Tauscher on test ban

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

A clas­si­fied State Depart­ment cable from 2008 made pub­lic June 19 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 to 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 arm­scon­trol ad­vo­cate, has said he still op­poses the treaty, based on its ques­tion­able ver­i­fi­ca­tion pro­vi­sions and ill-de­fined word­ing on what con­sti­tutes a nu­clear test.

Bill Gertz can be reached at in­sid­e­ther ing@wash­ing­ton­times.com.

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