POLITICS

From Russia with love?

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,James Jay Carafano

How’s that U.S.-Russia “reset” working out?

“U.S. intelligence agencies concluded in a classified report late last year that Russia’s military intelligence was responsible for a bomb blast that occurred at an exterior wall of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia, in September,” the Associated Press reported yesterday.

The report adds: “Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the chamber’s Republican whip, said he sent a classified letter in June to the House and Senate intelligence committees asking them to investigate the incident and report back to members.”

This bombing was just the first in series of bombings that occurred around the country over several months -- and in some cases suspects for the bombings or other attempted bombings where picked up by Georgian law enforcement.

That means between the interrogations and forensic analysis of the crime scene, Georgian officials ought to know if these bombings are linked and who is behind the campaign. Furthermore, from looking at the list of targets it is not too difficult to uncover a motive.

This looks like an intimidation campaign aimed to put the Georgian government on edge and discourage direct foreign investment in the country at time when Tbilisi is actively looking for private-sector investors to boast its economy.

So when Yevgeny Khorishko, a spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Washington, is reported to have claimed, “[a]ll these rounds of allegations are absolutely false and baseless,” that statement on its face looks to be pretty bogus.

Not only the charges clearly not “baseless,” it is very likely the Georgians have shared all this information with U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials.

The question is, what did U.S. officials do with it? According to one report, “The State Department has pressed the issue at the most senior levels of Russia's Foreign Ministry,” according to “two Obama administration officials.”

So basically it looks like there is credible evidence that Russia is a state-sponsor of terrorism. While the administration is willing to scold Moscow privately, they had no interest in advertising the fact that they knew all about this in public until news of the classified intelligence report leaked to the press. No wonder.

It is hard to trumpet the wonders of reset when apparently what “reset” means to Moscow is that it is okay to organize a terrorist bombing campaign that even includes a U.S. embassy. We got a better deal from the Soviets under détente.

Expect Kyl to keep hounding the administration on this one. Expect the administration to look bad when more facts start to emerge.

Washington Examiner columnist James Jay Carafano of the Heritage Foundation writes on defense and foreign policy issues.

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