US officials preparing plans to deploy thousands more troops to the Middle East amid Iranian tensions
- WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon on Thursday will present plans to the White House to send up to 10,000 more troops to the Middle East, in a move to beef up defenses against potential Iranian threats, US officials said Wednesday.
- The officials said no final decision has been made yet, and it's not clear if the White House would approve sending all or just some of the requested forces.
- They said the troops would be defensive forces, and the discussions include additional Patriot missile batteries, more ships and increased efforts to monitor Iran.
- CNN first reported that the Pentagon will brief the White House on a plan that could send thousands of additional US troops to the Middle East.
- There were no injuries and no group claimed responsibility, but the rocket was believed to have been fired from east Baghdad — which is home to Iran-backed Shiite militias.
‘Skyborg’ could let F-35 and F-15 fighter jets control their own companion drones
- The US Air Force hopes that the XQ58-A Valkyrie drone wingman might someday accompany the F-35 and a new version of the F-15 fighter jet, according to Defense News.
- The Air Force is reportedly talking with defense manufacturers Boeing and Lockheed Martin, which manufactures the fighter jets, about integrating the platforms.
- Will Roper, the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, told Defense News that a forthcoming upgrade to the F-35 represents a “wonderful opportunity” to pair up the prototype drone.
- The drone-fighter pairing isn’t expected to happen any time soon — the F-35 has to first be upgraded, and the XQ58-A Valkyrie has only completed the first of five test flights.
- A key appeal for the vehicle is that it would be cheap to produce in large numbers: they will reportedly cost “a couple million bucks” each, which is extremely cheap compared to a larger, crewed fighter jet.
US intercepts Russian bombers, fighter jets off Alaskan coast for second time in two days
- Washington (CNN) - For the second time in two days, US F-22 stealth jets intercepted Russian bombers and fighter jets off the coast of Alaska, North American Aerospace Defense Command said in a statement.
- A total of four F-22 stealth jets were involved in intercepting the two Russian Tu-95 bombers Tuesday, which had entered the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone, according to NORAD.
- The bombers returned to the area again, this time accompanied by Su-35 fighter jets and were subsequently intercepted by US aircraft.
- In both incidents, the intercepted Russian bombers and jets "remained in international airspace and at no time did the aircraft enter United States or Canadian sovereign airspace," according to NORAD.
- US officials say Russian bombers and jets have flown in the area several times a year for the last few years and have similarly been intercepted by US or Canadian jets operating as part of NORAD.
Russia flew bombers off the coast of Alaska twice in two days, forcing the US to scramble stealth fighters in response
- Russian strategic bombers with fighter escorts twice tested US air defenses in two days with flights off the coast of Alaska, forcing the US to scramble F-22 stealth fighters to intercept the Russian aircraft.
- Russian Tu-95 long-range bombers entered the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) Tuesday.
- In response, the US scrambled two US Air Force F-22s supported by E-3 Sentry aircraft to intercept the Russian bombers, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said in a statement.
- This week's incidents come just a couple of months after US B-52H Stratofortress heavy, long-range bombers ruffled Russia's feathers during a short-term deployment to Europe.
- The Kremlin accused the US of unnecessarily stoking tensions as the aircraft conducted simulated bombing runs and flights near Russia, prompting the Russians to scramble fighters to intercept the big bombers.
US F-22 stealth fighters intercepted 4 Russian bombers testing US air defenses near Alaska
- US Air Force F-22 stealth fighters intercepted two sets of two Russian Tupolev Tu-95 bombers, one of which was accompanied by two Su-35 fighter escorts, off the coast of Alaska Monday, according to North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).
- The Russian defense ministry announced Tuesday that Russian Tu-95MS bombers, which are capable of carrying nuclear missiles, conducted an observation flight Monday near the western coast of Alaska, adding that at certain points during the twelve hour flight, the bombers and their escort fighters were shadowed by US F-22s, Russia's state-run TASS News Agency reported.
- It is unclear why the Russians sent so many bombers near US air defenses and NORAD was unable to say whether the Russian bombers were armed.
