Pentagon/White House Provide Talking Points on Iraq Debate

Coverage of the debate in both the House and the Senate on measures to endorse the current policy in Iraq, referred to a mysterious set of talking points, called the Iraq Floor Debate Prep Book. The Washington Post wrote:

“Their position was bolstered by a 74-page document drafted by the White House and distributed by the Pentagon, replete with talking points, quotations and timelines to back administration policy. Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) called the document “an affront to the American people.”

Some have raised questions about the legality of the document (because of bans against using Executive branch funds to lobby Congress) and it was formally withdrawn. We asked Senator Lautenberg’s office for a copy of the document, which it kindly provided, along with a letter to Secretary Rumsfeld.

37 Nobel Laureates Sign Letter Opposing the Indian-US Nuclear Deal

Thirty seven Nobel Laureates signed a letter opposing the administration’s proposed nuclear trade deal between India and the United States. The letter was released at a press briefing at the National Press Club yesterday.

The Federation of American Scientists was founded by scientists who had worked on the Manhattan Project to develop the first atomic bombs. The founders of FAS understood that the technology that made nuclear power possible and the technology that made nuclear weapons possible were inextricably entangled. One of the founding issues of the Federation was, therefore, openness and international inspection, if not control, of all the world’s nuclear facilities. They recognized that this was the only hope of avoiding wide-spread proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Here we are sixty years later and faced with the same issue. The Federation strongly supports improved economic, cultural, trade, academic, and security relations with India. We would like to see Chinese, as well as US, Russian, indeed, everyone’s nuclear arsenals dramatically reduced and eventually eliminated. The Indian-US nuclear deal further undermines the already weakened non-proliferation regime and pushes the world in the wrong direction, toward greater legitimacy of nuclear weapons.

The Federation of American Scientists is proud that thirty seven Nobel Laureates on its Board of Sponsors agreed to endorse this letter to Congress.

US Air Force Publishes New Missile Threat Assessment

The Air Force has published a new report about the threat from ballistic and cruise missiles. The new report, Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat, presents the Air Force National Air and Space Intelligence Center’s (NASIC) assessment of current and emerging weapon systems deployed or under development by Russia, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, Iran, Syria and others.

Among the news in the report is a different and higher estimate for China’s future nuclear arsenal than was presented in the previous NASIC report from 2003. Whereas the previous assessment stated that China in 15 years will have 75-100 warheads on ICBMs capable of reaching the United States, the 2006 report states that this number will be “well over 100” warheads. NASIC also believes that a new Chinese cruise missile under development will have nuclear capability.

Also new is that NASIC reports that the Indian Agni I ballistic missile has not yet been deployed despite claims by the Indian government that the weapon was “inducted” into the Indian Army in 2004. Contrary to claims made by some media and experts, the NASIC report states that the Indian Bramos cruise missile does not have a nuclear capability. The Babur cruise missile under development by Pakistan, however, is assessed to have a nuclear capability.

A copy of the report, which was published in March 2006 and recently obtained by the Federation of American Scientists, is available in full along with previous versions here.