WASHINGTON, May 22 (RIA Novosti) – Republican US lawmakers are taking steps to bar the United States from sharing classified missile defense technology information with Russia, draft legislation that was amended in the US Congress Wednesday shows.
The lawmakers included language in the proposed Defense Authorization Bill, which was in the early stages of the legislative process in Congress on Wednesday, that would limit funding for the Department of Defense if it were to be used “to provide the Russian Federation with access to certain missile defense technology,” a copy of the draft bill that was seen by RIA Novosti shows.
The move to block missile defense data-sharing comes as Russian Federation Security Council Secretary Gen. Nikolai Patrushev held talks in Washington with US National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon and US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to discuss a range of issues, including missile defense.
Moscow has repeatedly sought assurances that a missile defense shield that the United States is establishing in Europe will not target Russian strategic nuclear forces.
The move to block the sharing of missile defense data with Russia could create an obstacle to arms control talks between Washington and Moscow.
Rep. Mo Brooks, a Republican from Alabama, in March introduced a separate bill called the Missile Defense Information Act that also bans US Department of Defense funding “to be used to provide the Russian Federation with access to information” on specific missile defense technology.
Brooks said that if the bill does not pass into law, Republicans “plan to add language to the annual defense authorization bill prohibiting the sharing of missile defense technology,” Brooks told the conservative Washington Free Beacon in an interview.
Vice Adm. James Syring, the director of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency, said recently that the administration of US President Barack Obama had discussed the possibility of sharing missile defense data with Russia, the Associated Press reported.