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Commerce Department Imposes New Controls to Prevent US Citizens From Backing WMD, Foreign Military Intell Activities

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The Department of Commerce’s (DOC) bureau of industry and security has announced new controls to prevent U.S. individuals from supporting weapons of mass destruction programs and foreign military intelligence activities in Russia, China, Cuba, Venezuela and other terrorist-backing countries.

The new controls preclude U.S. citizens from backing foreign military intelligence actions such as offering maintenance, repair and overhaul services and negotiating the sale of products that originated from foreign entities, the department said Thursday.

The bureau is broadening the license requirements for exports to military intelligence end users in those countries and amending end-use controls to ensure that U.S. activities related to the operation, installation and maintenance of unmanned aerial vehicles, chemical and biological weapons and rocket systems set off a “catch-all license requirement” as cited in the Export Administration Regulations.

“These new strict controls will inhibit China’s Intelligence Bureau and Russia’s GRU from leveraging U.S. technology and services to support espionage, intelligence collection and operations, and other activities contrary to U.S. national security interests,” said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

The new controls will impact foreign military intelligence organizations of Cuba, China, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria and Venezuela and are set to take effect on March 16.