The Obama administration is about to share information with Russia about every Trident missile the U.S. supplies to its closest ally Britain – the result of the arms control deal signed by President Barack Obama next week.
British defense analysts tell the London Telegraph
that the agreement risks undermining Britain’s policy of refusing to confirm the exact size of its nuclear arsenal.
The information comes as Britain is reeling from revelations in new WikiLeaks documents that show the United States has used British nuclear secrets as a bargaining chip with the Russians.
The latest U.S. classified documents released by WikiLeaks are in the form of 1,400 U.S. embassy cables that indicate the Obama administration was willing to sacrifice British interests in the hopes of a deal with Russia.
A series of classified messages sent to Washington by American negotiators indicate that information on Britain’s nuclear capability was crucial to securing Russia’s support for the “New START” deal.
The Obama administration said repeatedly that the treaty was not supposed to have any impact on Britain, but the leaked cables show that Russia used the talks to demand more information about the UK’s Trident missiles, which are manufactured and maintained in the United States.
Washington lobbied London in 2009 for permission to supply Moscow with detailed data about the performance of UK missiles. The UK refused, but the U.S. agreed to hand over the serial numbers of Trident missiles it transfers to Britain.
Professor Malcolm Chalmers told the Telegraph “This appears to be significant because while the UK has announced how many missiles it possesses, there has been no way for the Russians to verify this. Over time, the unique identifiers will provide them with another data point to gauge the size of the British arsenal.”
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