Report: Shield wouldn't stop Iranian missiles

The multi-billion-dollar missile defense shield planned for Europe may not be able to ever protect the U.S. from Iranian missiles as intended, according to secret Defense Department studies obtained by the Associated Press.

The studies are the latest to highlight problems with the plan, which has been criticized by both Republicans and Democrats. The shield also faces serious resistance from Russia. A series of reports has questioned whether the missile defense shield will ever function as planned.

Military officials believe the problems can be overcome — but the fixes could be diplomatically or technically untenable, according to the report.

The defense plan was ridiculed by Democrats and resisted by Russia when it was launched a decade ago under President George W. Bush. President Obama later shifted the focus toward medium-range rather than long-range missiles from Iran, drawing praise from Europe but criticism from Republicans.

The classified studies were summarized in a non-classified briefing to Congress by the Government Accountability Office. That briefing was obtained by the AP.

Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio), who until recently led the panel overseeing missile defense, praised the report.

"This report really confirms what I have said all along: that this was a hurried proposal by the president," he said.