Robert Zarate Articles

Hagel’s Support for U.S. Nuclear Disarmament: Why the Senate Should Care

12:50 PM, Jan 17, 2013

Former senator Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s nominee to be the next secretary of defense, has drawn sharp criticism for championing even deeper cuts to military spending, making statements hostile or indifferent to Israel, denigrating pro-Israel groups in the United States as “the Jewish lobby,” and objecting to the potential use of military force to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. Another issue that deserves close and careful scrutiny by senators and their staffers, however, is Hagel’s advocacy for global nuclear disarmament—and, toward that end, drastic cuts to the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

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Senators to Obama: Who’s Authorizing Benghazi Leaks to Press?

9:25 AM, Nov 03, 2012

In a letter to the White House, four members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence asked President Obama whether recent disclosures to the press of classified information on the Benghazi terrorist attacks were authorized by the Obama administration or illegal leaks subject to prosecution.

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Senators Again Urge Obama to Answer Key Questions about Benghazi Attack

10:51 AM, Oct 31, 2012

Four senators sent a letter to the White House today, urging President Obama and his advisers to answer the growing list of questions about the 9/11 attack in Benghazi, Libya, which lawmakers have posed in writing to his administration over the last month.  Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), and Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), the authors of the letter, explain to the president: 

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Obama's Deceptive Claims About Defense Spending

12:27 PM, Oct 05, 2012

President Barack Obama asserted at Wednesday’s presidential debate that Governor Mitt Romney wants to spend “$2 trillion in additional spending that the military is not asking for.”

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Inaction May Force Syrian Rebels to Deal with the Devil

4:45 PM, Jul 27, 2012

Reporting from inside Syria, Time magazine correspondent Rania Abouzeid counters the claim that extremists currently dominate the armed resistance against the Assad regime. Having interviewed a number of Islamist and non-Islamist rebels in Syria’s Idlib province, she writes:  “There has been much speculation about whether or not Islamic radicals have gained a foothold i

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MAD-Men Lawmakers Want to Kill East Coast Missile Defenses Against Iran

1:12 PM, May 16, 2012

House of Representatives lawmakers are set to debate an annual bill that authorizes military programs later this week, and a handful of Democrats have set their sights on killing provisions that would support efforts to build missile defenses by 2015 to protect America’s East Coast from future missile threats from countries like Iran.

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Lawmaker Goes on the Road to Defend Defense

7:08 AM, May 02, 2012

With the House of Representatives set to vote this month on a bill to reverse the trillion-dollar “sequestration” cuts to the military, Congressman Randy Forbes (R-Virginia) will be launching his “Defending Our Defenders” listening tour in Chesapeake, Virginia, on May 14, 2012 at 6:30 p.m.  Forbes, chair of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, started the listening tour to help make the case to the American public that sequestration will have severe co

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America’s Syria Policy Emboldens Assad—and Iran

11:03 AM, May 01, 2012

Bashar al-Assad’s security forces have brazenly slaughtered more than 10,000 Syrian civilians, and injured or detained tens of thousands more, since the anti-regime protests began in March 2011.

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Do More to Confront Assad

9:33 AM, Apr 20, 2012

In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee yesterday, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reiterated President Obama’s August 2011 demand that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad step down.

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Beware ‘Flexibility’

Apr 09, 2012

President Obama didn’t intend the world to hear him tell outgoing Russian president Dmitri Medvedev that he’d have “more flexibility” to accommodate the Kremlin’s concerns about missile defense and other issues after the election in November. But as his now infamous meeting with Medvedev in Seoul drew to a close on March 26, a hot microphone caught the president saying just that, adding: “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this can be solved, but it’s important for him”—by which he meant incoming Russian president Vladimir Putin—“to give me space.”

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Lawmakers Propose New Syria Legislation

10:01 AM, Mar 30, 2012

The United Nations reports that over 9,000 have been killed in Syria during the anti-regime uprising that has been going on for the last year. So far, however, President Obama has taken a hands-off approach, relying exclusively on diplomacy and sanctions.

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Congressman Demands Explanation of Obama’s Missile Defense Comments to Medvedev

11:21 AM, Mar 26, 2012

Congressman Mike Turner, a Republican from Ohio, sent a letter to President Obama demanding an “urgent explanation of [his] comments to [Russian] President Medvedev in Seoul this morning,” only hours after a hot microphone caught Obama privately telling Medvedev this morning that he’ll have “more flexibility” after the November 2012 elections to deal with Russian objections to U.S.-NATO missile defense.

