BUSH WANTS MINI-NUKE BAN REPEALED A Bush administration official told Congress Thursday that it wants to repeal a 9-year-old ban on research and development of low-yield nuclear weapons, Global Security Newswire reports.A 1994 law prohibits the study or making of nukes below five kilotons. But lately, the Bush administration has been making noises that it may want to use such weapons to strike at underground storehouses of biological or chemical agents.Thursday's statements by Everet Beckner, a high-ranking official in the National Nuclear Security Administration, to the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces was the most prominent, most explicit call yet for the U.S. to get back into the small nukes game.Democrats were, not surprisingly, aghast at Beckner's request for a repeal of the 1994 law.rThis ban has been a pillar of arms control for the past decade," said Representative Ellen Tauscher (D-CA). "I consider it completely irresponsible of us to be asking for this now considering the fact that we are attempting to disarm other people around the world."THERE'S MORE: "Within a week," reports the Washington Post, "an Air Force report is to be delivered to the House and Senate Armed Services committees stating the military requirements for the 'robust nuclear earth penetrator,' a device designed to dig into the ground before it explodes and (to crush) any facility buried beneath it. Such a weapon "could be aimed at North Korea's underground nuclear and missile production facilities," according to the Post.

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