The truth is we don’t know. We’re on the verge of selling Turkey our most advanced fighter, and there has been little attention given to what the shift in Turkey’s foreign-policy orientation means when it comes to technology-sharing. From some congressional testimony I gave today at a hearing about Turkey:
Precisely because the F-35 will be the fighter the U.S. Air Force will most depend on to maintain air superiority in the decades ahead, the decision to sell F-35s to Turkey, whose future foreign policy orientation is in question, should be reviewed by appropriate Defense Department elements to assess possible loss of critical technology to states of concern. Congress should mandate that review, specify that it be completed within the year, and then make it available to the appropriate committees of Congress.
Would it really hurt for Secretary Gates to explain what steps the Pentagon has taken to ensure that the secrets of the aircraft we are going to rely on for decades to come are safe? Sure, Turkey is a NATO partner, but would our secrets be safe from potential rogue operators in the government or military? Does the Pentagon know? Does President Obama care?