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Rep. Stewart’s Latest Op-Ed in Fox News

November 10, 2021

Yesterday, Reps. Chris Stewart (R-UT) and Devin Nunes (R-CA) wrote an op-ed in Fox News on the potential national security consequences of President Biden’s vaccine mandate for Intelligence Community (IC) personnel.

“So, all of this begs the question: which is a bigger national security threat? Retaining those IC employees who are unvaccinated, or firing a significant number of full-performance intelligence officers amid growing threats from every single one of our foreign adversaries? This question needs to be answered before December 8.

“The solution is clear: for the sake of personal freedom as well as our national security, President Biden should rescind the vaccine mandate,” Reps. Stewart and Nunes write.

The full op-ed is available here and below.

Biden's Vaccine Mandate Threatens Our National Security

By Reps. Chris Stewart and Devin Nunes

During the presidential campaign, Joe Biden pledged to unify the country and "restore the soul of America." Instead, over the past ten months, he’s sent a damaging message to the American people: nothing is more important than the Democrat-socialist agenda. Apparently, that includes the security of our nation. 

In less than one month, President Biden plans on firing a significant number of intelligence officers who will not comply with his vaccine mandate. This decision-making is beyond partisan – it’s outright dangerous.

For months, President Biden’s excessive mandates have plagued the U.S. economy and individual liberty. As a near record-high number of jobs go unfilled and workers are paid to stay home, thousands of heroic health care workers, police officers, and firefighters are being fired due to the vaccine mandates. For those who don’t find these consequences reason enough to abandon the mandates – although we can’t imagine that’s many people – there’s even worse news: this is now a national security concern.

The Intelligence Community (IC) plans to enforce the vaccine mandate on its employees and contractors. And as is the case with many businesses across the country, those who refuse to get vaccinated will be fired.

The specific details are classified, but the vaccination rate for some agencies is as low as 60 percent. This means that across the IC, a significant number of employees will be dismissed on the same day – December 8. 

As members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, we have a unique understanding of the growing threats we face as a nation. China is increasingly aggressive toward Taiwan, testing hypersonic missiles, and conducting a brazen campaign of intellectual property theft against the United States; al Qaeda and the Taliban are greatly empowered in the wake of our disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan; Russia continues its aggression toward its neighbors; and North Korea is advancing its nuclear weapons programs. 

We could go on, but our point is clear: we cannot afford a mass purging of experienced IC personnel, let alone all at once. Replacing these professionals would take between 12 and 18 months – far too long to be defending the nation with one arm tied behind our back.

By weeding out those who oppose the mandates, the administration is rejecting any personnel who has legitimate concerns. This includes those who are pregnant, have natural immunities, pre-existing medical conditions that leave them vulnerable, or genuine religious apprehensions. 

One can also reasonably ask whether the Biden administration believes that a benefit of this policy will be to shrink a demographic within the realm of government service that the administration perceives to lean conservative.

None of this is even to mention how these employees might react to being fired over a personal medical decision. It is a legitimate concern to create significant numbers of unemployed intelligence professionals with Top Secret clearances. These officers very well may feel betrayed, angry, and underappreciated by a country they chose to protect. 

Last month, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee wrote a letter to the Director of National Intelligence and Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security. We expressed these concerns and asked how they might be prepared to address them. Unsurprisingly, we haven’t heard back.

So, all of this begs the question: which is a bigger national security threat? Retaining those IC employees who are unvaccinated, or firing a significant number of full-performance intelligence officers amid growing threats from every single one of our foreign adversaries? 

This question needs to be answered before December 8.

The solution is clear: for the sake of personal freedom as well as our national security, President Biden should rescind the vaccine mandate.

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