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America’s ‘Deteriorating’ Nuclear Weapons Infrastructure

2:14 PM, Mar 09, 2012

As Washington wrangles over the size of the federal budget in a time of fiscal austerity, Congress is debating whether to hold President Obama to his promise of adequately funding the modernization of America’s nuclear arsenal and infrastructure in exchange for the Senate’s passage of the controversial New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with the Russia in December 2010. The debate has pit liberal lawmakers like Congressman Edward Markey (D, Mass.), who advocate global nuclear disarmament, against Congressman Michael Turner (R, Ohio) and other national security stalwarts, w

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Lawmaker Urges Transparency on Obama’s Unilateral Nuclear Disarmament Study

6:24 PM, Mar 08, 2012

In a Politico op-ed today, Congressman Michael Turner (R, Ohio) criticizes the Obama administration’s lack of transparency on its controversial study of future reductions to America’s nuclear deterrent—including one option that would cut the arsenal by 80 percent, down to as few as 300 deployed strategic nuclear warheads. 

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Lawmakers Urge Obama to Abandon Unilateral Nuclear Disarmament Study

10:31 AM, Feb 18, 2012

Thirty-four lawmakers sent a letter to the White House on Thursday in response to news reports that President Obama had ordered his staff to study the option of reducing America’s nuclear deterrent by 80 percent—down to as few as 300 deployed strategic nuclear warheads. The United States currently has a cap of 1,550 deployed strategic warheads under the so-called New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), the controversial arms control pact with Russia that passed the Senate in December 2010.

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Bolton and Markey: Is Obama Embracing a Post-Iran Nuclear Arms Race?

11:13 AM, Feb 14, 2012

In an op-ed published last week, former U.N. ambassador John Bolton and Congressman Ed Markey (D, Mass.) criticize President Obama for abandoning the effort to prevent a post-Iran nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

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Washington Post Debunks Nuclear Spending Hyperbole

5:49 PM, Nov 30, 2011

The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler debunks the false claim made by supporters of nuclear disarmament that the United States will spend $700 billion on nuclear weapons programs in the next decade.

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The Military’s Steep Cuts

11:05 AM, Oct 17, 2011

Recent Republican presidential candidate debates have featured a 30-second ad sponsored by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation in support of more cuts to defense spending. The commercial, however, is misleading.

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Panetta: Further Cuts Will ‘Truly Devastate Our National Defense’

10:53 AM, Oct 14, 2011

At a House Armed Services Committee yesterday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey warned against making further reductions to future defense spending, telling lawmakers that further cuts will “truly devastate our national defense.”

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Sequestration's Hidden Trillion Dollar Cut to Defense

4:16 PM, Sep 16, 2011

Unless Congress passes a law to reduce the long-term federal deficit by more than $1.2 trillion by January 2012, the debt limit deal, agreed upon last month, will result in two major cuts to the military budget.

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General Calls Deep Defense Cuts ‘Very High Risk’

9:01 AM, Jul 28, 2011

“Extraordinarily difficult and very high risk.” That’s how General Martin Dempsey, the Army’s chief of staff and Obama’s pick to chair the Joint Chiefs of Staff, bluntly described proposals by the president and certain lawmakers to cut national security spending by anywhere from $400 billion to $1 trillion or more over the next decade.

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Will the IAEA Get Tough on Syria?

2:42 PM, Jun 07, 2011

A confidential copy of a draft resolution by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which would call for Syria to face consequences for its nuclear transgressions, is now being privately circulated among the IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors, in the hopes of getting it approved by the board this week in Vienna, Austria. The United States, Britain, and other partners are standing behind this resolution.

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Syria Plays Cat and Mouse

1:34 PM, Jun 07, 2011

Does Syria’s recent offer of transparency to the world’s atomic watchdog represent a change of heart, or is it simply a tactic meant to prevent (or delay) punishment for its nuclear transgressions?  History tells us that it’s likely the latter.

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Syria’s Nuclear Impunity

Bashar al-Assad’s lengthening rap sheet.
Jun 06, 2011

Contrary to what the Obama administration might hope, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is no reformer. Even with the Syrian government’s murderous crackdown against its unarmed opposition, the White House is not getting the message. Yet Assad’s true colors should have been plainly obvious at least as far back as September 2007, when an Israeli airstrike destroyed the secret Al Kibar nuclear facility near the Syrian town of Deir al Zour. Built with North Korean assistance, Al Kibar was a plutonium-producing reactor that, once completed, could have been used to generate fissile material for nuclear weapons.

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