Lawmakers: When Did Defense Nominee Know of Alleged Moscow Treaty Breach?

Global Security Newswire Staff
Feb. 21, 2014, 5:22 a.m.

An Obama nom­in­ee to a seni­or Pentagon post will have to an­swer ques­tions next week on his know­ledge of al­leged Rus­si­an vi­ol­a­tions of an arms con­trol pact.

Bri­an McK­eon has been nom­in­ated to the po­s­i­tion of prin­cip­al deputy un­der­sec­ret­ary of De­fense for policy. In the buildup to next week’s Sen­ate con­firm­a­tion hear­ing, two Re­pub­lic­an law­makers have writ­ten to the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, de­mand­ing to know wheth­er the cur­rent Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Coun­cil chief of staff was aware back in 2010 that Rus­sia was sus­pec­ted of vi­ol­at­ing a nuc­le­ar-forces re­duc­tion pact, the Daily Beast re­por­ted.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion re­cently ac­know­ledged hav­ing con­cerns that Rus­sia is in breach of the 1987 In­ter­me­di­ate-Range Nuc­le­ar Forces Treaty, though it has yet to form­ally ac­cuse Mo­scow of any vi­ol­a­tion. The ap­par­ent source of con­cern is Rus­si­an test­ing of a new ground-launched cruise mis­sile, dat­ing back to 2008. The agree­ment pro­hib­its Rus­sia and the United States from pro­du­cing, stock­pil­ing or test­ing any cruise or bal­list­ic mis­siles with ranges between 300 and 3,400 miles.

In their let­ter, Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee mem­bers Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Ro­ger Wick­er (R-Miss.) de­man­ded to know wheth­er McK­eon was aware of the al­leged treaty breach at the time when he was act­ing as a key White House rep­res­ent­at­ive on Cap­it­ol Hill dur­ing the push to se­cure Sen­ate rat­i­fic­a­tion of the New START treaty, ac­cord­ing to the news pub­lic­a­tion.

“Based on your role as Vice Pres­id­ent [Joe] Biden’s lead ne­go­ti­at­or on the New START treaty and as one of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s primary li­ais­ons with the Sen­ate dur­ing the New START rat­i­fic­a­tion pro­cess, we are in­ter­ested in what you knew about po­ten­tial vi­ol­a­tions of the INF treaty and what in­form­a­tion was shared with the Sen­ate,” the two sen­at­ors said.

Wick­er and Ayotte also want an­swers on why it took the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion so many years to up­date Con­gress on its con­cerns about pos­sible treaty trans­gres­sions by Mo­scow.

“If the ad­min­is­tra­tion knew about po­ten­tial vi­ol­a­tions dur­ing con­sid­er­a­tion of the treaty and did not fully in­form the Sen­ate of these vi­ol­a­tions while it de­bated New START, this would rep­res­ent a ser­i­ous ab­rog­a­tion of the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s re­spons­ib­il­it­ies,” states the let­ter, which was viewed by the Daily Beast.

A Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee aide told the news web­site that McK­eon’s pos­sible know­ledge of pur­por­ted Rus­si­an treaty vi­ol­a­tions could sty­mie his con­firm­a­tion.

“It is not yet clear wheth­er the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s fail­ure to in­form the Sen­ate dur­ing [New START] treaty con­sid­er­a­tion was be­cause of neg­li­gence or a de­lib­er­ate act of bad faith,” the com­mit­tee staffer said.

Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Coun­cil spokes­wo­man Caitlyn Hay­den op­ted not to re­spond to re­quests for com­ment on the GOP let­ter.

What We're Following See More »
NO MORE CUTS
House Dems Push on Puerto Rico, Citing Zika
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

"House Democrats are stepping up pressure on Republicans to advance legislation addressing Puerto Rico’s worsening debt crisis by issuing a report arguing that austerity cuts can’t be sustained and have made the island more vulnerable to the mosquito-borne Zika virus." Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee released a report yesterday that argued "further sharp reductions in government spending can’t be a part of a legislative solution"—especially with a rainy season boosting the mosquito population and stressing an island health system already struggling to deal with the Zika virus.

Source:
USING LOCAL CELLS
Clapper: ISIS Can Stage Attacks in U.S.
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"ISIS has the capability to stage a Paris-style attack in the U.S. using local cells to strike in multiple locations and inflict dozens of casualties, according to the Obama administration's top U.S. intelligence official." Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told CNN's Peter Bergen that such a scenario is "something we worry about a lot in the United States, that they could conjure up a raid like they did in Paris or Brussels."

Source:
WILL ANNOUNCE PICK BEFORE CONVENTION
Trump to Name VP Search Committee
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Donald J. Trump said on Wednesday that he expected to reveal his vice presidential pick sometime in July—before the Republican National Convention in Cleveland—but added that he would soon announce a committee to handle the selection process, which would include Dr. Ben Carson." He said he's inclined to name a traditional political figure, unlike himself.

Source:
AFFECTS WORKERS EARNING MORE THAN $50K
Business, Nonprofits Panicking Over Labor’s New Overtime Rules
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Groups have flocked to the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs to ask for last-minute changes" to the Department of Labor's new overtime rules, which would require that businesses pay overtime to any salaried employee making more than $50,440 per year, up from the current $23,660. Business interests, as well as some nonprofits, say the move could lead to mass change in workers' statuses, from salaried to hourly. "The White House office held 22 meetings on the proposal in April, according to its calendar, and groups say more meetings are planned this week." Last month, National Journal's Alex Brown reported on how the change might affect Washington.

Source:
KAUFMAN, HUNTSMAN ALSO MAY JUMP ON BOARD
Ed Rollins Joins Pro-Trump Super PAC
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

Republican gun-for-hire Ed Rollins is hopping on the bandwagon, er, the Great America PAC, "an outside group that’s supporting Trump. ... Rollins isn’t the only GOP mainstay coming around to Trump. In recent days, Republican veterans including Republican National Committeeman Ron Kaufman and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman have expressed an openness to him."

Source:
×