Inside the Ring

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A classified State Department cable from 2008 made public on Saturday revealed the Obama administration’s strategy for trying to win Senate confirmation of the previously defeated Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

During a meeting with India’s foreign minister, Ellen Tauscher, the undersecretary of state for arms control, was quoted in the cable as saying that Vice President Joseph R. Biden was leading domestic U.S. efforts win passage of the treaty that bans underground nuclear tests.

According to the cable, made public by WikiLeaks, Mr. Biden would not “take” the treaty to the Senate for a vote “unless the required 67 votes are ensured,” Mrs. Tauscher said.

The treaty was voted down in 1999 as not in the national security interest.

Ms. Tauscher said in May that the administration plans to launch an “education” campaign aimed at winning Senate approval for the treaty. So far there are no signs of the campaign, and the outlook for ratification remains bleak.

Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, the senior Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a leading arms-control advocate, has said he still opposes the treaty, based on its questionable verification provisions and ill-defined wording on what constitutes a nuclear test.

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About the Author
Bill Gertz

Bill Gertz

Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon ( 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.

Mr. ...

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