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Lawmakers call for release of State Department nuclear report

Let's all make a bomb!
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Jul 24, 2006
Democratic lawmakers on Monday accused the US government of withholding a report containing information that could hurt chance of congressional passage of a US-India nuclear energy deal.

Representative Ed Markey, co-chair of the House of Representatives' bipartisan task force on proliferation, called for the release of the State Department document, which he said identifies entitities "known to be engaging" in weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferation activities.

"It would be absolutely unacceptable if the State Department purposefully withheld information relating to Indian entities engaged in proliferation of weapons of mass destruction until after the Congress considers the US-India nuclear agreement," Markey said.

"If the Congress is going to vote to open up the flood gates of nuclear cooperation with India, we need to know whether or not India is capable of preventing proliferation by its citizens or companies," Markey said.

Under the Iran-Syria Nonproliferation Act the US administration must submit a report to Congress every six months identifying every foreign person engaged in WMD-proliferation activities.

The last report was released in December 2005, making the current one more than one month overdue.

Other Democrats joined Markey in accusing the State Department of purposely withholding the document because its contents would thwart the administration's push for passage of the US-India nuclear cooperation accord.

"Given the grave concerns about the nonproliferation implications of the India nuclear deal, it is staggering that the State Department could be failing to provide Congress with information about illicit transfers of nuclear and chemical weapons related technology and goods from entities located in the state of India," said Representative Barbara Lee, a member of the House International Relations Committee.

Ellen Tauscher, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, added: "At a time when the international community is threatened by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, it is critical that the administration release its report on persons that may have provided or received sensitive technology from Iran and Syria -- two rogue nations with a poor record in this area."

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