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State Department Disputes Report That U.S. Revealed British Nuclear Secrets

The State Department has responded to the reports I wrote about earlier today that the U.S. had revealed British nuclear secrets in an effort to get agreement from Russian on New START:

The U.S. State Department maintains that there is little news behind the breathless headlines. State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley emails TIME:

This is bunk. Under the 1991 START Treaty, the U.S. agreed to notify Russia of specific nuclear cooperation with the United Kingdom, such as the transfer of SLBM’s [submarine launch ballistic missiles] to the UK, or their maintenance or modernization. This is under an existing pattern of cooperation throughout that treaty and is expected to continue under New START. We simply carried forward and updated this notification procedure to the new treaty. There was no secret agreement and no compromise of the UK’s independent nuclear deterrent.

Assuming this is accurate, there would seem to be absolutely nothing to this story, and no need for outrage.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. […] 2: I have written more about the State Department’s response to these charges in a separate post. FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Doug Mataconis, Europe, National Security, Politicians, US […]

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  2. PJ says:

    @Doug:
    “Assuming this is accurate, there would seem to be absolutely nothing to this story, and no need for outrage.”

    I guess that depends on whether the UK agreed to it in 1991. And if not, who was it that allowed this to be added to the treaty? Bush I or Reagan?

    I do hope that Nile Gardiner will continue to investigate this. Even if it’s twenty years ago, it still isn’t very nice to sell out allies.

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  3. […] UPDATE: The U.S. State Department maintains that there is little news behind the breathless headlines. State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley emails TIME: This is bunk. Under the 1991 START Treaty, the U.S. agreed to notify Russia of specific nuclear cooperation with the United Kingdom, such as the transfer of SLBM’s [submarine launch ballistic missiles] to the UK, or their maintenance or modernization. This is under an existing pattern of cooperation throughout that treaty and is expected to continue under New START. We simply carried forward and updated this notification procedure to the new treaty. There was no secret agreement and no compromise of the UK’s independent nuclear deterrent. Posted on Friday, February 4, 2011, at 22:02. […]

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  4. Tano says:

    “…there would seem to be absolutely nothing to this story, and no need for outrage.”

    The need for outrage amongst those on the right exists independently of any facts relating to any story. Its a drug, and there be junkies.

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  5. We’re debating the wrong issue. The question is not whether language in a current or former treaty requires this disclosure, (An interpretation that is subjective at best and ertain to be contested by the British.) but rather the harm done to our national security, Britain’s national security, and to the relationship between the United States and Great Britain.

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  6. Herb says:

    “no need for outrage.”

    Or investigations, apparently.

    As to the “harm done to our national security, Britain’s national security, and to the relationship between the United States and Great Britain,”it’s probably nil. The UK, the US, and Russia will not be using their nuclear arsenals on each other (or anyone else) any time soon. The Cold War is over. Let’s act like it.

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  7. anjin-san says:

    > Assuming this is accurate, there would seem to be absolutely nothing to this story, and no need for outrage.

    In other words, when you were slamming Obama earlier and calling for investigations, you had been played…

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  8. jmc says:

    Yeup. Here it is..

    8. notification, no later than 48 hours after it has been completed, of the transfer of items to or from a third State in accordance with a pattern of cooperation existing at the time of signature of the Treaty referred to in Article XVI of the Treaty and the First Agreed Statement in the Annex to the Treaty on Agreed Statements. Such notification shall include: the number and type of items transferred; the date of transfer; and the location of transfer;

    http://www.fas.org/nuke/control/start1/text/notfypro.htm#notfyproII.

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  9. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    “Assuming this is accurate,…”

    And we all know that our government would never lie to us.

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  10. tom p says:

    “And we all know that our government would never lie to us.”

    Ummm let’s see, 2 Treaties debated and passed in the Senate, read into the Congressional Record, there for all to see and READ.

    Why don’t you guys try it? Ohh, wait a minute, baseless accusations are so much easier.

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  11. […] Jake Tapper comes this short confirmation from a British official of the State Department’s response to the Telegraph Wikileaks story: A knowledgeable source with the British government, speaking anonymously because his government has […]

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