Missile defense deal?

Under Secretary of State for International Security and Arms Control Ellen Tauscher

From Bill Gertz, the Washington Times:  The Obama administration is secretly working with Russia to conclude an agreement that many officials fear will limit U.S. missile defenses, a key objective of Moscow since it opposed plans for a U.S. missile defense interceptor base in Eastern Europe, according to American officials involved in arms control issues.

According to the officials, the administration last month presented a draft agreement on missile defenses to the Russians as part of talks between Ellen Tauscher, undersecretary of state for international security and arms control, and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Rybakov.

The secret talks and possible agreement have triggered alarm among pro-missile defense advocates who are concerned that the administration, in its effort to "reset" ties with Moscow, will make further concessions constraining current and future missile defenses. …

On Tuesday, Rose Gottemoeller, assistant secretary of state for verification and the chief START negotiator, was questioned about the administration’s missile defense negotiations in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"Let me state unequivocally today on the record before this committee that there were no, I repeat no, backroom deals made in connection with the new START treaty; not on missile defense nor on any other issue," she said.

However, officials said later that Ms. Gottemoeller’s comments sidestepped the question of missile defense talks outside the START negotiation process. (photo: U.S. Department of State)

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