Russia and China are displaying the highest level of military cooperation in three decades, posing an escalated threat to the United States and its allies, according to a government report released Monday.
U.S. air superiority in the Asia Pacific is particularly vulnerable due to sustained Russian arms sales to Beijing and a new focus between the two militaries on missile defense, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission detailed in its new report.
Russian deliveries of Su-35 strike fighter jets to China, which began in December 2015, along with deliveries of its S-400 surface-to-air missile defense system, which are set to begin in 2018, will expand Beijing’s reach in the Taiwan Strait and threaten air assets of U.S. allies in the South China and East China Seas.
March 20, 2017 6:09 pm
FBI Director James Comey said during a contentious House hearing Monday that FBI counterspies are investigating whether aides to Donald Trump coordinated activities with Russia’s intelligence services during last year’s operation to influence the outcome of the presidential election.
Comey, testifying with National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers, also said he has seen no evidence supporting President Trump’s claim that the Obama administration spied on Trump and his campaign.
The director and the nation’s top electronic intelligence official appeared before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where Republicans and Democrats presented competing political narratives during more than five hours of testimony.
EXCLUSIVE: Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev turned on America when his citizenship application was rejected because he was an informant for the U.S. government and felt ‘double crossed’, bombshell book claims
- Award-winning Boston journalist Michele McPhee claims that the federal government may have played a ‘direct role in creating the monster that Tamerlan Tsarnaev became’ in new book
- She theorizes that Tsarnaev was a federal informant who turned on America after his citizenship was denied
- The government recruited Tamerlan as he was the ‘perfect candidate’ – he was broke, had a new wife and a baby, spoke fluent English, Russian and Chechen
- McPhee told DailyMail.com that the CIA were ‘running Tamerlan’ while he was in Russia, and that the FBI were in charge of him when he returned to America
- Tamerlan, 26, died during a shootout on the streets of Boston after killing a cop
- His brother, Dzhokhar, now 23, was captured alive and put on trial and ultimately sentenced to death by a Boston jury
- McPhee took three years to research Maximum Harm: the Tsarnaev Brothers, the FBI and the Boston Marathon Bombing, which will be released in April
In her book Maximum Harm: The Tsarnaev Nrother, the FBI and the Road to the Marathon Bombing to be published in April, she tells how U.S. authorities believed Anzor Tsarnaev’s claimed his life was in danger due to his Chechen heritage and his family was granted political asylum.
McPhee’s theory – which she admits she cannot definitively prove – is that Tamerlan was a federal informant and that he turned on America after his citizenship application was rejected.
McPhee writes that Tamerlan expected to be granted citizenship quickly and his anger grew when the process was delayed.
He was initially told to come in for his swearing in ceremony in October 2012 but it was put off.
The U.S. Immigration service wrote to Cedarleaf, the FBI terrorism chief in Boston, and asked if he was a ‘national security concern’. Cedarleaf replied that there was ‘nothing I know of’.
In January 2013 Tamerlan tried again to get his citizenship and had another interview where he was asked about his arrest related to a domestic violence charge.
McPhee says that Tamerlan ‘fully expected to walk way’ with his citizenship’. Instead. his status was delayed again due to paperwork issues.
Two weeks later, on February 6 2013, an ‘angry Tamerlan walked into Phantom Fireworks in Seabrook, New Hampshire, and asked for the “biggest and loudest” pyrotechnics in the story’, McPhee writes.
McPhee, an Emmy-award nominated reporter with the ABC News investigative team, writes that he felt ‘double crossed’ and that he turn
Tillerson reportedly to skip NATO meeting, visit with Russia in April
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plans to skip a semiannual meeting of NATO foreign ministers in April and will reportedly stay behind to meet with China President Xi Jinping and will go to Russia later in the month.
Tillerson would miss the first meeting of the 28 NATO allies, which takes place on April 5 and 6 in Brussels, in order to attend President Trump’s meeting with Xi at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort on April 6 and 7, U.S. officials told Reuters Monday. Tillerson will also attend the G7 meeting in Italy before traveling to Moscow.
U.S. officials added that Tillerson will meet NATO diplomats this week in Washington for a conference on defeating the Islamic State, suggesting there was no need for him to attend the Brussels meeting. Instead, the State Department Under Secretary Tom Shannon will represent t the U.S. at the meeting.
Israeli drone crashes in Syria, circumstances unclear
JERUSALEM – The Israeli military has confirmed that a drone crashed in Syria earlier this week in unclear circumstances.
In a statement, the military said the “Skylark” went down on Sunday and that the incident was being investigated. Tuesday’s statement said there is “no risk of a breach of information.”
Hezbollah’s media arm published photographs of what it said was a drone it had shot down after infiltrating Syrian airspace in the Golan Heights.
Although Israel is not actively fighting in the Syrian civil war, it keeps close tabs on its enemies Iran and Lebanon’s Iranian-backed Hezbollah militant group, which are both backing Syrian government forces.
Last week, Israel shot down a Syrian anti-aircraft missile fired at an Israeli aircraft carrying out an airstrike on a suspected Hezbollah weapons convoy in Syria
Moscow ‘knows nothing about’ reported April visit by Tillerson
When asked about the reported visit on Tuesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told Interfax: “I know nothing about it.”
Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, said she could not confirm Tillerson’s visit either.
“At this stage, we do not intend to neither confirm nor refute the information which emerged [in the media],” Zakharova wrote on her FB page, pointing out that the information had initially been leaked.
“It is time for US political elites to decide: have ‘the Russian hackers’ hacked the US State Department servers again or is the threat to the security of US information of an American origin?” she joked.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dodged the question about the news agency report.
“Let’s wait for the official statements on the matter rather than those of Reuters. For the State Department and the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation to announce the visit,” he said.
Shin Bet: Hamas stealing Gaza aid from Turkish charities
The Shin Bet security service accused two Palestinian men of funneling Gaza reconstruction funds from Turkish charities to the Hamas terrorist group.
The manager of the Gaza branch of the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA), Muhammad Murtaja, was arrested last month on suspicion that he was working on behalf of Hamas, the Shin Bet announced on Tuesday.
Mehmet Kaya, the head of the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation, known by its acronym IHH, was also implicated in the Shin Bet investigation. However, Kaya has not yet been arrested.
“The egotistical Hamas terror organization has robbed funds that are meant for the needy of Gaza from international organizations. Hamas prospers at the expense of the residents of the Strip and uses donations meant for them to finance terror,” said Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, coordinator of government activities in the territories.
Syria war: Russia denies aiding Kurds to set up a military base
Russia is helping Syrian Kurdish YPG forces to establish a military base in northern Syria that will be used to train its fighters, the militia says.
But Russian officials have insisted there are no plans to open new bases in Syria and the one near Afrin serves as a “reconciliation centre”.
Russia says the role of the base is to negotiate local truces between the various warring sides in Syria.
Meanwhile fighting between the military and rebels has continued near Damascus.
Government forces are reportedly bombarding eastern areas of the capital, Damascus, a day after rebel fighters launched a surprise offensive.