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The Trump administration may withdraw the United States from a treaty with Russia that Moscow uses to conduct surveillance operations across the United States—and has repeatedly violated by denying the United States access to Russian airspace.
The Open Skies Treaty, which went into effect in 2002, permits reciprocal unarmed reconnaissance flights by the participants, which include the United States, Russia, and more than 30 European partners. In recent years, the treaty has caused consternation among the highest levels of the U.S. national security community due to Moscow’s repeated and increasingly severe violations, including deploying advanced technology that can be used to conduct espionage operations.
Administration - Officials - Washington - Free - Beacon
Senior administration officials told the Washington Free Beacon that the president is considering pulling out of the treaty due to Moscow's continued noncompliance.
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The treaty was the subject of a fiery exchange this week between Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Tex.) and Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation Christopher Ford, in which Cruz highlighted a broad consensus among past and present national security officials that Russia exploits the treaty to undermine U.S. national security.
Russia - United - States - Reconnaissance - Cities
"We are allowing Russia to fly over the United States to engage in reconnaissance on our major cities, our defense infrastructure, New York City, Washington, D.C., we're making ourselves more vulnerable," Cruz said during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting this week. "And we're gaining, as I understand it, little to nothing because everything we would gain from the over flights we gain from our satellite technology, and Russia is not complying with the treaty. How is it possibly in our interest to benefit the Russian military by exposing our defenses while not gaining serious actionable intelligence...
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