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Westlake Legal Group > fox-news/us/military/navy

Naval weapons base near quakes’ epicenter closed for safety inspections

As Southern California dealt with the impact of Friday evening’s magnitude-7.1 earthquake, an important U.S. Navy facility near the quake’s epicenter was still dealing with the impact of Thursday’s 6.4 temblor in the area.

Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake was closed Friday as officials assessed infrastructure damage from the earlier quake, Stars & Stripes reported.

The base is located just northwest of Ridgecrest, the quake epicenter that is about 150 miles northeast of Los Angeles. The city in Kern County has about 29,000 residents.

‘SWARMAGEDDON’ OF 1,000 EARTHQUAKES HIT SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. SHOULD THEY BE NERVOUS?

No casualties or injuries were reported at the base after Thursday’s quake, the base posted Friday on its Facebook page. But there was no immediate information about whether Friday evening’s quake had caused any damage.

Westlake Legal Group 795da4fa-china Naval weapons base near quakes' epicenter closed for safety inspections fox-news/world/disasters/earthquakes fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/military/navy fox news fnc/us fnc Dom Calicchio bfe44768-56d4-56e2-bd2b-e223c223a0d6 article

Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, in Ridgecrest, Calif. (Facebook)

A team composed of personnel from the U.S. Geological Survey and the California Geological Survey was conducting inspections of the base’s buildings and other infrastructure, the post said.

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The shutdown of the base was expected to continue until 5 a.m. Monday, but whether Friday’s quake would extend that closure was not immediately known.

The base supports Navy research, testing and evaluation operations, according to Stars & Stripes.

Westlake Legal Group china Naval weapons base near quakes' epicenter closed for safety inspections fox-news/world/disasters/earthquakes fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/military/navy fox news fnc/us fnc Dom Calicchio bfe44768-56d4-56e2-bd2b-e223c223a0d6 article   Westlake Legal Group china Naval weapons base near quakes' epicenter closed for safety inspections fox-news/world/disasters/earthquakes fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/military/navy fox news fnc/us fnc Dom Calicchio bfe44768-56d4-56e2-bd2b-e223c223a0d6 article

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Navy SEAL accused of killing ISIS detainee was victim of ‘target and fixation,’ attorney says in closing arguments

Westlake Legal Group eddie-gallagher Navy SEAL accused of killing ISIS detainee was victim of 'target and fixation,' attorney says in closing arguments Samuel Chamberlain fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-trials fox-news/us/military/marines fox news fnc/us fnc article 299290d7-c09c-54cd-9a8d-4e5532b14df6

Jury deliberations started Monday in the trial of decorated Navy SEAL Edward “Eddie” Gallagher, as military prosecutors said his words and actions proved he murdered a member of the Islamic State terror network in May 2017, while the defense said the prosecution’s case had “huge gaping holes.”

Gallagher, 40, has been accused of stabbing to death a teenager who was detained as a member of ISIS in Iraq. He also allegedly posed with the detainee’s corpse for photographs and shot civilians.

The trial in San Diego has captured national attention as Gallagher’s defense has been championed by his family and some congressional Republicans who have claimed he’s a hero getting railroaded. President Trump even intervened to get Gallagher removed from the brig as he awaited trial and is said to be considering a pardon for him.

Gallagher’s defense attorney argued his client was a subject of “fixation” by military prosecutors. “They started with a conclusion … [and] … ignored everything that didn’t fit,” Timothy Parlatore told the jury of five Marines and two sailors during his closing argument.

DON BROWN: PROSECUTING AMERICAN WARRIORS FOR KILLING THE ENEMY UNDERMINES ‘AMERICA FIRST’

Summing up for the prosecution, Cmdr. Jeff Pietrzyk argued that Gallagher’s own words and actions, as well as the testimony of his fellow troops, demonstrated his guilt.

“The government’s evidence in this case is Chief Gallagher’s words, Chief Gallagher’s pictures, Chief Gallagher’s SEALs,” Pietrzyk said.

