Senior Policy Director Alexandra Bell spoke to Newsweek about the U.S. withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty.
Alexandra Bell, a senior advisor to the undersecretary for arms control and international security during the Obama administration, noted an overlooked benefit of the treaty: That the jointly managed overflights would provide the United States some insight into how Russia monitors U.S. infrastructure. This information could not be gleaned if Russia were to rely more heavily on satellite data following a U.S. withdrawal.
Thursday’s move suggests that President Donald Trump may also seek to withdraw from the final New START arms treaty that expires one week after the U.S. presidential inauguration, the Times reported.
Bell said she took issue with Pompeo’s contention that Russia’s alleged misuse of overflight data should imperil the agreement. She said that the treaty “was not designed” to address data retention and security, a defect that needed to be worked out diplomatically.
“When Eisenhower proposed this, it was for the purposes of being radically transparent about what we were doing,” Bell added. “If the Trump administration is concerned that somehow the Russians are using information gained from the Open Skies flights in a way that was problematic, there are venues to discuss this.” Read more