The nation's intelligence leadership has been formally invited to testify before the House Intelligence Committee to discuss the country's major national security issues.
In a letter delivered Thursday, panel Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) invited acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire to appear before the committee on Feb. 12.
"During this public hearing, the committee will inquire about the IC's unclassified assessments regarding the diversity of threats that currently face the nation and endeavor to provide transparency about the significance of these threats," Schiff wrote.
The session also “provides an opportunity for IC seniors to provide an unclassified, yet important broad understanding of how threats have evolved and what the nation can expect in the year to come,” he added.
The missive raises the possibility for a potential standoff between House lawmakers and the nation's intelligence apparatus over testifying publicly.
As first reported by POLITICO, officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence have informally requested House and Senate lawmakers move the annual Worldwide Threats hearing — which features both public and private segments — entirely behind closed doors to avoid having agency leaders make on-camera statements at odds with President Donald Trump's national security claims.
Intelligence leaders appeared before the Senate last year and presented assessments that contradicted the president’s previous statements on matters, including Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the likelihood of North Korea giving up its nuclear weapons and the strength of the Islamic State terror group.
The hearing prompted Trump to dress down his own national security team on Twitter, calling them “naive” and telling them to “go back to school.”
The House Intelligence Committee has not held a public Worldwide Threats hearing since 2016. The clandestine community has declined invitations by the House the last two years.
Maguire appeared before the panel last year to explain his handling of a whistleblower complaint that alleged Trump abused the presidency by pressuring Ukraine’s leader to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.
The information contained in the complaint — which has corroborated by official government documents, Trump’s own public statements and media reports — jump-started the impeachment inquiry into the president.
On Wednesday, an ODNI spokesperson told POLITICO that the intelligence community is “committed to providing timely, accurate and useful information about the worldwide threats facing the nation” and would “continue discussions with the committees about the timing and format of the Worldwide Threat Assessment hearings this year.”
ODNI declined to provide further comment about Schiff’s request.