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Did Bolton ‘Fix’ Intelligence on Russian Nuclear Testing, in Order To Deep-Six Test Ban Treaty?

June 4, 2019 (EIRNS)—On May 29, Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, Jr., director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, claimed that Russia could be violating the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty with low-yield nuclear tests at its facility on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago on the Arctic. However, Ashley failed to present any evidence of such nuclear testing by Russia or anyone else. Michael Krepon, a co-founder of the Stimson Institute in Washington, states in a Forbes column, yesterday, that the head of the CTBT Organization, established to monitor very low yield explosions, including in the Arctic region of which General Ashley spoke, has said that his organization’s network of more than 300 sophisticated sensors has detected no suspicious readings.

Krepon argues, in fact, that Ashley’s accusations could have less to do with Russia than with a drive by the Trump Administration to abandon yet another international arms control agreement. “As a result of General Ashley’s statement, it’s now open season against the CTBT for those who want to trash another treaty,” Krepon writes. He states that critics of the treaty have already called on Trump to “unsign” the treaty. The United States signed it in 1997, but at the time the Republican-controlled Senate refused to ratify it. “By ‘unsigning’ the CTBT, Trump would tell the world that the United States is no longer bound to respect the Treaty’s obligation not to test nuclear weapons,” Krepon reports.

Krepon raises the question of National Security Adviser John Bolton’s possible involvement in the DIA assessment, given his long history of opposing arms control agreements and his record of “ ‘fixing’ intelligence” in order to fit policy objectives.

“Bolton is on record opposing U.S. ratification and entry into force of the CTBT. Is he once again ‘fixing the facts’ to suit his policy preferences? Is the Defense Intelligence Agency once again guilty of reaching conclusions beyond available evidence, and misrepresenting the evidence it has? Or is there strong evidence of Russian violations of the CTBT’s prohibition on testing?”

Krepon asks. “We deserve answers to these questions before opening the floodgates to resumed nuclear testing.”

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