Former State Dept. analyst says White House is ‘undercutting evidence’ by blocking climate change warning

Posted at 7:40 AM, Jul 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-30 09:40:37-04

A State Department official who quit after he says the White House blocked his written testimony on climate change from being delivered to Congress says the Trump administration is “undercutting evidence that contradicts its policy positions.”

“I take great pride in the many positive and productive interactions I had with senior officials in my 30 months in the Trump administration,” Rod Schoonover wrote in a New York Times op-ed published Tuesday. “But the decision to block the written testimony is another example of a well-established pattern in the Trump administration of undercutting evidence that contradicts its policy positions.”

Last month, the White House office of Legislative Affairs blocked Schoonover, who worked as an intelligence analyst for the department, from submitting written testimony to the House Intelligence Committee that offered major warnings “on the national security implications of climate change,” according to a report from The Washington Post citing several senior administration officials.

The written testimony Schoonover was prepared to submit, which warned that human-caused climate change could be “possibly catastrophic,” according to the Post, stood in marked contrast to the generally dismissive tone President Donald Trump has taken towards climate change and to recent remarks from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The White House did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment on Tuesday.

Schoonover, who said in the opinion piece that his last day at his post was July 12, wrote that the move “trampled not only on the scientific integrity of the assessment,” but also “undermined the analytic independence of a major element of the intelligence community.”

“When a White House can shape or suppress intelligence analysis that it deems out of line with its political messaging, then the intelligence community has no true analytic independence. I believe such acts weaken our nation,” he wrote.

The former administration official also wrote in the piece that he was able to appear at the June 5 hearing “and give a five-minute verbal summary of the 11-page testimony,” but that by not being able to submit his written testimony, “Congress was deprived of the full analysis, including the scientific baseline from which it was drawn.”