The prosecutor dismissed the testimony of Special Operator Corey Scott, who testified he saw Gallagher stab the prisoner in the neck but stunned the court when he said he was the one who ultimately killed the prisoner by plugging his breathing tube with his thumb as an act of mercy.

“He [Corey Scott] changed his account to assist Chief Gallagher,” Pietrzyk said. “He had his ‘I am Spartacus’ moment because he thought it would assist Chief Gallagher.”

Parlatore contended that investigators never asked Scott about the cause of the detainee’s death, which is why they were surprised by his testimony.

IRAQI GENERAL TESTIFIES NAVY SEAL EDDIE GALLAGHER DID NOT STAB ISIS DETAINEE

“After he [Scott] received immunity, he told them,” the defense attorney said. “… Nobody could have anticipated unless they asked him the right question the first time around … They focused solely on Eddie Gallagher … They didn’t even listen to their own witness.”

During the trial, it was revealed that nearly all the platoon members readily posed for photos with the dead prisoner and watched as Gallagher read his reenlistment oath near the body in an impromptu ceremony.

“That’s something you do over your accomplishment,” Pietrzyk said. “… He [Gallagher] was proud of what he had just done.”

Nearly a dozen SEALs testified over two weeks. Most were granted immunity to protect them from being prosecuted for acts they described on the stand.

PROSECUTION EXPERT ADMITS NO EVIDENCE OF STAB WOUNDS IN NAVY SEAL WAR CRIMES TRIAL

Seven SEALs said Gallagher unexpectedly stabbed the prisoner, moments after he and the other medics treated the 17-year-old boy. Two, including Scott, testified they saw Gallagher plunge his knife into the prisoner’s neck.

Parlatore accused those witnesses of plotting against Gallagher to accuse him of murder and singled out Special Warfare Operator Chief Craig Miller, the first to testify that he saw Gallagher stab the detainee, as “the king of this mutiny.”

An Iraqi general who handed the wounded prisoner to the SEALs testified that Gallagher did not stab the boy. And, Marine Staff Sgt. Giorgio Kirylo said after the militant died that he moved the body to take a “cool guy trophy” photo with it and saw no stab wounds on his neck.

The prosecutor said he wouldn’t try to argue sympathy for the teenage prisoner, who had been wounded in an airstrike.

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“Before the airstrike, he would have done anything in his power to kill an American,” Pietrzyk said before adding the prisoner was not a lawful target once he was in the SEALs’ custody.

“We’re not ISIS. When we capture someone and they’re out of the fight, that’s it,” Pietrzyk said. “That’s where the line is drawn.”

Fox News’ Dan Gallo and Jonathan Hunt in San Diego and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group eddie-gallagher Navy SEAL accused of killing ISIS detainee was victim of 'target and fixation,' attorney says in closing arguments Samuel Chamberlain fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-trials fox-news/us/military/marines fox news fnc/us fnc article 299290d7-c09c-54cd-9a8d-4e5532b14df6   Westlake Legal Group eddie-gallagher Navy SEAL accused of killing ISIS detainee was victim of 'target and fixation,' attorney says in closing arguments Samuel Chamberlain fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-trials fox-news/us/military/marines fox news fnc/us fnc article 299290d7-c09c-54cd-9a8d-4e5532b14df6

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Prosecution in Eddie Gallagher trial rests case, SEAL’s defense blasts investigator

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6051113505001_6051114060001-vs Prosecution in Eddie Gallagher trial rests case, SEAL’s defense blasts investigator fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-trials fox news fnc/us fnc f7baff42-ad65-5024-9fc6-da4237a9982e Dan Gallo article

The prosecution in the court-martial of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher rested its case Tuesday, ending six days of testimony in which SEALs accused one of their own of stabbing to death an ISIS prisoner in Iraq in 2017.

Gallagher is charged with premeditated murder.

