WASHINGTON — Last Thursday, Reps. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY) introduced the “U.S.-Israel Directed Energy Cooperation Act,” which would authorize “the Department of Defense to carry out bilateral cooperation with Israel to develop directed energy capabilities,” according to a press release.
.@RepTedLieu & I introduced the U.S.-Israel Directed Energy Cooperation Act today. This bipartisan bill allows us to collaborate w/ Israel to counter global adversarial threats by increasing our cooperation on directed energy technology. Read more –https://t.co/ZYHu3jADZc
— Rep. Elise Stefanik (@RepStefanik) March 14, 2019
Directed energy weapons include laser weapons and particle beams; they are highly destructive but embraced by militaries for their “infinite magazines” and “incredible speed and range.”
More specifically, the bill — which is identical to a bill of the same name that Lieu and Stefanik introduced last year but failed to pass — would allow the Pentagon “to carry out research, development, test, and evaluation activities, on a joint basis with Israel, to establish directed energy capabilities that address threats to the United States, deployed forces of the United States, or Israel, and for other purposes.”
Arguably more troubling is the fact that this bill would deepen Israel’s access to grotesque weapons of war that have been developed by the U.S. military but have also been banned for use by American troops. For instance, in the late 1990s, the U.S. and Israel collaborated on the “Nautilus” program that created lasers that cause permanent blindness in those targeted by literally “melting the eyeball.”
Though the “Nautilus” lasers were banned for use by the U.S. under the Clinton administration because they could cause permanent blindness, they were nevertheless shared with Israel’s government. A spokesman for U.S. Army Space and Strategic Defense Command, John Cunningham, at the time told the Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs that the decision to share the technology with Israel had not been made by the command — which was the lead agency overseeing the program — and instead stated that “We are taking our orders from the Secretary of Defense [William Perry] and President Clinton.”
The “Nautilus” lasers were later shelved for use as missile defense by Israel in 2006,