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It seems from a cursory reading of the page on cloaking devices, the Federation has repeatedly trodden on the treaty's legislation banning cloaking devices. And yet to my knowledge there has been little to no retaliation from the Romulans.

Do the Federation really care about the treaty? Have the Romulans ever retaliated?

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  • Repeatedly? The only significant example I can think of is the use of the cloaking device by the Defiant in the Alpha Quadrant. Commented Apr 3, 2012 at 17:30
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    @RedArrogantKnight There was also the Pegasus incident where the Federation developed a phase-cloak.
    – Xantec
    Commented Apr 3, 2012 at 17:39
  • The Defiant's cloaking device was operated by Sub-Commander T'Rul on loan from the Romulan Govt.
    – Jaydee
    Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 14:48

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Do the Federation really care about the treaty?

Yes, Picard pretty much made clear that he would get Pressman grounded for that stunt. As far as I know there's no In-Universe follow up to that, but as the Federation is a very constitutional organization, we can assume that whatever is brought up by one of their finest Captains will be dealt with.

Have the Romulans ever retaliated?

Most likely the diplomats could prevent that during the Pegasus-Incident.

As it goes for the Defiant, I think they do not even know that they misused the cloak. Those missions were most likely classified, so even if the Romulans would have heard about them, they would need to acknowledge that they have access to secret Starfleet material. So, let's assume they have access to that, would they like to rap on the knuckles of the Federation and risk that they restructure and investigate to plug that hole...or enjoy access to classified files?

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    It was always my assumption that, if they really needed an in-universe answer to the problem of Defiant misusing the cloak, they would simply explain what was going on and the Romulans would shrug and go, "OK, hard to argue with that." The real problem is that the writers couldn't find a good, long-term role for the Romulan attaché who was supposed to monitor the use of the cloak. If they had, then they either would have had to deal with her, or work around her, and it wouldn't' feel so much like they were just shrugging it off. Commented Apr 3, 2012 at 20:09
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    In the first episode of DS9 in which Defiant's cloak was used, Dr. Bashir reminds Sisko that they are technically in violation of the Treaty of Algernon, to which Sisko replies that he is aware and will "keep it in mind". I took from that the idea that, yes, the Federation did break the Treaty, but it was also their intention to never inform the Romulans nor cloak anywhere near Romulan space (the Romulan and Cardassian Empires were on opposite sides of Federation space, and while the Romulans had some degree of free travel in Federation space they'd be unlikely to hang around in a war zone).
    – KeithS
    Commented Apr 3, 2012 at 22:16
  • I just re-watched "The Search" DS9 season 3 (Is that the first appearance of the defiant?) The Cloaking device is operated by Sub-Commander T'Rul who is on loan from the Romulan Govt.
    – Jaydee
    Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 14:47
  • The romulan government specifically loaned the cloak to defiant as it was meant to fight the Borg who threatened the romulans as much as the federation. They even sent a minder to keep an eye on it. As to why they didn't ask for it back, it is unclear. The federation is still banned from researching cloaking technology or building them themselves under the treaty. Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 20:46

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