In a trial that has frayed the reputation of the SEAL community, the Navy’s lead investigator took the witness stand for cross-examination and was accused of vindictiveness, incompetence and a rush to judgment.

Marc Mukasey, one of Gallagher’s lawyers, accused Special Agent Joseph Warpinski of misconduct, which he said began as soon as the Naval Criminal Investigative Service began its investigation in 2018.

Mukasey accused the investigator of engaging in improper practices, alleging he lied to witnesses about the anonymity of their initial testimony.

“You let him believe he would be a confidential source,” Mukasey said of an interview with Navy Seal Chief Craig Miller, the first witness interviewed by Warpinski. Miller testified last week he saw Gallagher stab the detainee.

“You told him his name would be protected,” he said. “You told him this so he could go to town on Eddie Gallagher…because nobody would ever find out.”

Raising his voice throughout questioning, Mukasey accused Warpinski of drafting SEALs “to get on the ‘Screw Eddie Gallagher Train.’”

“Jump on the train, come on aboard,” Mukasey jousted.

He said the investigator sided with SEALs who testified against Gallagher during NCIS interviews. Warpinski denied that, until Mukasey showed him an interview transcript.

“Did you or did you not tell Chief Miller you already had your take on the investigation on the first day?” Mukasey asked.

“I stand corrected,” Warpinski replied.

“You didn’t know what Chief Miller did in Iraq, what his agenda was,” Mukasey said. “You had no idea whether he was trying to frame Eddie Gallagher or not.”

Mukasey cited another interview in which Warpinski told a SEAL the case was “black and white.”

“It was just an expression,” Warpisnki said. “I was trying to build a rapport with him.”

The defense attorney also blasted Warpinski for encouraging witnesses to talk to each other during the investigation.

“Did you take everything you learned at the Federal Law Enforcement Academy and throw it in the garbage?” Mukasey charged. He later accused the investigator of getting too friendly with SEALs.

“You’re not supposed to be the witness’ pal,” Mukasey said. “You’re supposed to be an independent, unbiased fact finder.”

While Warpinski defended the integrity of his investigation, he admitted to some bad practices in the case. “Sure, I made mistakes,” he said.

At the heart of the case is whether Gallagher committed a war crime, stabbing an ISIS prisoner to death. In bombshell testimony Thursday, Special Operator 1st Class Corey Scott testified he saw Gallagher stab the man, but said it was he who killed the prisoner by putting his finger over his breathing tube.

“You never asked Corey Scott for a cause of death, did you?” Mukasey asked. “I didn’t say it in those exact words,” Warpinski replied.

Scott testified under testimonial immunity, which prevents him from being prosecuted for murder.

The Navy prosecutor jumped on that point Tuesday, accusing Scott of never admitting to NCIS investigators that he murdered the prisoner, even in a post-immunity interview.

“At that point, did he tell you, ‘No, no, no, it was me who killed the ISIS detainee’?” the Navy prosecutor asked.

“No,” the investigator said, Scott did not ask to change his story, even though he was given an opportunity to make changes or corrections to his pre-immunity testimony.

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The defense will begins its case Wednesday morning. The trial is expected to last until next week, when a 7-man jury will deliberate on Gallagher’s fate. Only 5 of the 7 jurors are needed to convict Gallagher.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6051113505001_6051114060001-vs Prosecution in Eddie Gallagher trial rests case, SEAL’s defense blasts investigator fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-trials fox news fnc/us fnc f7baff42-ad65-5024-9fc6-da4237a9982e Dan Gallo article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6051113505001_6051114060001-vs Prosecution in Eddie Gallagher trial rests case, SEAL’s defense blasts investigator fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-trials fox news fnc/us fnc f7baff42-ad65-5024-9fc6-da4237a9982e Dan Gallo article

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Prosecution expert witness admits no evidence of stab wound in Navy SEAL war crimes trial

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6051160791001_6051147978001-vs Prosecution expert witness admits no evidence of stab wound in Navy SEAL war crimes trial fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-trials fox news fnc/us fnc Dan Gallo article 4566239c-4463-5e82-bddb-9d7e6b4979bf

SAN DIEGO- An expert witness called by the prosecution in the court-martial trial of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher told the court Monday that there is no physical or photographic evidence to prove a stabbing occurred in the death of an ISIS prisoner back in 2017. 

