WTH? What in the world is the Treaty on Open Skies? Have you ever heard of it? Do you remember that the United States and many nations, including Russia, signed this deal back in 1992 and it went into effect in 2002? Signature nations can request and arrange to overfly each other and do military surveillance. This treaty was done in a time of vastly different international relations than what we have now. Is this appropriate for today’s times? Read this article and see what you think.
You can read more about the treaty in the Wikipedia article HERE.
As Written By DEB RIECHMANN, AP
Russia Wants to Fly Over US With Advanced Digital Cameras.
Russia will ask permission on Monday to start flying surveillance planes equipped with high-powered digital cameras amid warnings from U.S. intelligence and military officials that such overflights help Moscow collect intelligence on the United States.
Russia and the United States are signatories to the Open Skies Treaty, which allows unarmed observation flights over the entire territory of all 34 member nations to foster transparency about military activity and help monitor arms control and other agreements. Senior intelligence and military officials, however, worry that Russia is taking advantage of technological advances to violate the spirit of the treaty.
Russia will formally ask the Open Skies Consultative Commission, based in Vienna, to be allowed to fly an aircraft equipped with high-tech sensors over the United States, according to a senior congressional staffer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the staff member wasn’t authorized to discuss the issue publicly.
The request will put the Obama administration in the position of having to decide whether to let Russia use the high-powered equipment on its surveillance planes at a time when Moscow, according to the latest State Department compliance report, is failing to meet all its obligations under the treaty. And it comes at one of the most tension-filled times in U.S.-Russia relations since the end of the Cold War, with the two countries at odds over Russian activity in Ukraine and Syria.
“The treaty has become a critical component of Russia’s intelligence collection capability directed at the United States,” Adm. Cecil D. Haney, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, wrote in a letter earlier this year to Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., chairman of a House subcommittee on strategic forces.