Defense Budget Bill Nixes GLONASS Ground Stations in the U.S.
Tucked into the mammoth defense budget bill that President Obama signed into law on Thursday is a measure that virtually bars Russia from building about a half-dozen monitor stations on American soil that critics fear Moscow could use to spy on the United States or worse.
The budget denies Russia the abilty to put up the ground stations for the Russian version of GPS called GLONASS, despite two years worth of wrangling about their construction around the U.S. While the White House hoped an agreement would help smooth current tensions with Russia, Congress, the Pentagon and the CIA were against such niceties.
Under the new law, unless the secretary of defense and the director of national intelligence certify to Congress that the monitor stations would not be used to spy on the United States or improve the effectiveness of Russian weaponry — or unless they waive that requirement altogether on national security grounds — the plan is dead.
As the Times puts it, quoting an unnamed Congressional aid: a deal is now "next to impossible."
- NY Times