The Massachusetts senator tried to pin down the Director of National Intelligence, but he wasn’t having any of it.
Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats frustrated Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday over her insistence that climate change presents a clear and present national security threat.
Warren asked Coats if he agreed that climate change served as a “threat multiplier.” The senator cited some reports that climate change could intensify global instability.
“I don’t know if I would describe it as a threat multiplier,” Coats said. “There have always, in the history of the world, been reactions to different climate changes, and that is an issue that continues.”
Warren insisted that climate change “exacerbates, aggravates; this is [the Defense Department’s] words: existing problems, poverty, social tension, enviornmental degredation, ineffectual leadership, and weak politicial institutions.”
Coats declined to disagree with that description, but emphasized that the climate had continually changed. According to the director, changes in climate had confronted military and government leaders throughout “the ages.”
Instead of focusing on reversing the effects of the climate, Coats argued that national security infrastructure should adapt to changing circumstances.
Clearly miffed, Warren called climate change “clearly a threat to international peace and security” and implored Coats to “take [climate change] seriously.”
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