McKeon: Iran's Nuclear Programs Warrant Missile Defense System
Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, who represents the Santa Clarita area in Congress and is the lead Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, is sounding off after new information regarding Iran's nuclear program surfaced.
"Today's announcement that Iran has a covert uranium enrichment facility should come as no surprise. This deception shows a clear intent by Tehran to hide a growing nuclear weapons capability," McKeon said.
He continied; "In the unclassified judgments from the December 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran's Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities, it was assessed that ‘Iran probably would use covert facilities-rather than its declared nuclear sites-for the production of highly enriched uranium for a weapon.' However, the NIE went further to say that ‘we judge that these efforts were probably halted in response to the fall 2003 halt, and that these efforts had not been restarted through at least mid-2008.'
"It is clear that these efforts have been restarted, or were in fact never halted. Today's announcement means that previous estimates on when Iran could achieve a nuclear weapons breakout are now inaccurate.
"Unfortunately, it was just a week ago, the Administration explained that its primary reason for scrapping the European missile defense system to be located in Poland and the Czech Republic was because the threat was now ‘downgraded.'
"In December 2007, our intelligence Community judged that Iran didn't have a covert uranium enrichment facility. Now, less than two years later, it does. How, then, can the Administration be so confident in its assessment that Iran can't develop a long-range ballistic missile by 2015?
"We've witnessed Iran successfully use a long-range rocket to launch a satellite into space, work closely with the North Koreans who themselves appear to be pursuing Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, and continue to expand its nuclear capabilities. What other covert facilities and programs does Iran have under its sleeve?
"What we need to see are stronger sanctions against Iran now; robust funding of missile defense; and an Iran containment strategy, working with our allies, which will deter Iran and dissuade allies and friends from proliferating. It's time for the Obama administration to do something concrete about it beyond pinning their hopes on upcoming talks and relying on Russia to protect our security interests."