China demands end to U.S. surveillance flights
Bill Gertz reports: The Navy is sending a second aircraft carrier strike group to the Asia Pacific region amid new tensions with China over a dangerous aerial encounter between a Chinese interceptor and Navy P-8 surveillance craft.
“We stand by our account of this dangerous and unprofessional incident.”
— Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby
The strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson departed San Diego for the Pacific on Friday, the Navy said in an announcement of what it terms a “planned” deployment.
- Report: Chinese Su-27 Jet Threatened U.S. Navy Intelligence Aircraft Near Japan (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
- China Warns U.S. to Stop Close-in Surveillance (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
China’s military on Saturday, meanwhile, demanded an end to all U.S. monitoring flights and called U.S. criticism of dangerous Chinese jet maneuvers false.
Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said in a statement that a Chinese fighter jet made a “regular identification and verification” of the Navy P-8 anti-submarine warfare jet during an encounter in an area 135 miles east of Hainan Island.
“We are concerned that the intercepting crews from that unit are acting aggressively and demonstrating a lack of regard for the regard for the safety of our aircrews.”
— Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jeff Pool
Yang called Pentagon criticism of the incident “totally groundless” and insisted the Chinese pilot operated professionally and kept a safe distance.
The Chinese spokesman’s account, published in the state-run Xinhua news agency, is at odds with Pentagon officials who called the encounter both dangerous and aggressive. A White House official also said the dangerous intercept was a Chinese “provocation.”
“We have registered our strong concerns to the Chinese about the unsafe and unprofessional intercept, which posed a risk to the safety and the well-being of the air crew and was inconsistent with customary international law.”
— Rear Adm. John Kirby
Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby on Friday called the maneuvers by the Chinese J-11—a Russian design Su-27—a dangerous and unprofessional encounter and said the military has protested the incident to the Chinese military. Read the rest of this entry »
For Washington Free Beacon, Bill Gertz reports: Federal prosecutors recently held discussions with representatives of renegade National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden on a possible deal involving his return to the United States to face charges of stealing more than a million secret NSA documents, according to U.S. officials.
“It remains our position that Mr. Snowden should return to the United States and face the charges filed against him…”
Snowden is currently in Moscow under Russian government protection after fleeing Hawaii, where he worked in NSA’s Kunia facility, for Hong Kong in May 2013. U.S. officials have charged him with stealing an estimated 1.7 million documents from NSA Net and the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System (JWICS) and providing some materials to news outlets.
“…If he does, he will be accorded full due process and protections.”
— D.O.J. Spokesman Marc Raimondi
Discussions on Snowden’s return were held in the past several weeks between prosecutors in the Justice Department’s National Security Division and Plato Cacheris, a long-time Washington defense lawyer who in the past represented several U.S. spies, including some who reached plea bargains rather than go to trial. Read the rest of this entry »
“We are aware that the Russian ships Viktor Leonov and Nikolay Chiker are currently operating in waters that are beyond U.S. territorial seas but near Cuba…”
— Lt. Col. Tom Crosson, a Pentagon spokesman
For The Washington Free Beacon, Bill Gertz reports: A Russian intelligence-gathering ship has been operating off the U.S. East Coast and near the Gulf of Mexico for the past month, the Pentagon said Thursday.
“We are aware that the Russian ships Viktor Leonov and Nikolay Chiker are currently operating in waters that are beyond U.S. territorial seas but near Cuba,” said Lt. Col. Tom Crosson, a Pentagon spokesman. “We respect the freedom of all nations, as reflected in international law, to operate military vessels beyond the territorial seas of other nations.”
The Leonov is an intelligence gathering ship outfitted with high-tech electronic spying gear. The Chiker is an ocean-going naval tug that has been accompanying the spy ship on its mission. Pentagon officials suspect the ships were part of a spying operation since March against the U.S. nuclear missile submarine base at Kings Bay, Ga. and other U.S. military facilities. Read the rest of this entry »
Death did not take place at CIA headquarters
For The Washington Free Beacon, Bill Gertz reports: A senior CIA official has died in an apparent suicide this week from injuries sustained after jumping off a building in northern Virginia, according to sources close to the CIA.
CIA spokesman Christopher White confirmed the death and said the incident did not take place at CIA headquarters in McLean, Va.
“We can confirm that there was an individual fatally injured at a facility where agency work is done,” White told the Washington Free Beacon. “He was rushed to a local area hospital where he subsequently died. Due to privacy reasons and out of respect for the family, we are not releasing additional information at this time.”