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For Immediate Release: March 16, 2022
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PITTSBURGH, PA - In case you missed it, today U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) held a conference call with media to discuss an important matter related to our country’s national security - the issue of classified briefings in the U.S. Senate. Senator Sullivan spoke on this subject given concerns around U.S. Senate candidate Mehmet Oz’s ability to receive classified intelligence due to his dual citizenship to Turkey. Sullivan discussed the significant implications of a U.S. Senator maintaining dual citizenship to a foreign country, like Turkey.

A full transcript of the call is below:

U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (12:16):
It's. Senator Dan Sullivan.

New Speaker (12:21):
Hi, sir. Thank you for joining us. So everyone, we have us Senator Dan Sullivan on the line with us. He's going to be doing a quick overview of some of the classified information that's, you know, important for senators different committees and throughout the Senate in light of made yesterday by Pennsylvania Senate candidate Oz, that he would not renounce his Turk citizenship in order to receive be able to receive some of that classified information. So without further ado, I'll turn it over to the Senator and then we'll have time to answer a couple of questions at the end as well.

U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (13:00):
Hey, sure. Well, I, I wanted to thank everybody. I just wanted to give you my view on, on this issue, which I actually think is important, not just to the what's going on in Pennsylvania, but to the national security of our country. So I'm a member of the armed services committee. I'm actually still serving myself up in the us military in the Marine Corps reserves. And from my perspective, a fundamental of this job in the Senate, even if you're not on those kind of committees,

Speaker 1 (13:47):
Sorry, sir, you cut out there a little bit.

U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (13:50):
Can you hear me?

Speaker 1 (13:52):
Yes. We can hear you now,

U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (13:54):
Particularly during this day and age when our national security challenges are front and center on almost every issue. So let me just give you an example this week. I've already part-time given the Ukraine situation. The Senate as a body has received over the last two weeks as a body. So you don't have to be on armed services or foreign relations or Intel several classified briefings on the situation in Ukraine and other places. So this is a huge per part of the job. It's actually a constitutional part of the job in terms of our focus in the Senate on national security issues, much more so than the house. And from my perspective, part of the job. And to me, it's just inconceivable that you would make a decision that somehow would limit your access to this kind of intelligence that you need to do the job. My view is you need full access to all the Intel that the different intelligence agencies provide us senators, do the job effectively. And that's why I was quite shocked to see what I guess is the decision to say I'm gonna forgo that by one of the candidates there. I've not been involved in the race at all in Pennsylvania, but to me, this is important enough given what's happening to make a comment on it, given my background and knowledge about how the Senate works.

Speaker 1 (15:52):
Thank you Senator. We appreciate your insight on this issue. We'll be able to take about two questions here. If anyone has a question, please press star six to unmute your line. Okay. Hi, phone number. Go ahead.

Speaker 3 (16:12):
Hi. This is Linda Stein with the Delaware valley journal

Speaker 1 (16:17):
Yep. Go ahead, Linda.

Speaker 3 (16:20):
Okay. Well Turkey is a member of NATO and an ally. Why would this make a difference? Thanks.

U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (16:31):
Oh, it makes a big difference. Linda, there's all kinds of Intel access that we don't provide to foreigners. There's a classification that's called five ice and that is the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States that often share Intel at a high level, but we don't even share Intel with five eyes or countries or citizens from five eyes nations all the time. There's a whole class of Intel and it's usually at the top secret level that's called non foreign. That means non foreigner. And we don't share that with anybody, whether they're a NATO ally or that they're even a five eyes partner. Turkey is a NATO ally. You're correct. But they're not a five eyes partner and there's all kinds of Intel. We don't share with foreigners from any country, including five eyes countries. I see it all the time in the Senate. I see it all the time in my job as well. It’s an issue despite Turkey being a NATO ally.

Speaker 4 (17:58):
CNN. Hi, this is Michael Warren from CNN. I'm just, I'm, I'm a little confused about why Oz would need to renounce his Turkish citizenship. He's a us citizen, the Senate court in the constitution. You have to be a us citizen for, for nine years to be in the Senate. What what about him having dual citizenship would preclude him from receiving those classified briefings. I know what he said yesterday, but what, what requirement is there

U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (18:27):
To my, my understanding dual

Speaker 4 (18:29): Citizens in the past, in, in, in the Senate, I mean, Ted Cruz was a dual citizen for about a year before he renounced his Canadian citizenship

 U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (18:38):
And Ted Cruz was not even aware of that. And when he did he renounced it. So my understanding is that, and I might be wrong is the, issue's never been tested that a dual citizen from another country middle east country would have to renounce or would, would, would Intel community weigh in. So my view is the, my understanding is never been tested. And why should you even risk to testing it? I don't know where the Intel community would come out on this and I'm not weighing in on whether or not he should renounce his citizenship. That's for the that's for the campaign. But what I did see was that he said he would limit his access to Intel in order to keep his dual citizenship. And my view, you can't tell unless you have full access to all the Intel. So that's the way I view it.

Speaker 1 (19:43):
Okay. Thank you everyone. Senator Sullivan. We appreciate your time,

U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (19:48):
Thank you everybody. Bye.