Republican lawmakers are demanding to know whether a senior U.S. envoy in 2010 neglected to inform the Senate about Russian treaty compliance concerns.
Ten Republican senators on Friday wrote to the State Department, requesting that its internal watchdog investigate if the agency’s then-assistant secretary for arms control was aware of Obama administration suspicions that Russia might be violating a 1987 bilateral arms control accord and did not inform the Senate of those worries during the chamber’s contentious debate over ratifying the New START accord, the Associated Press reported.
Now the undersecretary of State for arms control and international security, Rose Gottemoeller in her previous role as assistant secretary of State served as one of the government’s chief ambassadors to Capitol Hill on New START ratification. Gottemoeller’s nomination to become undersecretary was held up earlier this year amid some Republican senators’ concerns that she had failed “to quickly pursue evidence of Russia’s [non]compliance with multiple arms control agreements and her delay in making the Senate aware of these violations.”
Earlier in May, Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) called on the Pentagon’s inspector general to examine whether the Defense Department had knowledge of “any and all compliance concerns regarding the [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces] Treaty and the Russian Federation during the process of the negotiation and ratification of the New START treaty.”
The INF pact bars both Russia and the United States from testing or fielding any ballistic or cruise missile with ranges between 300 and 3,400 miles.
Gottemoeller earlier this month said the U.S. government is worried that Russia is violating the accord, and that those concerns are connected to the testing of a ground-launched cruise missile. “We have serious compliance concerns with the Russians with regards to the INF Treaty,” the undersecretary said. “I’ve raised them repeatedly. We will continue to do so until we’re satisfied.”
The House last week approved a bill that would require the administration to release an unclassified report on Russian compliance with the treaty every 90 days after the legislation becomes law. The report is to detail how President Obama is making Moscow “accountable for being in material breach” of the accord, and whether it remains good policy for Washington to continue to observe the treaty itself, according to the bill.