Gaffney Falsely Suggests New START Hasn't Been Vetted

››› ››› ERIC SCHROECK

In arguing against New START, Frank Gaffney falsely suggested the treaty is being pushed through Congress without "rigorous vetting." In fact, there have been about twice the amount of questions asked for the record about the new treaty than the original; moreover, there have been at least 20 Senate hearings on New START - comparable to the amount held to discuss the original treaty.

Gaffney Suggests New START Has Not Been Subject To "Rigorous Vetting"

Gaffney Suggests New START Has Not Been Vetted. In a Washington Times column arguing against Senate ratification of New START, Gaffney wrote:

Those who believe the United States must practice the authentic Reagan philosophy of "peace through strength" will accept no substitutes. Pretending to follow in his footsteps while voting to weaken America and embolden our enemies in a lame-duck session will be remembered and punished at the polls by constituents who expect senators to do their constitutional duties by rigorously vetting treaties and providing for the common defense. [The Washington Times, 12/14/10]

In Fact, More Questions Have Been Asked For The Record About New START Than The Original

More Than 900 Questions Have Been Asked For The Record About New START. In a November interview, Ellen Tauscher, undersecretary of State for arms control and international security, stated that "[t]here have been over 900 questions for the record [about New START] from virtually any senator that wanted to offer a question." [NPR, 11/17/10]

CAP: More Than Double The Amount Of Questions Have Been Asked About New START Than Original START. The Center for American Progress noted that nearly 1,000 questions have been asked about New START for the record, stating that this is "more than twice the total number of questions submitted about the original START treaty, which was an entirely new treaty." The Senate voted to approve the original START treaty by a 93-6 vote. [Center for American Progress, 9/15/10]

Original START Negotiator: New START "Has Undergone As Much Examination As The Treaty I Helped Negotiate." In a November NewsHour interview, Richard Burt, a chief U.S. negotiator for the original START treaty, argued that New START has "clearly" been "examined carefully":

BURT: First of all, Jim [Woolsey], suggests, in a way, that if it went to a lame-duck session, that the treaty really hasn't been examined carefully. And it clearly has. There have been over 20 briefings of the Congress, of the Senate on the treaty. There have been over 900 questions answered. In fact, this treaty has undergone as much examination as the treaty I helped negotiate in 1991. [PBS' NewsHour, 11/17/10]

Hearings On New START Comparable To Original Treaty, Which Was Overwhelmingly Approved By Senate

Kerry: Senate Has Held More Than 20 Hearings On New START. On December 3, Sen. John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, stated:

The Senate has been debating the new arms control agreement with Russia for six months and held over 20 hearings in all between the Foreign Relations Committee, the Armed Services Committee, and the Select Committee on Intelligence. The Foreign Relations Committee conducted 12 hearings, heard from more than 20 witnesses, and approved the treaty with a bipartisan vote in September. [Boston.com, 12/3/10]

20 Senate Hearings Were Held On Original START. According to the State Department's website, 20 Senate hearings were conducted to discuss the original START treaty. The Senate subsequently ratified the original START treaty by a 93-6 vote. [State.gov, accessed 12/15/10]

GOP Sen. Snowe Said That Treaty Has Been "Properly Vetted" In Expressing Support

Snowe: "I Have Worked With My Colleagues To Scrutinize This Agreement And Ensure Any Classified Matters Are Properly Vetted." As The Huffington Post noted, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) expressed her support for New START, stating:

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, known as New START, was signed by the United States and Russia on April 8th and transmitted for the advice and consent of the Senate on May 13th of this year. Since then, the U.S. Senate has held 18 hearings and as a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, I have worked with my colleagues to scrutinize this agreement and ensure any classified matters are properly vetted. Much has changed since the original START was first negotiated in 1991, and as a result I have supported efforts to make certain that questions regarding our ability to verify Russian compliance with the Treaty's limits, to develop and deploy effective missile defenses, and to modernize our nuclear weapons complex, have been satisfactorily resolved.

I am confident that New START will provide predictability in our relationship with Russia and thus enhance global stability, and most importantly, our national security. Therefore, if the Majority moves to consider New START under a framework that allows for sufficient debate and amendments, I intend to support the Resolution of Advice and Consent. [The Huffington Post, 12/10/10]

Republican Senators Have Already Voted To Approve Treaty. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the treaty on September 16 in a 14-4 vote. GOP Sens. Richard Lugar, Bob Corker, and Johnny Isakson voted in support. [Reuters, 9/16/10]

In Op-ed Supporting New START, Republican Secretaries Of State Say Administration Has "Provided Reasonable Answers" To Questions. In a Washington Post op-ed supporting New START, former GOP Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, James Baker, Lawrence Eagleburger, and Colin Powell stated:

We do not make a recommendation about the exact timing of a Senate ratification vote. That is a matter for the administration and Senate leaders. The most important thing is to have bipartisan support for the treaty, as previous nuclear arms treaties did.

Although each of us had initial questions about New START, administration officials have provided reasonable answers. We believe there are compelling reasons Republicans should support ratification. [The Washington Post, 12/2/10]

Person
Frank Gaffney, Washington Times
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