White House confirms Russia is pursuing anti-satellite capability

U.S. intelligence officials believe Russia is developing anti-satellite capabilities. 

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby cautioned, however, that this is not an active capability and there is no immediate threat to anyone’s safety. 

“We’re not talking about a weapon that can be used to attack human beings or cause physical destruction here on Earth,” Kirby said. 

Public concern about the potential threat first arose Wednesday, when Rep. Mike Turner, the Republican head of the House Intelligence Committee, issued a cryptic statement. He urged the White House to declassify information, noting that members of Congress were informed of a “serious national security threat.”

Responding to calls to declassify the intelligence, Kirby said, “We make decisions about how and when to publicly disclose intelligence in a careful, deliberate and strategic way in a way that we choose. We’re not going to be knocked off that process regardless of what in this particular case has found its way into the public domain.”

Kirby added that President Joe Biden has been kept fully informed about the intelligence and has directed “diplomatic engagement with Russia, with our allies and our partners as well and with other countries around the world who have interests at stake.”

Leaders in the House were scheduled to get an updated briefing on Thursday. Members of the Senate will be briefed later this month. 

“Nothing is more important to President Biden than the safety and security of the American people,” Kirby said. “That’s his top priority and it’s going to remain front and center as we continue to determine the best next steps.