Politics

White House Hiding Pentagon Report On Russia’s Breach Of Nuclear Treaty

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Jonah Bennett Contributor

The White House is interfering with release of a Pentagon report that assesses risks involved in Russia’s breach of the 1987 Nuclear Forces Treaty.

Some lawmakers in Congress want the assessment to be released, so they can begin to address treaty violations through legislative countermeasures. GOP Rep. Mike Rogers became aware of the report’s existence last month and has since been pushing for its release, but despite his best efforts, it still “seems to stay tied up in the White House,” the Washington Free Beacon reports.

“As we look to the near-term future, we need to consider how we’re going to respond to Russia’s INF violations,” Rogers said, according to the Free Beacon. “Congress will not continue to tolerate the administration dithering on this issue.”

It’s no secret that the United States believes Russia has violated the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. A Department of State report released in early June determined that Russia continues to brazenly ignore the treaty signed by President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987.

The treaty banned ground-launched ballistic missiles and cruise missiles that operated within a certain range.

The U.S. government first established treaty violations in July of last year, but the Russians have turned right around and accused the U.S. of similar violations. Part of the reason the U.S. has been so reticent to discuss details of the risk assessment conducted by U.S. Gen. Martin Dempsey is that it might reveal sensitive intelligence methods and sources.

A senior administration official at the White House told the Free Beacon that “The United States continues to consider diplomatic, economic, and military responses to Russia’s violation of the INF Treaty.”

There are several options on the table. The U.S. could back out of the treaty, or develop its own missiles in response.

“Russia’s aggressive and illegal behavior and the inability of the United States to bring Russia back into compliance with the INF Treaty indicate that the treaty has outlived its utility and is no longer in the U.S. interest,” Michaela Dodge, a military analyst at the Heritage Foundation, recently stated in a report.

Officials currently hope the dispute can be solved by coaxing Russia into compliance via diplomatic means. But some argue that since the violations have continued unabated for years, the next step should include punitive measures. Legislators have also forwarded defensive proposals through the 2016 defense authorization bill to provide anti-cruise missiles defenses at bases in Poland and Romania.

Whether these provisions will make it past the conference reconciling the House and Senate versions of the authorization bill remains to be seen.

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