Dr. Frank Sheridan, a forensic pathologist, told a Navy prosecutor earlier that the alleged victim’s injuries were consistent with a stab wound, but later– when questioned by Gallagher’s attorney– appeared to cast doubt on his earlier comments.

“There is no evidence at all that a stabbing occurred,” said Maj. Nelson Candelario, a Marine defense attorney representing Gallagher.

“That’s true,” Sheridan replied.

“As far as you can see, there is no blood on his hands?” Candelario asked, displaying a photo of Gallagher at the scene. “As far as I can see,” the pathologist said.

“Your testimony here is built on possibilities and maybes,” Candelario said, pointing out that there was no autopsy or physical evidence.

Gallagher’s trial has drawn national attention and even a response from President Trump.

Its most dramatic moment came last week when a SEAL Team Seven medic– testifying under an immunity agreement—  told the court that he held his “thumb over his TT tube” until the ISIS teen “quit breathing.” He earlier claimed that he saw Gallagher stab the boy in his neck.

Gallagher, 39,  served nine months in prison while he awaited trial in the fatal stabbing of the 15-year old ISIS fighter in Iraq. He has also been accused of shooting two civilians in the same year, and opening fire on crowds, all claims he has denied.

RETIRED ARMY CAPTAIN: THIS TRIAL IS A DISGRACE

Investigators allege that, while the teen was receiving medical treatment from SEAL medics, Gallagher walked up and stabbed him in his neck and side with a knife, killing him. Then, they say, he posed for photographs with the fighter’s body, holding his head in one hand and his blade in the other.

Those allegations have been called into question by top Iraqi military officials.

In a tense exchange later in the day, Gallagher’s lead defense attorney attacked an agent from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service for “dragging” Gallagher’s children—8 and 18 at the time— to the street during a raid of Gallagher’s home in 2018.

“They were taken out of the house in their underwear,” charged attorney Timothy Parlatore. “Yes, sir,” said NCIS Special Agent James Frank. The agent cited “standard protocol,” explaining that investigators clear a house before searching it.

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The trial resumes Tuesday with the lead NCIS investigator on the stand. Special Agent Joseph Warpinski oversaw the investigation into the alleged stabbing and has been accused of misconduct by defense attorneys.

“This is the guy who put his own career ambition ahead of his sworn duty as a law enforcement officer,” Parlatore told reporters after court on Friday. “He’s going to have to answer for a lot of the misdeeds that he has committed over this past two years.”

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6051160791001_6051147978001-vs Prosecution expert witness admits no evidence of stab wound in Navy SEAL war crimes trial fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-trials fox news fnc/us fnc Dan Gallo article 4566239c-4463-5e82-bddb-9d7e6b4979bf   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6051160791001_6051147978001-vs Prosecution expert witness admits no evidence of stab wound in Navy SEAL war crimes trial fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-trials fox news fnc/us fnc Dan Gallo article 4566239c-4463-5e82-bddb-9d7e6b4979bf

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Navy won’t drop murder charges against SEAL Edward Gallagher despite bombshell testimony

Navy prosecutors are still pursuing murder charges against Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher even after bombshell testimony Thursday by a Navy colleague who confessed that he was the one to kill the teenage Islamic State fighter.

Special Operator 1st Class Corey Scott, a SEAL Team Seven medic, testifying for the prosecution under an immunity agreement, told the court that he held his “thumb over his TT tube until he quit breathing,” admitting that he asphyxiated the captive, despite saying that he saw Gallagher stab the boy in his neck.

MEDIC TESTIFIES THAT HE, NOT NAVY SEAL EDDIE GALLAGHER, WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR ISIS FIGHTER’S DEATH

When cross-examined by the defense, Scott said he killed the fighter because he knew “he was going to die anyways.”

