Monday, June 11, 2012

Obama Administration Ignoring Russia's Supplying Ballistic Missile Goods To Iran

Iranian Pres. Ahmadinejad and Russian Pres. Putin / AP

The Obama Administration is ignoring violations of UN sanctions on Iran by Russian arms manufacturers who are providing the Iranian with materials needed for the manufacture and navigation of ballistic missiles.

That's the conclusion of an assessment by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence sent to Congress:

“We assess that individual entities have provided assistance to Iran’s ballistic missile programs,” the DNI statement by legislative director Kathleen Turner said.

The new assessment differs from an earlier intelligence statement supplied to Congress that was more categorical on the transfers and did not contain legalistic references included in an apparent effort to avoid linking the Russian government to recent missile-related transfers.

The assessment could affect a requested presidential waiver sought by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration that is needed prior to the next U.S. payment to Russia for the International Space Station.

A State Department official said the Russia-Iran missile trade has not been raised in recent meetings between U.S. and Russian officials.

Current law requires the president to certify that it is Russia’s policy to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear and missile technology and systems.

This comes at a time when the Obama Administration is pushing Congress to pass permanent normal trade relations legislation for Russia.

Here's the punchline - the statement finishes by saying that the Russian government is incapable of implementing a policy to halt exports of missile and nuclear technology to Iran or to stop state-owned arms manufacturers from selling it to Iran or providing training.

According to the DNI, currently headed by James Clapper ( you know, the man who claimed The Muslim Brotherhood is a 'secular organization'), the U.S. intelligence community's official word is that “Moscow almost certainly is not pursuing an official policy of providing support to Iran’s ballistic missile program.”

I'd love to know the thought processes that went into that kind of 'intelligence' since all Russian arms exports are rigidly controlled by the state-owned company Rosoboronexport.

In 2008, U.S. sanctions were imposed on Rosoboronexport for sales of TOR-M1 air defense missiles to Iran. The Obama Administration removed them as part of the president's 'reset'. Since then, there have been massive trtansfers of Russian hardware and technology to Iran, sanctions or no sanctions.

Among other toys Rosoboronexport is now interested in providing to the Iranians and other interested parties is technology Russia has developed aimed at covering up the tracks made by mobile missile launchers from their hiding place to the launch point, making the missiles' locations impossible to find by satellite.

And it gets better. A Senior House Republican is calling on President Obama to explain fully what sort of arrangements he has with Russia on missile defense.

“There is still a great deal of concern about what you meant when you were overheard during a recent meeting in Seoul with Russia’s former President Dmitri Medvedev, that after this election, your ‘last election,’ you ‘would have greater flexibility’ to make a deal with Russia concerning U.S. missile defenses,” said Rep. Michael R. Turner, chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on strategic forces, which oversees missile defense programs.

“What is it you and your administration are concerned the American people would object to in such a deal with Russia?” Turner asked. “Would it be limitations, unilateral or bilateral, with Russia on the speed, range, or geographical deployment of U.S. missile defense interceptors?”

Turner also asked the president in a May 23 letter to explain plans for up to an 80 percent cut in deployed U.S. nuclear warheads as part of the nearly completed Nuclear Posture Review implementation study.

“Many in Congress, me included, are deeply troubled that you may be willing to further trade or give away U.S. missile defenses to get closer to your goal of a world without nuclear weapons,” Turner said.

Turner called on the president to make public several draft missile defense agreements with the Russians that have been reported in news accounts but which remain secret.“Such transparency would be the best way to resolve concerns in the Congress about your statement to President Medvedev … about your intentions for missile defense,” Turner said.

Ellen Tauscher, the administration’s special envoy for missile defense, has denied any secret agreements with Russia—draft or otherwise—exist.

However, U.S. officials said Tauscher drafted an agreement meant to be signed by Obama and Medvedev at the 2011 summit meeting in Deauville, France, that was withdrawn from consideration by White House lawyers amid concerns that the draft contained legally binding constraints on U.S. missile defenses.

You may remember Ms. Tauscher from a previous mention on these pages...she's been in charge of gifting the Russians with our most advanced missile technology as an appetizer to that 'more flexible' missile defense agreement Prsident Obama promised the Russians once he's re-elected.

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