Tags: US | Russia | INF

Lawmakers: State Dept. Continues Whitewash of Russian Arms Violations

By    |   Monday, 24 Mar 2014 06:59 PM

Two senior House Republicans have requested that Congress’ General Accountability Office (GAO) investigate the State Department’s failure to report Moscow’s violations of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Force (INF) treaty.

The treaty bans building or testing missiles with ranges of between 300 and 3,400 miles.
Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama, chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on strategic forces, and Rep. Ted Poe of Texas, chairman of the subcommittee on terrorism, nonproliferation, and trade, sent a letter to GAO director Gene Dodaro asking that his office investigate the State Department’s performance in reporting on Russian INF treaty violations, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

Rogers and Poe specifically want the GAO to examine the Bureau for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance for its reporting on INF compliance issues between 2008 and 2010. The lawmakers want to find out what the bureau knew about Russian cheating during that two-year period.

Rogers said in a statement that the Obama Administration “did not fully disclose what it knew about Russian arms control violations when it was trying to get the New START treaty ratified.”  He added that in an “all-consuming drive to protect its Russia reset policy,” the administration  “has gutted our missile defenses, alienated allies, and only encouraged Vladimir Putin’s lawlessness.”

Rogers and Poe want GAO to probe how the State Department decided whether to include or exclude information for a mandatory annual report on arms-control compliance.
It is just the latest effort by members of Congress to obtain answers about alleged Russian violations of the INF treaty.

In June, the Free Beacon reported that Moscow had violated the INF treaty by flight-testing a new long-range missile known as the RS-26 at INF range – thereby violating the treaty’s ban on intermediate-range missiles.

The Daily Beast reported that at a Nov. 27, 2012 closed-door hearing, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, then chaired by Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, heard testimony from Obama Administration officials detailing Russian violations of the INF accord. 

U.S. officials attending the meeting said that Acting Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Strategic Affairs Madelyn Creedon had informed Kerry (who months later became Secretary of State) of Soviet violations of the INF treaty.

Kerry – a leading proponent of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) which passed the Senate in December 2010 – reacted angrily to reports of Russian cheating.  
The Daily Beast reported that Kerry “expressed anger and frustration about the Russian cheating and warned that if the violations became widely known, future efforts to convince the Senate to ratify arms control treaties would be harmed.”

“If we’re going to have treaties with people, we’ve got to adhere to them,” Kerry said. “We’re not going to pass another treaty in the U.S. Senate if our colleagues are sitting up here knowing somebody is cheating.”

Under such circumstances, “if we’re going to try to reduce more weapons or we’re going to try to have further limits…I can’t look you in the eye, I can’t look anybody in the eye here and say, ‘Hey, vote for this,’ ” Kerry said, according to The Daily Beast.

But the State Department’s latest annual compliance report, covering all of 2012, made no mention of Russian INF cheating. The record leads many in Congress to suspect that INF treaty violations by Moscow “are being ignored as part of the Obama Administration’s policy of ignoring treaty compliance in favor of further arms negotiations,” according to the Free Beacon.

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Two senior House Republicans have requested that Congress’ General Accountability Office (GAO) investigate the State Department’s failure to report Moscow’s violations of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Force (INF) treaty.
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2014-59-24
Monday, 24 Mar 2014 06:59 PM
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