Is President Trump Basing His Foreign Policy Decisions On Faux Russian Intel?

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Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and President Ronald Reagan exchange pens during the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty signing ceremony

The following report is being touted as being exclusive to the publication of the Daily Beast. That means that I’ve not seen another publication repeating the details independently from what the Daily Beast has shared. If true, this story is chilling as it tells how Russia’s President Vladimir Putin had faked intel about how Russia had tested a treaty-violating missile.

Why would Russia put on a faux show, as the republican President Donald Trump had already announced that the US would be withdrawing from the 1987 INF Treaty (The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty) on October 20, 2018, citing Russian non-compliance?

See article: The Trump administration is preparing a major mistake on the INF Treaty View on brookings.edu

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As per Wikipedia, “The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty, formally Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles; was an arms control treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union (and its successor state, the Russian Federation). U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev signed the treaty on 8 December 1987.”  

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Here is the rest of the story…

On February 18, 2019, Ankit Panda of the Daily Beast penned the following report, “U.S. Intelligence: Russia Tried to Con the World With Bogus Missile” (“The Russians hyped a cruise missile launch earlier this year. But a briefing by the CIA and a second agency determined that it was essentially a hoax.”)

Excerpts:

“On Jan. 23, Russian military officials held a press conference showing off what they said was a cruise missile at the center of a years-long arms control controversy between Washington and Moscow.”

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“Except the presentation was essentially a hoax, according to a classified briefing prepared by U.S. intelligence. Neither the missile, nor its launch vehicle, nor the accompanying schematics were what Russia claimed them to be.”

“The alleged Russian misdirection came just days before the United States announced that it would withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty—the treaty that Russia violated, in the U.S. view.”

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“Almost nothing Russia showed off to support its claims at that press conference had anything to do with the missile the U.S. is most interested in, according to an assessment briefing put together by the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.”

“Earlier this month, those two U.S. intelligence agencies determined that the cruise missile canisters and launch vehicle the Russian Ministry of Defense publicly showed at the briefing were not related to the missile that the US has argued since 2014 violates the 1987 treaty, The Daily Beast has learned.”

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Merkel nudges China to help save the INF Treaty

“According to 2 U.S. government sources with knowledge of the American assessment of that Russian press conference, the treaty-violating missile is larger than the canister shown publicly by the Russian Ministry of Defense and uses a separate launch vehicle.”

“At the press conference, the Russian Ministry of Defense argued that the missile that the United States had said violated the treaty was simply a variant of an existing cruise missile known as the 9M728 with improved guidance. The official Russian claim was that the missile had a range that was actually 10 kilometers shorter than the older missile, due to an expanded electronics section that added mass over the older version.”

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“To support these claims, the Ministry of Defense showed reporters what it claimed were the schematics of the 2 missiles, too. But the schematic of the 9M729 was not of the actual missile, according to the U.S. assessment. Alongside the schematics, reporters were also shown and allowed to freely film and photograph a cruise missile launch tube and the vehicle meant to carry and launcher the missile. No actual missile was shown publicly, however.”

“The launch vehicle that was shown, too, was not of a kind that is compatible with the 9M729, a U.S. government source told The Daily Beast.”

“Beginning in 2014, the U.S. government has publicly alleged that Russia violated the 1987 arms control agreement, which saw the US and the Soviet Union agree to destroy their existing arsenals of ground-launched cruise and ballistic missiles with ranges between 500 km and 5,500 km and forswear the testing, production, or deployment of such missiles indefinitely.”

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“Beginning in the early 2000s, Russia developed the 9M729, known to the U.S. intelligence community as the SSC-8, which Washington argues violates the treaty. Five years after the Obama administration first alleged that Russia had violated the treaty, the Trump administration announced that it would withdraw from it earlier this month.”

“We cannot be the only country in the world unilaterally bound by this treaty, or any other,” President Donald Trump said in a statement released on Feb. 1. “We will move forward with developing our own military response options and will work with NATO and our other allies and partners to deny Russia any military advantage from its unlawful conduct.” Shortly thereafter, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States would withdraw, activating a 180-day withdrawal mechanism provided for by the treaty.”

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“The joint CIA and NGA assessment on Russia’s violation “reiterated that six tests exceeded 500 km,“ one source told The Daily Beast. That meant Russia had demonstrated that its missiles could fly to ranges prohibited by the treaty. The longest test of the six saw the missile fly to a range of 2,070 km. The United States assesses the SSC-8 to be a road-mobile variant of the Kalibr sea-launched cruise missile, with a range capability of 2,000 km when armed with a conventional payload and a 2,350-km range capability in its nuclear variant, a source told The Daily Beast.”

“The missile was tested at least 6 times to treaty-violating ranges. In a public statement in November 2018, U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats clarified that Russia had never tested the missile to treaty-violating ranges from a road-mobile launcher. He noted that Russia had by 2015 “completed a comprehensive flight test program consisting of multiple tests of the 9M729 missile from both fixed and mobile launchers.”

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“Per Coats’ explanation, the treaty does allow Russia and the United States to conduct land-based tests of missiles to the prohibited range, provided that the missile in question is intended to be deployed on an air- or sea-based platform. The Kalibr—the sea-launched cruise missile that the SSC-8 is derived from—was tested in this manner from a fixed launcher.”

“The SSC-8 too was tested in this way and then moved to a road-mobile launcher, where it was tested to ranges below 500 km, giving it the appearance of being compliant with the treaty. According to a source, the longest-range test of the SSC-8 from a road-mobile launcher was to 350 km. Through various technical means, U.S. intelligence agencies were nonetheless able to determine that Russia had prepared the missile that had been tested to treaty-violating ranges for use on a road-mobile launcher.”

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“Russia’s response to the U.S. decision to withdraw from the treaty was reciprocal, with Russian President Vladimir Putin noting that Moscow would “suspend it as well.” Putin also threatened to begin work on new missiles that would cover the range previously prohibited by the treaty. On Feb. 5, Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu confirmed that Moscow would begin development work on a land-based Kalibr missile—the very missile that the U.S. side argues already exists and violated the treaty.”

4 comments

  1. Gday mate, who holds the line… when the USA overcomes this atrocious situation, it will never have the same honour it once had. A new generation may provide optimism and candour, but events will never be what they were. America has devolved into a self imposed and impotent mirror of a corrupt and greedy system. I sincerely hope that young persons of the world learn from this and fight to struggle against such political perfidy. You may have the greatest military, the most money, but have such small minds. Created by your own predisposition to have considered yourselves the world superpower. This is quite difficult for me to say, I have had the honour of serving with American persons, always a believer, but now. Now you must reap what you sow…
    Hugs always Dear Gronda. Much respect for your efforts.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dear Gary J.,

      The message that the US is losing in power and influence on the world stage has been delivered and received by US officials. It is heartbreaking to watch this decline which is so real.

      Recently, In Munich the US Vice President Mike Pence delivered a speech which was met with a deafening silence by the International audience. That video has been replayed over and over again on US TV news shows.

      When we finally oust this president and all of his supporters from the White House and the US Congress, it’s going to take years to recover from this assault on our US democracy.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 3 people

      • Gronda, your post and response are pertinent. His sycophants may be less aware, but the tea leaves are there. Pence’s cold reception in Poland and Munich are microcosms. The US’ has lost its voice and along with its trustworthiness. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • Dear Keith,

          We are losing stature on the world’s stage among other democratically elected leaders and rightfully so. Presidents disrespect towards them has been shocking and definitely not normal.

          When the US needs their help, US officials will be getting the middle finger.

          Hugs, Gronda

          Like

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