Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday that he believes the growing, trillion-dollar national debt represents a “dire threat to our economic and national security.”
"I'm concerned that our increasingly fractious political process, particularly with respect to federal spending, is threatening our ability to properly defend our nation, both in the short term and especially in the long term,” Coats said in a statement before the Committee.
"The failure to address our long-term fiscal situation has increased the national debt to over $20 trillion and growing,” he said. “This situation is unsustainable, as I think we all know, and represents a dire threat to our economic and national security."
He cited others who have tried to raise the alarm about the national debt in the past.
“Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen first identified the national debt as the greatest threat to our national security,” Coats said. “Since then he has been joined by numerous, respectable national security leaders of both parties, including former Secretaries of State Madeline Albright and Henry Kissinger as well as former Defense Secretaries Bob Gates and Leon Panetta.”
“And our current Defense Secretary Jim Mattis agrees with this assessment,” he added.
Mattis agreed last year that the greatest threat to national security is the federal debt.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) caused a brief government shutdown last week over the increased debt caused by the Senate budget deal. He later slammed the “hypocrisy” of both sides on addressing the national debt.