Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, demanded on Wednesday that the chamber’s sergeant at arms “take action” against the dozens of Republican lawmakers who stormed a secure impeachment hearing room with their cellphones, a brazen violation of House rules.
“Our country is a game to them. Remember that the next time they use ‘national security’ as an excuse for their bad ideas.”
—Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
In a letter (pdf) to House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving, the chamber’s chief law enforcement official, Thompson called Republicans’ coordinated attempt to disrupt House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry “a blatant breach of security” that “violates the oath of all members of Congress sign to gain access to classified information” and “contravenes security controls established by the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency for the protection of classified information.”
“This unprecedented breach of security raises serious concerns for committee chairmen, including me, responsible for maintaining SCIFs [Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities],” Thompson wrote. “As such, I am requesting you take action with respect to the members involved in the breach.”
“More broadly,” Thompson added, “I urge you to take House-wide action to remind all members about the dangers of such reckless action and the potential national security risks of such behavior.”
Thompson’s letter came after the GOP’s disruption effort was finally tamped down. All told, the Republican stunt delayed by five hours the testimony of Pentagon official Laura Cooper, a witness in House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.
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