The former Navy SEAL among a group of eight men arrested earlier this week in Port-au-Prince on weapons charges says he was providing security work "for people who are directly connected to the current President" of Haiti.
"We were being used as pawns in a public fight between him and the current Prime Minister of Haiti," said Chris Osman, 44, in a now-deleted post on Instagram Friday. "We were not released we were in fact rescued."
Osman was one of five Americans, two Serbs, and one Haitian who were stopped at a Port-au-Prince police checkpoint on Sunday while riding in two vehicles without license plates, according to police. When questioned, police said the men — who were carrying AR-15 rifles, pistols, various knives, satellite phones, and other tactical gear — claimed they were on a "government mission"
before being taken into custody.
Osman was identified along with Christopher McKinley (who also goes by Christopher Heben), 49, also a former Navy SEAL; Kent Kroeker, 52, a former Marine Corps pilot; Talon Burton, 52, a former Army military policeman and State Department security guard; and Dustin Porte, 42, the president of a business headquartered in Louisiana called Patriot Group Services, Inc.
(From left to right) Chris Osman, Chris McKinley, Kent Kroeker, and Talon Burton
Three others in the group were Vlade Jankvic, 41, and Danilo Bajagic, 37, both Serbian nationals; and Michael Estera, 39, a Haitian citizen.
Seven of the eight men were released from police custody and put on a plane back to the U.S. on Wednesday, where they were greeted by law enforcement officers on the ground in Miami (Estera was not allowed to leave Haiti).
A State Department spokesperson said their return was "coordinated with Haitian authorities" but declined to comment further.
"Sometimes life is stranger than fiction and filled with crazy adventures. I am alive and back home. We all are," Osman said in the post. "It's now known that I do security work and have done it for years. My days of doing any out of the U.S. is officially over because I'm plastered all over media around the world."
Osman went on to say the people of Haiti were "really good to us" and thanked the U.S. government, State Department, U.S. Embassy in Haiti, and others who "stepped in to save us."
The U.S. Embassy in Haiti did not respond to emailed questions from Task & Purpose.
The men being escorted off the plane by law enforcement in Miami was captured by Carel Pedre, a Haitian media personality, who was on American Airlines flight 1059 and posted a video of the incident on Twitter.
"The pilot said government officials were coming in," Pedre told Task & Purpose. "They had navy blue uniforms with what looked like the Homeland Security badge on their shoulders."
But which law enforcement agency actually took them off the plane remains a mystery. Task & Purpose contacted The City of Miami Police Department, Miami-Dade Police Department, the FBI, TSA, and the U.S. Marshal's Service, and all denied they had any involvement. A spokesperson for Customs and Border Patrol did not respond.
Federal sources told The Miami Herald the men would not be charged.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of Florida declined to comment.
Two airmen were administratively punished for drinking at the missile launch control center for 150 nuclear LGM-30G Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, the Air Force confirmed to Task & Purpose on Friday.
Two F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters recently flew a mission in the Middle East in "beast mode," meaning they were loaded up with as much firepower as they could carry.
The F-35s with the 4th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron took off from Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates to execute a mission in support of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Air Forces Central Command revealed. The fifth-generation fighters sacrificed their high-end stealth to fly with a full loadout of weaponry on their wings.
The U.S. Senate closed out the week before Memorial Day by confirming Gen. James McConville as the Army's new chief of staff and Adm. Bill Moran as the Navy's new chief of naval operations.
McConville, previously vice chief of staff of the Army, was confirmed on Thursday along with his successor, Lt Gen. Joseph Marin. Moran, currently vice chief of naval operations, was confirmed Friday along with his successor, Vice Adm. Robert Burke.
The Pentagon is producing precisely diddly-squat in terms of proof that Iran is behind recent attacks in the Middle East, requiring more U.S. troops be sent to the region.
Adm. Michael Gilday, director of the Joint Staff, said on Friday that the U.S. military is extending the deployment of about 600 troops with four Patriot missile batteries already in the region and sending close to 1,000 other service members to the Middle East in response to an Iranian "campaign" against U.S. forces.