attention,” the Senators wrote. 

“Our concerns have only grown after news reports emerged on March 9, 2023, that Under Secretary Kahl ‘leaked classified information about the Chinese spy balloon to deflect blame about the Biden administration’s mishandling of the situation,’” the Senators added. “Indeed, only a day earlier, two Senators sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin raising concerns about Kahl’s alleged leak of classified information, noting:  ‘It remains unclear whether this leak was cleared internally through the proper channels.  Either way, it was a brazen attempt to shift blame.  Most egregiously, Dr. Kahl omitted a key detail in his distribution of this sensitive information to the press—the prior Chinese balloons were only discovered much later.  The Trump administration did not have an opportunity to respond at the time.’”

“Given this and other developments, we continue to believe that Kahl’s actions require investigation by the FBI to determine whether any laws were broken, as described in the Senators’ letter to you dated April 13, 2021.  Thank you for your consideration of this matter of importance to the Senate and U.S. national security interests,” the Senators concluded.

A copy of the letter can be found here.