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The real villain in the Air Force-Trump hotel scandal: the dreaded Defense Travel System, obviously
The hullabaloo about an Air Force C-17 crew spending the night at one of President Donald Trump's resort in Scotland is just another reminder of why the Defense Travel System is the one piece of technology that the Pentagon wouldn't mind if the Chinese stole.
The Air Force has launched a review of how it selects which hotels airmen can book, after news broke that seven airmen stayed overnight at Trump's Turnberry resort in March during a stopover while the crew's C-17 refueled roughly 54 miles away at Glasgow's Prestwick Airport.
After Politico reported on Sept. 7 that lawmakers were investigating why the C-17 crew paid to stay at a luxury resort owned by the president, the Pentagon's top spokesman stressed to reporters on Monday that the Air Force's review into the matter has not found any infractions to guidelines for how the service selects which airports and hotels airmen can use for stopovers.
"In this case, they made reservations through the Defense Travel System and used the closest available and least expensive accommodations to the aircrew within the crew's allowable hotel rate," Jonathan Hoffman said at a Pentagon media availability.
"I'd like to point out that the cost of this hotel on the stopover mentioned was $136 a night, which is well within the $166 per night per diem rate and was significantly cheaper than the nearby Marriott property, which was $161 a night."
Since 2015, Air Mobility Command has increasingly used Prestwick Airport as a layover for flights headed to or returning from downrange because it is open 24 hours a day, the weather is better than at Edinburgh's Shannon Airport, and there is less aircraft parking congestion than in airports on continental Europe, Hoffman said.
The reason the C-17 crew stayed in Scotland overnight in March is they were required to rest after reaching the end of their duty day, said chief Air Force spokesman Brig. Gen. Ed Thomas.
"Because we don't want our airmen flying fatigued, you can have a 12-hour crew day but then you've got to have 12 hours of rest before you get behind the controls of the airplane," Thomas told reporters on Monday. "It can be waived during wartime or during periods of extremis, but it is a flight safety issue."
Thomas also called the costs of transporting the crew to the Trump resort as opposed to a hotel closer to the airport "negligible" because the Air Force has to pay for a bus or van to take airmen to their lodgings.
"So whether they go 5 miles or 10 miles or 20 miles it doesn't really change much," he said.
For his part, Trump vehemently denied influencing the C-17 crew's decision to stay at one of the Turnberry resort in March.
"I know nothing about an Air Force plane landing at an airport (which I do not own and have nothing to do with) near Turnberry Resort (which I do own) in Scotland, and filling up with fuel, with the crew staying overnight at Turnberry (they have good taste!)," the president tweeted on Monday. "NOTHING TO DO WITH ME."
A Marine wanted for killing his mother's boyfriend reportedly escaped police by hiding inside an RV they'd spent hours searching before towing it to a parking lot, where he escaped under the cover of darkness.
It wasn't until more than two weeks later authorities finally caught up to Michael Brown at his mom's home, which was the scene of the crime.
Brown stuffed himself into a tight spot in his camper during an hours-long search of the vehicle on Nov. 10, according to NBC affiliate WSLS in Virginia. A day earlier, cops said Brown fatally shot his mother's boyfriend, Rodney Brown. The AWOL Marine remained on the lam until Nov. 27, where he was finally apprehended without incident.
No motive is yet known for last week's Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard shooting tragedy, which appears to have been a random act of violence in which the sailor who fatally shot two civilian workers and himself did not know them and did not plan his actions ahead of time, shipyard commander Capt. Greg Burton said in an "All Hands" message sent out Friday.
Machinist's Mate Auxiliary Fireman Gabriel Antonio Romero of San Antonio, an armed watch-stander on the attack submarine USS Columbia, shot three civilian workers Dec. 4 and then turned a gun on himself while the sub rested in dry dock 2 for a major overhaul, the Navy said.
"The investigation continues, but there is currently no known motive and no information to indicate the sailor knew any of the victims," Burton said.
SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said it had successfully conducted another test at a satellite launch site, the latest in a string of developments aimed at "restraining and overpowering the nuclear threat of the U.S.", state news agency KCNA reported on Saturday.
The test was conducted on Friday at the Sohae satellite launch site, KCNA said, citing a spokesman for North Korea's Academy of Defence Science, without specifying what sort of testing occurred.
Since the Washington Post first published the "Afghanistan papers," I have been reminded of a scene from "Apocalypse Now Redux" in which Army Col. Walter Kurtz reads to the soldier assigned to kill him two Time magazine articles showing how the American people had been lied to about Vietnam by both the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations.
In one of the articles, a British counterinsurgency expert tells Nixon that "things felt much better and smelled much better" during his visit to Vietnam.
"How do they smell to you, soldier?" Kurtz asks.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Erik Prince, the controversial private security executive and prominent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, made a secret visit to Venezuela last month and met Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, one of socialist leader Nicolas Maduro's closest and most outspoken allies, according to five sources familiar with the matter.