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White House Syria Chemical Weapons Warning Catches US Military Off Guard: Reports

The White House warned Syria about using chemical weapons late Monday after failing to coordinate it with U.S. national security agencies, according to a report. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer issued a statement[1] Monday that said the U.S. has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by Bashar al-Assad s regime. It warned that if Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price. After what was deemed to be a Sarin gas attack[2] by the Syrian Army that killed civilians in early April, President Donald Trump bombed[3] an airfield in retaliation.

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Five U.S. defense officials including one from U.S. Central Command told BuzzFeed News[5] that they do not know where the chemical attack will come from and they had no idea that the White House was planning a statement.

White House Syria Chemical Weapons Warning Catches US Military Off Guard: ReportsU.S. President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on June 23. The president’s planned tax cuts could add millions of dollars to the U.S. national debt. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Potential threats of U.S. military action are usually agreed and organized among National Security Council agencies and Departments, including the Department of Defense and State Department. Several defense officials also told the New York Times[6] that the statement caught them off guard. It isn t clear how closely guarded the intelligence about the potential attack was.

Read more: Tillerson lets slip he wants regime change in Iran[7]

The warning surprised Daryl G. Kimball, the executive director of the Arms Control Association. He told The NYT that he couldn t recall a pre-emptive public warning about the use of banned weaponed like this in at least the last 20 years. Usually warnings are sent through diplomatic channels, he said. Soon after the White House statement America s ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, tweeted[8] that any further attacks done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Assad, but also on Russia & Iran who support him killing his own people.

It is not the first time that the White House and President Donald Trump have eschewed the advice of cabinet members and military advisers to issue statements that could have sweeping national security implications. During a speech at the NATO alliance s new headquarters at the end of May, Trump hesitated[9] to affirm NATO s Article 5 which says an attack on one member is an attack on all despite advice from his generals. National security adviser H.R. McMaster, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had all worked to include a statement supporting Article 5 in Trump s speech, according to five sources that spoke with Politico[10]. Trump reportedly took it out at the last minute.

The afternoon of June 9 Trump and Secretary Tillerson gave speeches that appeared to contradict each other. Shortly before Trump spoke at a joint press conference with the leader of Romania, Tillerson told reporters[11] that Middle Eastern nations that have put sanctions on Qatar are hurting the U.S. coalition against the Islamic State terrorist group. Not only that, but they are “impairing U.S. and other international business activities in the region,” Tillerson said. Trump had asked Tillerson to help de-escalate the situation. Yet during his press conference Trump said that “the time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding” for terrorism and to take action against the nation, appearing to support the sanctions.

Defence secretary, James Mattis, then rushed[12] to assure Qatar of continuing American support as U.S. military aircraft fly outof al-Udeid base near Qatar s capital Doha on missions in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Afghanistan.

The White House statement Monday did not lay out precise details of what shape a heavy price for Assad would take after another chemical attack.


  1. ^ Sean Spicer issued a statement (
  2. ^ Sarin gas attack (
  3. ^ President Donald Trump bombed (
  4. ^ Daily Emails and Alerts- Get the best of Newsweek delivered to your inbox (
  5. ^ BuzzFeed News (
  6. ^ told the New York Times (
  7. ^ Read more: Tillerson lets slip he wants regime change in Iran (
  8. ^ Nikki Haley, tweeted (
  9. ^ Trump hesitated (
  10. ^ spoke with Politico (
  11. ^ Tillerson told reporters (
  12. ^ James Mattis, then rushed (

Pet Russian tortoise, last seen at the Japanese ambassador’s property, is found

Maui apparently isn t the only missing tortoise another Russian tortoise was spotted in a yard around 16th Street NW, according to a local blog posting about a week ago.

Wasn’t someone missing a tortoise in Tenleytown?[2]

PoPville (@PoPville) June 19, 2017[3]

Security officials at the ambassador s residence earlier had taken the Cohens poster and promised to keep their eyes peeled. Cohen also sent the embassy a message on Twitter.

