Intelligence leaders praise Wright-Patt workers as two-day briefing concludes

As members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence wrapped up a two-day retreat at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, they found themselves in agreement workers at the base are crucial defenders of the nation’s freedom.

“There are thousands of men and women who toil in some obscurity here,” U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., the committee’s ranking member, said in a press conference at the conclusion of the retreat Tuesday afternoon. “They can’t necessarily go home and talk about the missions they do, because those missions are highly classified and very, very sensitive.”

“It was a really wonderful moment to be able to hold them up and say, ‘What you’re doing is keeping the nation safe,’” he added.

William Burns, CIA director; Christopher Wray, FBI director; General Timothy Haugh, director of the National Security Agency, and other national defense principals joined several members of the committee on the base, touring the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) and the National Space Intelligence Center (NSIC), among other missions.

“I’m a soldier,” said Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Cincinnati. “And let me tell you, the work that’s being done here by the Air Force and the Space Force and everyone else really plays a huge part in how we are able to conduct ourselves in all branches of the military.”

“Each time we come here we learn something new that allows us to do good work on behalf of our fellow Americans,” said Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., a former CIA officer.

The committee met at a time when Russia is making new incursions into northeast Ukraine, when Israel is fighting in Gaza and the president and foreign minister of Iran were killed over the weekend in a helicopter crash, a possibly destabilizing development.

And Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, has warned about the possibility of Russian weapons that can destroy U.S. satellites, harming the nation militarily and economically, as he and others have described the threat.

“NASIC and NSIC ... are intelligence-generators,” said Turner, who leads the committee as chairman. “They take the raw information that we receive, the signals from space and other sources, synthesize it in a manner where we get to understand what our adversaries are doing.”

Understanding that then allows policy-makers and defense leaders to support and direct the military as it searches for “that advantage on that battlefield of tomorrow,” Turner added. “Coming here and seeing people who are generating intelligence, not just reporting intelligence, is exciting to see.”

Turner organized this retreat at the base, as he did last year when the committee held an inaugural gathering at Wright-Patt.

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