Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, believes the Senate's ratification of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty is an important step toward controlling nuclear arms.
Garn, in Utah for the holiday weekend, also discussed the biological warfare labs at Dugway Proving Ground and said Gov. Norm Bangerter has a good chance for re-election.The senator said he has no concerns about the possibility that Soviet arms inspectors based near the Hercules plant in Magna would spy on military bases or other defense contractors.
Under the treaty, Soviet inspectors would monitor the Hercules plant, where Pershing II missiles used to be built, while U.S. inspectors would watch a similar plant in the Soviet Union.
"We will be more security-conscious now," Garn said Friday. "Admittance to bases will be more difficult than in the past.
"The fact that the agents will be closely monitored by the FBI may actually result in increased security over present conditions," he said.
Garn, chairman of Bangerter's re-election campaign, acknowledged the governor is trailing Democratic challenger Ted Wilson in the polls but said the race "certainly is still winnable."
He recalled trailing Democrat Wayne Owens in the 1974 Senate race. "Nobody said that I could win, but I did, and Norm Bangerter can be re-elected," he said.
"The campaign obviously is going to be devoted to showing what a very credible, honest, decent man Norm Bangerter is . . . that he is a man of great courage who placed the interest of this state above his own personal interest," Garn said.
"I get very tired of wishy-washy politicians who are always pandering to the public and trying to do what they think best helps them get re-elected," he said.
In other matters, Garn said reports that more than 700 aging chemical weapons stored at Dugway are leaking are no cause for alarm.
"We have had leakers before, and I think people have to realize that when we talk about leakers, they are talking about parts per billion," he said. "A decade ago, you didn't even have equipment to measure those kinds of leaks."
Garn also defended the Army's plans to update the biological laboratories at Dugway.
"I think people need to realize that we have had a facility out there for many years, and testing has gone on," he said. "It is an older facility, and a new facility would be more safe than what we currently have.
The senator said he believes the United States must test biological agents for defensive purposes, but he would not approve of testing for offensive biological or chemical weapons.