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Smith, Schiff, and Engel Demand Briefing and Documents on Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance Report

Washington, D.C. – Today, Reps. Adam Smith (D-WA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Eliot Engel (D-NY), the Chairs of the House Armed Services, Intelligence, and Foreign Affairs Committees respectively, sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo raising serious concerns over the abuse of classification and politicization of intelligence regarding Iran and other countries in the State Department’s 2019 Report on Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments.

On April 15, the State Department issued its annual report assessing the U.S. and other nations’ adherence to a range of arms control and nonproliferation treaties.  As required by law, the Department prepared this intelligence-informed report with the “concurrence” of the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.  This year’s report disproportionately focused on Iran to the exclusion of other countries with serious proliferation concerns, including Russia and North Korea.

News organizations have since reported deep concerns of intelligence officers and State Department officials that the report “politicizes and slants assessments about Iran.”  Moreover, State Department officials who released the report moved fully unclassified sections of the report to the classified annex, leaving an unclassified product that emphasized non-factual information regarding Iranian compliance.

In the letter, the Members raise concerns that the report provides significantly less unclassified information, that the Administration selectively ignores facts or injects non-factual information, and that the administration has failed to file a key report to congress about Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal.  As part of the letter, the Members request an immediate briefing and documents related to the preparation of the report be provided to the Committees. 

The Chairs also announced that the Armed Services, Intelligence, and Foreign Affairs Committees will be conducting rigorous oversight over allegations of politicization of intelligence regarding Iran.

In the letter, the Members write:

“We are deeply concerned by recent reporting that the 2019 State Department Report on Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments, which the State Department submitted to Congress on April 15, may have been the product of political appointees disregarding intelligence or distorting its meaning in order to potentially “lay the groundwork to justify military action” against countries mentioned in the report. … 

Our nation knows all too well the perils of ignoring and ‘cherry-picking’ intelligence in foreign policy and national security decisions, as evidenced by a prior White House’s disregard of the intelligence community’s analysis on Iraq and its selective use of Iraq-related intelligence to justify the march to war in 2003.”

The full letter can be found here.

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