White House Blocks Pentagon Report on Russian Treaty Breach

ss20_irbmThe White House is blocking the release of a Pentagon risk assessment of Russia’s violation of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, according to a senior House leader.

Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, disclosed the existence of the Pentagon assessment last month and said the report is needed for Congress’ efforts to address the problem in legislation.

“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 in an Air Force Association breakfast July 8. “Congress will not continue to tolerate the administration dithering on this issue.”

Rogers said the assessment was conducted by chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, and noted that it outlines potential responses to the treaty breach.

However, Rogers noted that the assessment “seems to stay tied up in the White House.”

At the Pentagon, spokesman Capt. Greg Hicks said: “The Chairman’s assessment of Russia’s Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty violation is classified and not releasable to the public.”

Hicks said, however, that steps are being taking “across the government to address Russia’s violation of the treaty, including preserving military response options—but no decision has been made with regard to the type of response, if any.”

At the White House, a senior administration official said: “The United States continues to consider diplomatic, economic, and military responses to Russia’s violation of the INF Treaty.”

Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, said in Omaha recently that a range of options is being studied.

“Clearly as a nation, we have options and we explore those options,” Haney told the Washington Free Beacon, declining to provide details.

The four-star admiral who is in charge of U.S. nuclear and other strategic forces said he hopes the INF breach can be solved diplomatically.

“But clearly there are other options involving economics and as well as militarily that are considered,” he said July 29.

Haney said Russia has “walked away” from international norms and treaties and “that is very problematic.”

Read More at the Washington Free Beacon.

** FILE ** U.S. President Ronald Reagan, right, shakes hands with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev after the two leaders signed the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty to eliminate intermediate-range missiles during a ceremony in the White House East Room in Washington, D.C., in this Tuesday, Dec. 8, 1987 file photo.  Speaking on a U.S. proposal to base a missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic Russian missile forces chief Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov warned Monday Feb. 19, 2007 that the plan could prompt Moscow to target the former allies with its own missiles. Gen. Solovtsov said it would take only five, six years _ maybe less _ to build new, upgraded versions of Russian missiles scrapped under the INF Treaty.(AP Photo/Bob Daugherty, File)

** FILE ** U.S. President Ronald Reagan, right, shakes hands with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev after the two leaders signed the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty to eliminate intermediate-range missiles during a ceremony in the White House East Room in Washington, D.C., in this Tuesday, Dec. 8, 1987 file photo. Speaking on a U.S. proposal to base a missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic Russian missile forces chief Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov warned Monday Feb. 19, 2007 that the plan could prompt Moscow to target the former allies with its own missiles. Gen. Solovtsov said it would take only five, six years _ maybe less _ to build new, upgraded versions of Russian missiles scrapped under the INF Treaty.(AP Photo/Bob Daugherty, File)