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Old 08-09-2017, 02:53 PM
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Arrow Russian spy plane buzzes D.C.

Russian spy plane buzzes D.C.
By KATHRYN A. WOLFE and BRYAN BENDER 08/09/2017 04:14 PM EDT
RE: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/0...lane-dc-241455

A Russian military spy plane cruised the skies over Washington on Wednesday, with plans for New York City and New Jersey — in a perfectly legal bit of aerial reconnaissance that nonetheless appeared to be an attempt to troll President Donald Trump.

A 1992 agreement known as the Treaty on Open Skies allows each member country to conduct surveillance flights over the territory of the others, something the U.S. and Russia have done a combined 165 times over the past 15 years, according to the State Department.

But Russia's choice of targets this go-round have a decidedly Trumpian flavor, taking the spy plane past Trump's current hometown of Washington on Wednesday. Its plans in coming days are expected to take it near New York — the home of Trump Tower — and not far from the part of New Jersey where the president is vacationing at his golf club in Bedminster, according to a source familiar with the arrangements.

"I don't know of any military facilities there," remarked a Pentagon official, who confirmed the mission.

On Wednesday, the plane also flew at low altitude over Dayton, Ohio, near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, before vanishing from a live flight-tracking website. The plane may have landed there, possibly to refuel.

The Russian Air Force Tupolev Tu-154M — similar to a medium-sized airliner — appeared to have left Moscow early Wednesday and flown through Reykjavík, Iceland, before entering U.S. airspace around Virginia’s Chincoteague Island. The plane then made several passes around the D.C. metro area for about an hour at lunchtime.

It also veered into Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, often at low altitudes.

"The missions happen on a semi-routine basis," said the Pentagon official, explaining that the Russians gave the required notice of at least 72 hours and that the mission has American personnel on board as observers.

The official could not publicly discuss the flight plans or the duration of the mission, though they commonly last at least several days.

The Russian Air Force flight appears to be the 10th so far this year.

"They usually come in and they list out what locations they want to fly over," the official said. "We put together the flight plan and with a few exceptions — safety-wise or weather-wise — they are allowed to fly over pretty much the entire territory."

"It is very controlled and very proscribed," he added, including "when they are allowed to take sensor readings."

The flight came at a tense time in U.S.-Russian relations, and on a day when jitters were especially high because of nuclear brinkmanship between Trump and North Korean leaders.

But the Russian spy flight was, in fact, fairly routine, flown under the auspices of the Treaty on Open Skies, signed by the United States, Canada, Russia and dozens of other countries. The arrangement is intended to help promote openness among nations and their militaries.

Personal Note: Why were (as per the Russians) American personnel on board as observers? Who the hell authorized that!?

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O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Old 08-09-2017, 02:56 PM
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Arrow

Unarmed Russian Air Force jet overflies the Pentagon, Capitol, CIA
By Jon Ostrower, Peter Morris and Noah Gray, CNN - Updated 4:26 PM ET, Wed August 9, 2017
RE: http://us.cnn.com/2017/08/09/us/russ...-dc/index.html

An unarmed Russian Air Force aircraft overflew the US Capitol, the Pentagon, Central Intelligence Agency and Andrews Air Force Base at low altitude on Wednesday as part of a longstanding treaty that allows the militaries of the United States and Russia to observe the other from the air, according to two people familiar with the flight.

The flight was part of the Treaty on Open Skies, which allows military aircraft from the United States and Russia and other nations to fly aerial observation flights to observe military sites of the 34 signatory nations.

The Russian Air Force Tupolev Tu-154 on Wednesday afternoon passed at around 3,700 feet over downtown Washington and Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, where Air Force One is based, according to tracking website Flightradar24.

The jet is authorized to enter P-56, the highly secure airspace surrounding the White House.

A second flight by the same jet is planned for between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Wednesday, when the Russian jet will overfly Bedminster, New Jersey, where President Donald Trump is vacationing, according to two people familiar with the US government-approved flight.

A law enforcement source told CNN that the plane also overflew Camp David, the presidential retreat in the Catoctin Mountains, the Trump National Golf Course in Virginia, and Mount Weather, one of the US government's secret relocation bunkers.
United States Air Force personnel were on the flight and the aircraft is capable of a variety of intelligence gathering, one of the people said.

The Open Skies Treaty has been in effect since 2002 and over 1,200 flights have been conducted since, which contributes to verification of compliance with arms control agreements, according to the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

Dan Gaffney, spokesman for the DTRA, declined to confirm the surveilled targets. The agency can only confirm specific locations once a mission is over.

"The treaty is designed to enhance mutual understanding and confidence by giving all participants, regardless of size, a direct role in gathering information through aerial imaging on military forces and activities of concern to them," according to the State Department.

Law enforcement agencies were given very little warning of these "short notice" flights, which are authorized by the treaty. The Russian aircraft has the ability to perform a variety of intelligence gathering functions, including aerial photography, thermal imaging, and picking up signals intelligence.

According to the DTRA, Open Skies flights receive air traffic control priority and are closely coordinated with the Federal Aviation Administration.

The treaty flights are fairly common and the same Russian Air Force jet was spotted recently landing at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas. The flight Wednesday is notable because of the high-profile nature of its surveillance targets in the nation's capital.

The US Capitol Police sent an alert regarding plans of an aircraft to overfly Washington between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Wednesday.

"The aircraft will be large and may fly directly over the US Capitol," according to the alert. "This flight will be monitored by the US Capitol Police Command Center and other federal government agencies."

The statement did not mention that the aircraft would be flown by the Russian Air Force.

The Russian Embassy in the United States did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Personal Note: That would be a cold day in hell when I would let a Russian aircraft fly
over an American Air Base or the capital. What are they NUTS!

Boats
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Boats

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"IN GOD WE TRUST"
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