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The US Is Shutting Down A Russian Consulate Near A Major Navy Nuclear Arsenal
In the latest spy-vs-spy spat between the United States and Russia, President Donald Trump has ordered the Russian government to close its consulate in Seattle “due to its proximity” to Naval Base Kitsap, Washington, and Boeing, which makes the KC-46A Pegasus and F/A-18EF Super Hornets, the White House announced on Monday.
The move is part of a broader U.S. government effort to punish Russia for allegedly using nerve agent in an attempt to kill a Russian defector and his daughter in Britain. A total of 60 Russian diplomats whom U.S. officials allege are actually intelligence agents have been given seven days to leave the United States.
“With today’s actions, we’re removing a large number of the unacceptably numerous Russian intelligence officers who abide in the United States,” a senior administration official told reporters on Monday. “This reduces Russia’s ability to spy on American citizens, conduct covert operations on our soil and threaten our national security.”
Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton, the Pentagon’s single largest arsenal of strategic nuclear weapons, is the homeport for aircraft carriers such as the USS John C. Stennis, attack submarines such as the USS Jimmy Carter, and ballistic missile submarines such as the USS Pennsylvania. It’s also home to the DoD’s single largest fuel depot and a critical West Coast drydock for the Navy’s aircraft carrier.
However, officials struggled to explain the rationale for closing the Seattle consulate when asked directly if the U.S. government believes the Russians were spying on Kitsap – a base for ballistic missile submarines – and other military installations.
“These actions are not designated towards any particular or individual effort of collection by the Russian government,” one senior official replied. “This is a holistic look at the Russian government’s collection capabilities in the US and the consulate Seattle is just a particular location that has been designated. But this is not in any way relative to any particular activity against any base or installation.”
Another official claimed the Seattle consulate is part of a broader Russian spy web, but he did not elaborate on the alleged activities of Russian intelligence agents there.
“We think it sends a very clear signal, particularly since on the West Coast the Russians will have a degraded capability with regards to spying on our citizens,” the official said. “We are prepared to take additional steps, if necessary, but we believe at the time under the circumstances this sends the message that is needed,” the official added.
Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov told reporters on Monday that the U.S. government’s move was “counterproductive.”
“I think it’s up to the United States to decide what kind of relations they want to have with the Russian Federation, but I am sure that time will come they will understand what kind of grave mistake they did and I hope that maybe in the future that our relations will be restored,” Antonov said.
Russia’s interest in U.S. naval bases is nothing new. Since 2012, the Russian spy ship Viktor Leonov has deployed several times off the East Coast to collect signals intelligence on bases such as Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia.
Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.
MUSCAT (Reuters) - The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.
Trump: $6.1 billion in DoD money going to border wall wasn’t for anything that seemed ‘too important to me’
President Donald Trump claims the $6.1 billion from the Defense Department's budget that he will now spend on his border wall was not going to be used for anything "important."
Trump announced on Friday that he was declaring a national emergency, allowing him to tap into military funding to help pay for barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."
"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."
First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.
"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."
D-Day veteran James McCue died a hero. About 500 strangers made sure of it.
"It's beautiful," Army Sgt. Pete Rooney said of the crowd that gathered in the cold and stood on the snow Thursday during McCue's burial. "I wish it happened for every veteran's funeral."