Biden Admin Violating Law by Withholding Report on Iran's Military, Lawmaker Alleges

Claudia Tenney: 'It is vital that Congress finally receives this report—even if it is 233 days late'

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps / Getty Images
February 16, 2023

The Biden administration is illegally withholding from Congress intelligence information about Iran's latest military capabilities, Rep. Claudia Tenney (R., N.Y.) warned in a Thursday letter.

The New York congresswoman informed Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines that the administration was required to provide a report on Iran to Congress nearly eight months ago. "In clear violation of the law, you still have not filed this critical report with the House Foreign Affairs Committee," Tenney wrote in the letter, which was obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. "It is vital that Congress finally receives this report—even if it is 233 days late—so we can better counteract the threats posed by Iran and Iranian-backed groups, as well as their ongoing actions in the region."

As part of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress ordered the DNI to provide Congress with a report on "the advancements in the military capabilities of Iran, especially regarding the capabilities of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iranian-backed groups, including Hezbollah and the Houthis," according to Tenney. The annual defense spending bill was signed into law on Dec. 27, 2021, and gave the Biden administration 180 days to provide the report. That deadline passed on June 25.

The DNI's office did not respond to a request for comment.

The report, Tenney says, is vital to Congress's oversight work and efforts to sanction Tehran's growing military industry, which is providing lethal drone technology to Russia in its war on Ukraine. Critics say the Biden administration is reluctant to disclose new developments in Iran, which would likely fuel calls for increased sanctions against the Iranian regime and torpedo the administration's efforts to revive the Iran nuclear deal.

The White House has been accused of keeping Congress in the dark about the status of its ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran, which are primarily being brokered through Russia. The administration also has ignored more than two dozen congressional inquiries into its enforcement of sanctions on Iran and potentially plans to provide the regime with billions of dollars in cash windfalls as part of a revamped nuclear deal.

Congressional sources told the Free Beacon that the Biden administration's failure to furnish the report may be part of an effort to interfere with lawmakers' efforts to sculpt new sanctions on Tehran, as the White House continues to engage in diplomacy centered around reviving the 2015 nuclear accord.

In addition to detailing Iran's military advancements—which include work on ballistic missiles capable of striking U.S. allies in the Middle East such as Israel—the DNI must report to Congress on "known instances of the supply, sale, or transfer of arms" into and out of Iran, Iranian missile launches, the impact of U.S.-led sanctions on Iran, the regime's growing footprint in Iraq, and an assessment of Iranian threats to U.S. personnel and partners.

Of particular interest to members of Congress are Iran's exports to Russia of drones that are potentially being used to strike civilian sites in Ukraine. With Iran and Russia strengthening their economic ties, there is a growing bipartisan appetite to crack down on the Tehran-Moscow military pipeline.