Congressman Mike Turner, Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, wrote to the president today, requesting an “urgent explanation of [his] comments to President Medvedev in Seoul this morning.” The president had stated that “this is my last election, and after my election I'll have more flexibility,” in regards to missile defense in Europe.
“Congress has made exquisitely clear to your Administration and to other nations that it will block all attempts to weaken U.S. missile defenses. As the Chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, which authorizes U.S. missile defense and nuclear weapons policy, I want to make perfectly clear that my colleagues and I will not allow any attempts to trade missile defense of the United States to Russia or any other country,” wrote Turner.
Congress has included in the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress, which the president has signed into law, a provision constraining his ability to share classified U.S. missile defense information with the Russian Federation. Congress took this step because it was clear based on official testimony and Administration comments in the press that classified information about U.S. missile defenses, including hit-to-kill technology and velocity at burnout information, may be on the table as negotiating leverage for the president’s reset with Russia.
“Despite signing the FY12 defense authorization legislation into law, you then issued a signing statement signaling that you may treat that provision protecting U.S. missile defense information as non-binding. This morning’s comments, on top of that action, suggests that you and your administration have plans for U.S. missile defenses that you believe will not stand up to electoral scrutiny,” added Turner.
NOTE: The full letter can be found here.