- NORAD sent out a total of four F-22s, two for each intercept, to intercept the Russian aircraft after they entered the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).
US intercepts Russian bombers, fighter jets off the coast of Alaska
- Washington (CNN) - US F-22 stealth jets intercepted four Russian bombers and two Russian Su-35 fighter jets off the coast of Alaska on Monday, according to a statement from North American Aerospace Defense Command.
- The Russian long-range bombers flew into the Air Defense Identification Zone, which extends approximately 200 miles off Alaska's western coast.
- US F-22s fighter jets and an E-3 Airborne Early Warning and Control System from North American Aerospace Defense Command "positively identified and intercepted a total of four Tupolev Tu-95 bombers and two Su-35 fighters entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on May 20," NORAD said in a statement.
Fox and Friends' co-host Pete Hegseth convinced Trump to consider pardons for troops accused of war crimes
- The New York Times reported Saturday that Trump is taking steps to officially pardon service members accused of committing war crimes whose cases have garnered significant media attention by Memorial Day. This comes after Hegseth, an Iraq War veteran, spent months encouraging Trump in private to issue the controversial pardons.
- Gallagher, who was reported to the military authorities by his fellow SEALs, is accused of killing multiple innocent civilians, including a teenage girl and an elderly man, and fatally stabbing a captured 15-year-old ISIS fighter during a 2017 deployment to Iraq.
- Despite the push to pardon Gallagher and other veterans accused or convicted of war crimes, former military officials have warned that the pardons devalue the service of veterans who followed the law, and further puts troops at risk.
The US release of Woody Allen's next movie cleared a major hurdle, but it still faces major challenges
- Director Woody Allen's next movie, "A Rainy Day in New York," has been in limbo since Amazon Studios decided not to release the film after sexual misconduct allegations against Allen resurfaced.
- Amazon has returned the domestic rights to the movie back to Allen, who can now seek another option for distribution in the US, Variety reported on Wednesday, citing anonymous sources.
- Allen sparked confusion on the internet last week when he self-released the trailer for "A Rainy Day in New York" on his official Facebook page.
- One of the movie's stars, Timothée Chalamet, said last year that he would donate his earnings from the movie to the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund, the LGBT Center in New York, and RAINN, an anti-sexual assault nonprofit.
- "A Rainy Day in New York" will debut October 3 in Italy, and October 4 in Spain.
Top Navy official calls out government lawyers for spying on legal team of Navy SEAL accused of war crimes
- In a scathing letter, a top Navy legal official on Sunday expressed "grave ethical concerns" over revelations that government prosecutors used tracking software in emails to defense lawyers in ongoing cases involving two Navy SEALs in San Diego.
- Front and center for Wilson's concerns is the Region Legal Service Office-Southwest at Naval Base San Diego, which is prosecuting the cases of Navy SEAL Chief Edward "Eddie" Gallagher on charges he murdered a wounded ISIS militant; and Navy SEAL Lt. Jacob Portier, Gallagher's platoon leader, who has been accused of not properly reporting Gallagher's alleged crimes.
- Wilson wrote in the letter that he was first notified on May 10 that the lead prosecutor in both cases had "inserted or caused to be inserted certain tracking software" into emails with the defense team, who opened the messages on both private, commercial, and military email networks.
Michael Cohen told Congress Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow discussed a 'global pardon' to 'shut this whole thing down'
- Michael Cohen told Congress he had multiple discussions with Jay Sekulow, President Donald Trump's personal defense attorney, about potentially receiving a pardon.
- According to a newly-released transcript of Cohen's closed-door testimony to the House Intelligence Committee at the end of February, Cohen told lawmakers he had "quite a few … direct conversations" with Sekulow "around the time" of several ongoing congressional and federal investigations into Trump.
- Cohen told the House Intelligence Committee that ultimately the discussion about pardons didn't go anywhere because when an individual is pardoned, they forfeit their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, which means they can be called in to testify to Congress about matters they were pardoned for.
- Cohen also testified that "an individual who has a relationship to somebody inside the White House" and who is "closely connected to the President" spoke to him about pardons in person, on the phone, and potentially via text or email as well.