Russia has a ‘troubling’ emerging anti-satellite weapon, the White House says

(Andrew Harnik/Associated Press)

Russia has a ‘troubling’ emerging anti-satellite weapon, the White House says


February 15, 2024

The White House publicly confirmed Thursday that Russia has acquired a troubling emerging anti-satellite weapon, but said it cannot directly cause physical destruction on Earth.

White House




Security spokesman John F. Kirby said U.S. intelligence officials have information that Russia has acquired the capability, but that such a weapon is not currently operational. U.S. officials are analyzing the information they have about the emerging technology and have been consulting with allies and partners.

First, this is not an active capability that has been deployed, and while the Russian search for this particular capability is troubling, there is no immediate threat to anyone’s security,” Kirby said. “We were not talking about a weapon that could be used to attack. human beings or causing physical destruction here on earth.

The White House confirmed its intelligence after a vague warning Wednesday from the Republican head of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Michael R. Turner of Ohio, who urged the Biden administration to release information about what he called a serious threat to the mentioned national security.

Kirby said the process of reviewing and declassifying aspects of Russia’s capabilities was underway when Turner unfortunately released his statement.

We have been very careful and deliberate about what we decide to release


downgrade and share with the public, he added.

Russia has downplayed U.S. concerns about capacity.

In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described claims about a new Russian military capability as a ruse designed to get the US Congress to back aid to Ukraine.

It is clear that Washington is trying to force Congress to vote on the relief bill, Peskov said in comments carried by Russian news agencies. Let’s see what trick the White House will use.

Kirby said the option is space-based and would violate the international Outer Space Treaty, which is signed by more than 130 countries, including Russia. He declined to comment on whether the weapon is nuclear capable. The treaty prohibits the use of nuclear weapons or other types of weapons of mass destruction in orbit, or the stationing of weapons in space in any other way.”

The White House said it would try to address the Russians’ concerns directly. Even as the White House tried to reassure Americans, Kirby acknowledged the matter was serious.

“I don’t want to minimize the potential for disruption here,” Kirby said.

Letter from White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan


Representatives on Capitol Hill on Thursday about the Russian threat.

After the meeting, Turner said Sullivan spoke with lawmakers about the administration’s options to address the threat. “I think the bottom line is that we all got the strong impression that the government is taking this very seriously and that the government has a plan in place,” Turner said. We look forward to supporting them in their implementation. Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, called the threat fairly standard in terms of the national security threats the intelligence panel faces. This is not a threat today, tomorrow, next week or next month, Himes said. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), who also attended Thursday’s briefing with Sullivan, said lawmakers raised concerns about the threat to the Biden administration last month and requested a meeting with the president requested to discuss this. He called Thursday’s meeting informative and said Sullivan had assured leaders that the White House will remain in close contact with lawmakers on the matter.

The White House did not hide its frustration with the way Turner expressed his concerns about the threat.

We make careful decisions about how and when we disclose information


in a deliberate and strategic manner, in a manner of our choosing, Kirby said.

We will not be deterred from that process, regardless of what has found its way into the public domain in this particular case, he added. I can assure you that we will continue to keep members of Congress, our international partners, all of you and the American people as fully informed as possible.

White House officials said U.S. intelligence officials are concerned about a broad declassification of intelligence. The US has been aware of Russia’s pursuit of anti-satellite capabilities for at least months, if not a few years. Biden has been regularly briefed on the issue by his national security team, including Thursday.

The US has regularly downgraded and exposed intelligence findings about Moscow’s plans and operations over the course of its nearly two-year war with Ukraine.

Such efforts have focused on highlighting plans for Russian disinformation operations or drawing attention to Moscow’s difficulties in prosecuting its war against Ukraine, as well as coordinating with Iran and North Korea to to supply the country with much-needed weapons.

Intelligence officials believed that initiating private involvement in the Russian anti-satellite threat could have been a more effective approach, Kirby said.

We agree with this, which is of course consistent with the way we carried out the write-downs


in the past, Kirby said. This administration has paid a lot of attention to doing that in a strategic, deliberate way. And especially when it comes to Russia.


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