Senator Joseph Day says a report he authored for the Defence and Security Committee (DSC) of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly that revealed specific locations of American nuclear weapons in Europe was done intentionally.
“It was not an accident. We intended to communicate to our audience, which is the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, to give them information with respect to the issue of nuclear deterrents.”
“I think it’s very important people understand this was an honest attempt by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, one of the committees, to inform the public, but more importantly to inform the lawmakers and the Parliamentarians about what the current state of affairs is in relation to this important aspect of NATO in maintaining peace and security in the world,” he told Global News in an interview from his home in Hampton, N.B.
“And to suggest that there was a mistake or to suggest that somehow we were leaking information that wasn’t public information before is wrong and it’s more sensationalism and false reporting.”
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The draft report is no longer available online. The Belgium newspaper De Morgan quoted it as revealing locations for 150 American nuclear weapons stored in Europe.
“These bombs are stored in six American and European bases: Kleine Brogel in Belgium, Büchel in Germany, Aviano and Ghedi-Torre in Italy, Volkel in the Netherlands and Inçirlik in Turkey,” the article reads.
That report has been picked up by a number of international news sources. But Day calls the entire thing overblown and politicized, reiterating that everything included in the draft was from open-source information.
“Anybody could go to the internet and find the information. The NATO Parliamentary Assembly executive is in Brussels and we have a lot of interns there. And they helped me with the research work that was done on this, and all of it being open source,” said Day.
He says the only thing that could be considered a mistake in the whole process was failing to include a footnote about where the open-source information on the nuclear weapons locations originated.
The draft was written six months ago. In reviewing it, Day decided it was better to drop the specific locations rather than add the footnote.
“It was felt that from a military point of view those locations could well change depending on threat assessments and the things that the military does.”
“We wanted the report to be helpful and not misleading,” Day said, noting it could be two years from the first draft until the final version is accepted and he wants the information to be as “fresh” as possible.
“I would be very surprised if NATO maintained the aircraft that are involved here in one location without changing from time to time depending on threat assessment that they do that’s not shared with us,” said Day.
He says it’s important for people to have information on the state of nuclear affairs in the world – and to put that information in perspective.
“Look back after the Second World War and the Cold War, that long period of time there were probably 2,700 nuclear bombs in Europe, now we’re down to 150 and moving in the right direction, in my view, but we can’t totally eliminate a deterrence,” Day told Global News.
“Russia is increasing its armaments in the nuclear side, so NATO has to have a deterrence or things like the Crimean War will become even more common and that’s what we’re trying to prevent as best we can by being a strong alliance ready to defend if necessary.”
For its part, NATO is distancing itself from the report, saying it’s not an official NATO document.
“We do not comment on the details of NATO’s nuclear posture,” a NATO official told Global News.
Day says he will present the report at the organization’s next meeting in London in October, and expects it to be finalized at some point after that.