@JapanEmbDC a passerby & ur security guard spotted a tortoise on residence grounds on Nebraska. We think it may be ours. Plz call 2023209093[4][5]

Andrew Cohen (@AWC4228) June 26, 2017[6]


  1. ^ When a parrot is held hostage or cats go MIA, this pet detective is on the case (
  2. ^ (
  3. ^ June 19, 2017 (
  4. ^ @JapanEmbDC (
  5. ^ (
  6. ^ June 26, 2017 (

Latest deployments to Middle East a source of pride, worry for families

Latest Deployments To Middle East A Source Of Pride, Worry For Families

Gov. Chris Sununu talks with Master Sgt. T.J. Hackett, left, and his son, Senior Airman Travis Hackett, as the two prepare to deploy to the Middle East next month. (Courtesy of Staff Sgt. Curtis Lenz)

Latest Deployments To Middle East A Source Of Pride, Worry For Families An airman with the New Hampshire Air National Guard’s 157th Security Forces Squadron listens during a ceremony Sunday to honor him and 28 other airmen who will deploy to the Middle East next month. (Jason Schreiber)
NEWINGTON Master Sgt. T.J. Hackett of Durham hopes he has a chance to catch up with his son when both are deployed to the Middle East next month.

The 55-year-old Hackett is with the New Hampshire Air National Guard s 157th Security Forces Squadron; his son, Travis, 22, is deployed to the region as a senior airman with the 91st Missile Security Forces Squadron from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. The father and son were together Sunday for a ceremony recognizing the 29 airmen from the 157th Security Forces Squadron based at Pease Air National Guard Base as they prepare for the upcoming deployment, which will involve providing security at six air bases throughout the region. The younger Hackett said he learned that he would be heading out on a six-month deployment about two weeks after his dad found out that he would be deployed on the same day for the same length of time.

We ll probably see each other in transit when we re flying to whichever location he s going to or I m going to, Travis said.

The dual deployments won t be easy for Christine Hackett, a teacher at Oyster River Middle School who will be thinking of her husband and only child every day and hoping for their safe return.

I know that both of them have wanted to go. I know that it s something that they re very passionate about. I m very proud of them, but at the same time I think it s going to be a long six months, she said.

She s as much of a warrior as we are, said T. J. Hackett, a retired New Hampshire State Police trooper. The sacrifice made by the military families left at home was mentioned by several who spoke at Sunday s ceremony, including military leaders and Gov. Chris Sununu, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Congressman Annie Kuster. The ceremony also celebrated the 281 airmen from the 157th Air Refueling Wing who have deployed this year.

When you think about it, most families in America are waking up and figuring out, Are we going to go to the lake? Are we going to go to the ocean? Are we going to have a barbecue today? Not many of them are saying goodbye to a loved one to go to war, said Major Gen. William Reddel III, adjutant general of the New Hampshire National Guard.

Reddel said it was important to hold the ceremony to remind people that the nation is still at war.

Aug. 2, 1990. That s when this unit started to go to war and we haven t stopped yet, he said, referring to U.S. military operations during the Gulf War and in Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and now the war on ISIS. Next month s deployment will be the fourth for some members of the unit.

Our nation has made extraordinary demands on you and your families, Shaheen said. Sgt. Andrew Ducharme, 23, of Weare, is one of the 29 airmen deploying next month. It will be his first deployment.

He said he s excited about the opportunity, but admitted that it will be difficult to be away from his family.

It will be a good experience and a good building block, he said. Ducharme was joined by his family, including his grandmother, Annette Ducharme, 75, of Amherst.

I m feeling sad, but I m proud of him and I m thankful that there are young men and women who are willing to sacrifice for us because that s why we have our freedom, she said. Technical Sgt. Jared McGouldrick, 35, of Belgrade, Maine, will leave behind his wife, Caitlin, and 3-year-old son, Colin.

I ve got a lot going on right now. I m trying to get everything buttoned up for my civilian job before I head out the door, he said.

His wife said their son is really too young to understand what s happening, but they had a pillow made with his dad s picture on it to remind Colin of his father.

We re just trying to talk to him about how daddy s going to leave and daddy s at work. It s going to be tough, but you ve gotta do what you ve gotta do, she said.

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