#1 Obama Regime Fighting Congressional Oversight Over Arms Exports
12-14-2013, 07:25 PM
- Join Date
- Jun 2008
Congress has oversight over arms shipments. Obama rolled it back recently. Congress is fighting to get it back.
As ProPublica reported this fall, the Obama administration is rolling back limits on some U.S. arms exports. Experts are concerned that the changes could result in military parts flowing more freely to the world’s conflict zones, and that arms sanctions against Iran and other countries will be harder to enforce.
Now, some in Congress are seeking to add back some oversight mechanisms lost in the overhaul – over opposition from the administration.
As part of the administration’s larger changes to what many view as an antiquated arms export system, thousands of military items have moved out from under the State Department’s long-standing oversight to the looser controls of the Commerce Department.
Commerce Department officials have said that, as a matter of policy, they will continue human rights vetting of recipient countries and reporting big sales to Congress, things the State Department was legally required to do.
A bill introduced in the House Foreign Affairs Committee last month would add back those and other legal requirements for many military items moving to Commerce control.
The bill is intended to “preserve Congressional oversight of arms transfers as the administration implements its Export Control Reform Initiative,” said Daniel Harsha, a spokesman for the committee.
While administration officials declined to comment on the pending legislation, they have quietly resisted it.....
12-16-2013, 05:32 PMthousands of military items have moved out from under the State Department’s long-standing oversight to the looser controls of the Commerce Department.
- Join Date
- Apr 2005
The controls on exports of satellites to China have been loosened since the Clinton Administration shifted authority for the exports to the Commerce Department in 1996, a senior Government auditor said today.
But the auditor, from the General Accounting Office, an investigative arm of Congress, told a Senate panel that her agency could not judge whether the less rigorous standards had jeopardized national security.
''We have not looked at how this process is working,'' said the auditor, Katherine V. Schinasi, an associate G.A.O. director for national security and international affairs.
But in giving senators an independent analysis, Ms. Schinasi cited five broad changes since 1996 in Government controls over the exports of American satellites to be launched on Chinese rockets.
Her testimony, which came at the first open hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee's inquiry into whether sensitive satellite technology was illegally sent to China, struck at the core of a broad Congressional investigation. Whether China gained new information by launching American satellites is important because the rockets Beijing uses to fire its own satellites into orbit are very similar to the missiles used to launch nuclear warheads.
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