CIA director George Tenet said Wednesday Russia was likely to try to develop the means to counter the United States' planned missile defense system.
"Moscow is likely to pursue a variety of countermeasures and new weapons systems to defeat a deployed US missile defense," Tenet said, although Russian Vladimir Putin has downplayed the impact of the intended US withdrawal from the 1972 ABM treaty.
US President George W. Bush on December 13 announced Washington's unilateral withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, dismissing it as a "relic of the Cold War" that prevented it from building a missile shield against what the United States calls rogue states.
Putin said after the Bush announcement that Moscow was not surprised by the move but considered it a "mistake."
In reviewing US-Russia relations before a Senate Intelligence panel, Tenet said the Russian leader's ability to deepen the relationship with the United States would depend on how bilateral security issues were resolved.
"Differences remain on such core security issues as the disposition of US and Russian strategic nuclear forces, US Missile Defense plans, NATO enlargement, and Russian proliferation activities with states like Iran," Tenet said.
Russian conservatives, particularly those in the military, were suspicious of US motives, he told the Senate Intelligence committee.
Tenet and Navy Vice Admiral Thomas Wilson, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, also warned of Russian entities providing countries with technology that could be used in chemical and biological warfare as well as nuclear, ballistic and cruise missile projects.
"Russia appears to be the first choice of proliferant states seeking the most advanced technology and training," Tenet said.
"These sales are a major source of funds for Russian commercial and defense industries and military research and development."
Wilson added that Russia had exported ballistic missile and nuclear technology to Iran.
(China Daily February 7, 2002)