Utah Rep. Chris Stewart selected to lead House subcommittee on intelligence

First Published      Last Updated Jan 11 2017 09:09 pm

Rep. Chris Stewart, a former Air Force pilot, has been named chairman of a House intelligence subcommittee that oversees the Department of Defense.

Stewart, R-Utah, will lead the Defense Intelligence and Overhead Architecture Subcommittee.

"The fundamental role of the federal government, as outlined in the Constitution, is to provide for the security of our nation," he said in a prepared statement. "And in an era where terrorist threats are far too common, the need for national security has never been more important."

The subcommittee oversees the National Reconnaissance Program, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Program, the General Defense Intelligence Program and some Department of Defense activities.

Stewart is said to be under consideration for Air Force secretary in the new Trump administration.

The subcommittee appointment comes days after Stewart backtracked on assertions he made in December that there was no evidence that Russian hacking in the 2016 election favored President-elect Donald Trump. A declassified intelligence report released Friday by the National Security Agency, FBI and CIA found Russia's cyberassault was meant to discredit Democrat Hillary Clinton and that Russian President Vladmir Putin had a "clear preference" for Republican Trump.

"It is very frustrating and concerning to me that for nearly a month, the administration chose to repeatedly leak information to the press while apparently refusing to tell the members of the House Intelligence Committee the whole story," Stewart said in response to the report.

Stewart also serves on the House Appropriations Committee.