New START and Obama’s Mysterious Trip to Russia

July 14, 2010 04:04

Documents suggest that the Russian or U.S. position on New START could have been affected by the activities of the Russian intelligence agents. Still, Sen. Lugar remains completely devoted to negotiations, agreements and a close relationship with Putin’s Russia. While he posted an attack on Romney for opposing the New START, a search of Lugar’s website finds no demands for any investigations to determine what influence the Russian intelligence operations may have had on the final terms in the treaty.

By Cliff Kincaid at Accuracy In Media

When 2008 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney attacked President Obama’s new arms treaty with Russia as a dangerous trap, Republican Senator Richard Lugar came to the defense of the Democratic president and attacked Romney as “misinformed.” But Lugar’s desperate effort to save Obama’s controversial treaty, whose passage has been badly damaged by revelations of Russian spying, doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Lugar, one of the leading globalists in the Senate, was a mentor for then-Senator Barack Obama during a controversial three-day visit they made to Russia and Eastern Europe in 2005.

During the visit, Russian authorities detained Obama and Lugar, threatened to search their plane, and examined their passports. Strangely, an official report from Lugar’s office about the trip ignored the incident.

Not only is Lugar very close to Obama, one of his key congressional staffers is Carl Meacham, who used to work for Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid.

The push for ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which requires 67 votes for passage, has been complicated by the recent arrests—and quick release—of 10 Russian agents acting on behalf of the SVR, the Russian foreign intelligence service which serves as the successor to the old Soviet KGB. The Hill newspaper noted that court documents in the case demonstrated that agents “were asked by Moscow to collect information about the treaty” in advance of a 2009 trip by Obama to Russia, during which the new President “called on Moscow to stop viewing America as an adversary,” as the British publication the Guardian put it.

One document in the spy case reveals that Moscow had “requested information on the U.S. position with respect to a new Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, Afghanistan, and Iran’s nuclear weapons program.” It said Russian agents were directed to obtain information on “[Russia] policy team members,” but the names of four Obama Administration officials who were targeted in this effort were deleted.

The document says Moscow also wanted its agents to obtain information from sources “close to State Department, government, major think tanks.”

One of the documents says the Russians were interested in sources “who are in, or able to infiltrate, United States policy-making circles,” and that one of the Russian agents “met with an employee of the U.S. Government with regard to nuclear weapons research.”

The documents suggest that the Russian or U.S. position on New START could have been affected by the activities of the Russian intelligence agents.

Lugar favors the controversial treaty with Russia, but has also adopted a left-wing approach to relations with Communist Cuba, having issued a report (PDF) in 2009 urging the abandonment of the bipartisan policy of isolating and using economic sanctions against the terror-supporting dictatorship. The report was written by Meacham, who is officially in charge of Latin American affairs at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

A frequent traveler to Russia and the old Soviet Union, Lugar is one of the most left-wing Republican U.S. senators on foreign policy issues, having proudly accepted campaign contributions from the pro-world government group, Citizens for Global Solutions (CGS). Lugar even gave the group an interview, advocating passage of another treaty, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The CGS, which changed its name from World Federalist Association, is targeting Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker as a possible vote for the new Russian treaty. A vote could come in the next two weeks.


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