- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
Inside the Ring
MCFAUL ON SM-3 DATA
The nomination of U.S. Ambassador-designate to Russia Michael McFaul is in trouble, based on recent responses to senators’ questions about a possible plan to give sensitive data to Russia on the SM-3 anti-missile interceptor.
Several senators continue to hold up his nomination, and, as reported earlier in this space, Sen. Mark Kirk recently asked Mr. McFaul to provide answers about whether the Obama administration plans to provide extremely sensitive missile technical data to Russia as part of efforts to convince Moscow that U.S. missile defenses are not targeted against Russian ICBMs.
Mr. McFaul was asked directly if the administration is considering giving Russia so-called “velocity burnout” data, known as VBO, on SM-3 anti-missile interceptors.
In a detailed response, Mr. McFaul acknowledged that sharing the classified SM-3 velocity data is a possibility.
“The United States is currently assessing what information it would be in our interests to share with the Russian Federation and others regarding the capabilities of U.S. missile defense systems,” Mr. McFaul stated.
Mr. McFaul then sought to play down security concerns by stating that Russia probably learned details of the SM-3 speed from technical intelligence from monitoring tests.
He said the administration does not intend to give the Russians telemetry data - signals sent to ground stations during test flights - about missile-defense interceptors or target vehicles.
Security officials are concerned that if Moscow learns the technical parameters of the SM-3, one of the most advanced interceptors in the U.S. arsenal, Russia will be able to develop countermeasures for the missile or compromise the effectiveness of the weapon by providing the data to nations such as China, Iran or North Korea.
Also, knowledge of the SM-3 technical parameters could be used in arms-control talks as part of Moscow’s push for a legal limits on U.S. defenses.
Such details of a missile’s burnout speed also could be used to develop ballistic missiles that travel faster than the interceptors, U.S. officials said.
Mr. McFaul said a special security committee that can waive rules against providing classified U.S. data to foreign governments has not been asked to make an exception for SM-3 velocity burnout data.
However, he said the National Disclosure Policy Committee (NDPC) has approved an exception for Russia to watch an SM-3 missile-defense flight test. Earlier, it approved waivers for Russian viewing of flight tests for a ground-based interceptor (GBI) and Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile in 2007 and 2010. Viewing flight tests normally is restricted to prevent foreign intelligence services from learning classified capabilities from U.S. weapons.
Mr. McFaul further explained in written responses to Mr. Kirk that a decision to provide velocity burnout data would not violate assurances provided to the Senate last year that no U.S. missile telemetry data would be given to Russia under the New START arms treaty. Telemetry data, he said, originates onboard a missile and is encrypted.
“Velocity burn out (VBO) is a performance specification that is readily observed and confirmed by land-based, sea-based, and/or space-based sensors,” Mr. McFaul said.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.
He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- House pushes through two-year Ryan-Murray budget deal
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- VEGAS RULES: Harry Reid pushed feds to change ruling for casino's big-money foreigners
- All-out war breaks out in GOP over budget pact
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Chef Mary Moran discusses the food we eat, where it comes from and what it does for us.
An informed and often humorous take on the world of advertising, public relations and social media. 100% Pure. Not from concentrate.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow