Tuesday, March 25, 2014

FACT SHEET: U.S. Counter Nuclear Smuggling Activities

 In a press release from the White House, the government presents: "U.S. Counter Nuclear Smuggling Activities." (unedited here)

The United States is committed to ensuring it is fully prepared to manage a domestic radiological or nuclear smuggling incident regardless of whether material originates within the United States or overseas.


We maintain a Counter Nuclear Smuggling (CNS) Team that has the personnel, equipment, capabilities, and legal authorities to respond quickly and effectively to nuclear smuggling incidents.  The CNS Team achieves its objectives through detection and operational activities.  Many federal departments and agencies are engaged in this effort,  including the Department of Justice, through the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); the intelligence community; Department of Homeland Security; Department of Energy; Department of Defense; Department of State; and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  These federal entities also work closely with state, local, and tribal governments as well as with the private sector, other countries, and international organizations.  Each Department and Agency possesses both unique and complementary capabilities and legal authorities to respond to a radiological or nuclear smuggling incident.


The FBI has taken recent steps to strengthen U.S. capacities to ensure a strong law enforcement response and coordinated criminal investigation of nuclear smuggling threats and incidents within the United States.  As part of this mission, the FBI has established the Radiological Nuclear Search Operations (RNSO) framework for all domestic incidents, coordinating the law enforcement and investigative response of applicable U.S. Government investigative assets, as well as other federal, state, local, and tribal agencies as required.  If a threat is deemed credible, the FBI’s newly-established Radiological Nuclear Strategic Group is capable of coordinating the identification and deployment of specialized interagency elements used to support the RNSO in locating, identifying, and interdicting the threat. 


To assist in an international nuclear smuggling incident, the FBI utilizes its international network of Legal Attachés and WMD Assistant Legal Attachés to work with foreign counterparts, as well as international organizations such as INTERPOL, to develop lead information on suspected smuggling networks.  At the request of the foreign government, the FBI is also capable of deploying investigative and laboratory assets to assist in the response to an international nuclear smuggling incident.


The United States encourages international partners to strengthen capabilities to investigate smuggling networks, interdict and remove trafficked material from the black market, and arrest perpetrators.  At the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, 19 countries signed a Statement of Activity and Cooperation to Counter Nuclear Smuggling (CNS), and others announced steps to strengthen counter nuclear smuggling capacities.  An updated CNS statement was signed in 2014 at the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, and many countries pledged to continue the discussion on this important topic and encouraged others to join. 


In February 2014, the United States and the Institute for Transuranium Elements of the European Commission Joint Research Center held a Countering Nuclear and Radiological Smuggling Workshop for Nuclear Security Summit states.  Thirty-eight governments and observing international organizations attended the workshop, which featured a series of hands-on demonstrations and exercises in the areas of nuclear material detection, law enforcement investigations, and nuclear forensics – all of which are integral to effectively counter transnational nuclear smuggling networks.


The United States actively works with international partners, including INTERPOL and the International Atomic Energy Agency, to improve counter nuclear smuggling capacity worldwide.  Since 2011, the United States has worked with 8 countries to strengthen national counter nuclear smuggling capabilities.  The Department of State negotiates politically binding joint action plans with key countries to strengthen capabilities to prevent, detect, and respond to incidents of nuclear smuggling.  The Department of Energy supports these initiatives by providing detection systems and training to these and other countries.  The Department of Defense also supports these initiatives by securing vulnerable nuclear material at sensitive sites by providing equipment and training.


Through the FBI and DOE, the United States supports the INTERPOL CBRNE Sub-Directorate.  In support of the 2012 Summit, INTERPOL initiated Operation Fail Safe, an information-sharing tool that supports the international law enforcement community in tracking the transnational movement of individuals involved in the illicit trafficking of radioactive or nuclear materials.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Obama statement on Ukraine, Russia and Crimea

This is the body of a press release from the White House, said to have occurred in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room.  Below that is a statement from U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3.

(Below the DeLauro release are related documents)

Release, unedited here: 

10:45 A.M. EDT

     THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.  In recent months, as the citizens of Ukraine have made their voices heard, we have been guided by a fundamental principle -- the future of Ukraine must be decided by the people of Ukraine.  That means Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected, and international law must be upheld.

 And so, Russia’s decision to send troops into Crimea has rightly drawn global condemnation.  From the start, the United States has mobilized the international community in support of Ukraine to isolate Russia for its actions and to reassure our allies and partners.  We saw this international unity again over the weekend, when Russia stood alone in the U.N. Security Council defending its actions in Crimea.  And as I told President Putin yesterday, the referendum in Crimea was a clear violation of Ukrainian constitutions and international law, and it will not be recognized by the international community.
     Today, I’m announcing a series of measures that will continue to increase the cost on Russia and on those responsible for what is happening in Ukraine.  First, as authorized by the executive order I signed two weeks ago, we are imposing sanctions on specific individuals responsible for undermining the sovereignty, territorial integrity and government of Ukraine.  We’re making it clear that there are consequences for their actions.
     Second, I have signed a new executive order that expands the scope of our sanctions.  As an initial step, I’m authorizing sanctions on Russian officials -- entities operating in the arms sector in Russia and individuals who provide material support to senior officials of the Russian government.  And if Russia continues to interfere in Ukraine, we stand ready to impose further sanctions.
     Third, we’re continuing our close consultations with our European partners, who today in Brussels moved ahead with their own sanctions against Russia.  Tonight, Vice President Biden departs for Europe, where he will meet with the leaders of our NATO allies -- Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.  And I’ll be traveling to Europe next week.  Our message will be clear.  As NATO allies, we have a solemn commitment to our collective defense, and we will uphold this commitment.
     Fourth, we’ll continue to make clear to Russia that further provocations will achieve nothing except to further isolate Russia and diminish its place in the world.  The international community will continue to stand together to oppose any violations of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity, and continued Russian military intervention in Ukraine will only deepen Russia’s diplomatic isolation and exact a greater toll on the Russian economy.

     Going forward, we can calibrate our response based on whether Russia chooses to escalate or to de-escalate the situation.  Now, I believe there’s still a path to resolve this situation diplomatically in a way that addresses the interest of both Russia and Ukraine.  That includes Russia pulling its forces in Crimea back to their bases, supporting the deployment of additional international monitors in Ukraine, and engaging in dialogue with the Ukrainian government, which has indicated its openness to pursuing constitutional reform as they move forward towards elections this spring.  

     But throughout this process, we’re going to stand firm in our unwavering support for Ukraine.  As I told Prime Minister Yatsenyuk last week, the United States stands with the people of Ukraine and their right to determine their own destiny.  We’re going to keep working with Congress and our international partners to offer Ukraine the economic support that it needs to weather this crisis and to improve the daily lives of the Ukrainian people.  

     And as we go forward, we’ll continue to look at the range of ways we can help our Ukrainian friends achieve their universal rights and the security, prosperity and dignity that they deserve.  Thanks very much.  And Jay, I think, will be available for questions.  Thank you.
END                     10:49 A.M. EDT

 DeLauro release on "yesterday's referendum in Crimea and President Obama's announcement of sanctions. The United States--and many other nations--have called this referendum, on whether to separate from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation, illegal."


"The illegal referendum for Crimean separation represents an unwarranted further escalation of the crisis in Ukraine by Russia, and there must be a clear response from the United States, the European Union and the international community.  I applaud the Administration for the sanctions it announced today<http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/17/statement-president-ukraine> and for its efforts to support the people of Ukraine while applying pressure on Russia to change its course.  I was pleased to support legislation supporting the democratic aspirations of the people of Ukraine, providing assistance to Ukraine and condemning the violation of Ukrainian sovereignty by Russia's military forces."

DeLauro has cast multiple votes in support of the Ukrainian people this year, and co-sponsored H.Res. 447, which supports the democratic and European aspirations of the people of Ukraine, and their right to choose their own future free of intimidation and fear. She also met recently with members of Connecticut's Ukrainian community in New Haven.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Statement of G-7 Leaders on Ukraine

In a press release from the White House, Office of the Press Secretary, on Ukraine:

(unedited here)


Statement of G-7 Leaders on Ukraine

We, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission, call on the Russian Federation to cease all efforts to change the status of Crimea contrary to Ukrainian law and in violation of international law.  We call on the Russian Federation to immediately halt actions supporting a referendum on the territory of Crimea regarding its status, in direct violation of the Constitution of Ukraine.

Any such referendum would have no legal effect.  Given the lack of adequate preparation and the intimidating presence of Russian troops, it would also be a deeply flawed process which would have no moral force.  For all these reasons, we would not recognize the outcome.

Russian annexation of Crimea would be a clear violation of the United Nations Charter; Russia’s commitments under the Helsinki Final Act; its obligations to Ukraine under its 1997 Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership; the Russia-Ukraine 1997 basing agreement; and its commitments in the Budapest Memorandum of 1994.  In addition to its impact on the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, the annexation of Crimea could have grave implications for the legal order that protects the unity and sovereignty of all states.  Should the Russian Federation take such a step, we will take further action, individually and collectively.

We call on the Russian Federation to de-escalate the conflict in Crimea and other parts of Ukraine immediately, withdraw its forces back to their pre-crisis numbers and garrisons, begin direct discussions with the Government of Ukraine, and avail itself of international mediation and observation offers to address any legitimate concerns it may have.  We, the leaders of the G-7, urge Russia to join us in working together through diplomatic processes to resolve the current crisis and support progress for a sovereign independent, inclusive and united Ukraine.  We also remind the Russian Federation of our decision to suspend participation in any activities related to preparation of a G-8 Sochi meeting  until it changes course and the environment comes back to where the G-8 is able to have a meaningful discussion.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Governor Malloy's really busy day (and a visit with President Obama too)

In a release from the governor's office, his staff outlined his busy day Wednesday, the same day President Obama will visit the state.

Here is what the governor has on his agenda, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (And a little birdie tells us his day is not over then as there is expected to be a stop in Bridgeport after the Milford event.)


On Wednesday morning, Governor Dannel P. Malloy will keynote the Connecticut Business and Industry Association’s “2014 Connecticut Business Day,” where he will speak with the state’s business leaders about his agenda for Connecticut’s future.
Following that, Governor Malloy will speak at the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education’s “Day on the Hill,” where he will speak about his efforts to ensure that the state’s children receive a high quality education, including his plan to achieve universal access to pre-kindergarten and make college more affordable.
In the afternoon, Governor Malloy will hold an event with President Barack Obama in New Britain on the minimum wage and the importance of giving hardworking Americans the raise they deserve.  They will be joined by Governor Deval L. Patrick of Massachusetts, Governor Lincoln D. Chafee of Rhode Island and Governor Peter E. Shumlin of Vermont.
In the evening, Governor Malloy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman will hold a community forum in Milford, where they will speak with members of the public about their agenda for Connecticut’s future.  This will be the second event in this year’s series of gubernatorial community forums.