U.S. Plays Down Missile Defense Deployment Rumors

A senior U.S. State Department official hinted that reports of plans to deploy missile defenses in Israel might be incorrect, Interfax reported Saturday (see GSN, Sept. 11).

Recent news reports have indicated that the Obama administration is considering Israel as one alternative location if it chooses not to pursue the planned deployment of missile interceptors in Poland and a radar base in the Czech Republic. Some U.S. systems might remain in Israel after the two nations conduct a joint missile defense exercise scheduled for October, the Jerusalem Post reported last week (see GSN, Sept. 9).

"Don't believe everything you read about missile defense. I've read some interesting things about missile defense," Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon told Interfax.

The Obama administration is believed to be finalizing a review of the nation's missile defense operations. "All options are being considered as to have the best way to approach this," Gordon said.

Russia has strenuously objected to the Bush administration plan for European missile defenses. The Kremlin calls the effort a threat to Russian strategic security and has dismissed U.S. assertions about a looming Iranian missile threat.

Efforts by Moscow and Washington to reach compromise on the matter have yet to bear fruit.

"We're open to cooperating with Russia. And we think that there is a real missile threat that affects Russia as much as it affects us and our allies," Gordon said.

The United States "can find ways to work together with Russia and that would be a good thing," he added (Interfax, Sept. 12).

September 14, 2009
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A senior U.S. State Department official hinted that reports of plans to deploy missile defenses in Israel might be incorrect, Interfax reported Saturday (see GSN, Sept. 11).