“I wanted to save him from what was going to happen to him next,” Scott said, referring to alleged torture by Iraqi captors.

Gallagher served nine months in prison awaiting trial in the fatal stabbing of the 15-year old ISIS fighter in Iraq in 2017. He has also been accused of shooting two civilians in the same year, and opening fire on crowds, all claims he has vociferously denied.

Gallagher’s attorney Tim Parlatore, said at a news conference he is “expecting a not-guilty verdict” after Scott’s testimony.

Prosecutors are now treating Scott as a hostile witness, saying that he did not disclose that he was the one to asphyxiate the ISIS fighter in his pre-trial interviews and is only doing so now because he has an immunity deal and doesn’t want to see his colleague go to prison.

Gallagher, a decorated naval officer with 19 years of service who earned a Bronze Star with V for Valor twice, a Meritorious Unit Commendation and a trio of Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medals, was joined by his wife and two children outside the courtroom Thursday.

Westlake Legal Group Eddie-Gallagher Navy won't drop murder charges against SEAL Edward Gallagher despite bombshell testimony Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/tech/topics/us-navy fox news fnc/us fnc Dan Gallo b5feb9e6-d865-581d-9d12-87ef2fdb788f article

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“We’ve been patiently waiting for the truth to come out and we’ve heard from a lot of people who are intent and have colluded for over two years to take down my husband, so to hear today that someone finally had the bravery to stand up for the truth was refreshing after all of these years,” Andrea Gallagher said at a press conference.

“This is probably the worst-case scenario of what you could expect as a military family after nearly 20 years of service,” she added.

Westlake Legal Group 990505083001_6050564330001_6050560406001-vs Navy won't drop murder charges against SEAL Edward Gallagher despite bombshell testimony Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/tech/topics/us-navy fox news fnc/us fnc Dan Gallo b5feb9e6-d865-581d-9d12-87ef2fdb788f article   Westlake Legal Group 990505083001_6050564330001_6050560406001-vs Navy won't drop murder charges against SEAL Edward Gallagher despite bombshell testimony Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/tech/topics/us-navy fox news fnc/us fnc Dan Gallo b5feb9e6-d865-581d-9d12-87ef2fdb788f article

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Retired Army captain: Eddie Gallagher’s trial is a ‘disgrace,’ ‘clearly, he did not murder anyone’

Westlake Legal Group Smith-Merritt_FOX Retired Army captain: Eddie Gallagher's trial is a 'disgrace,' 'clearly, he did not murder anyone' fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-trials fox-news/us/military/army fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/politics fnc Charles Creitz article 06b4b663-9b15-56d6-86fb-262a3466e577

The trial of Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher — who is accused of killing an injured ISIS prisoner of war in Iraq – is a “disgrace,” according to a fellow service member.

Speaking Thursday after a medic stunningly claimed he killed the combatant by suffocating him, retired U.S. Army Capt. Tyler Merritt told Sandra Smith on “The Story” the testimony proves Gallagher’s innocent.

“Blatantly – clearly, he did not murder anyone,” he said. “If there is another individual who said they asphyxiated a wounded combatant, then it’s kind of hard for Eddie to be guilty of murder.”

MEDIC TESTIFIES THAT HE, NOT NAVY SEAL EDDIE GALLAGHER, WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR ISIS FIGHTER’S DEATH

Merritt was alluding to testimony from Special Operator 1st Class Corey Scott, who revealed during cross-examination he killed the ISIS fighter.

“Why did you kill him?” Gallagher attorney Timothy Parlatore asked Scott during the trial Thursday in San Diego.

“Because I knew he was going to die anyway,” Scott answered. “I wanted to save him from what was going to happen next to him.”

Merritt – who served with Gallagher – slammed the charges against the officer.

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“You are asking Navy SEALs to go to foreign countries and do bad things to bad people and this is a bad person … that is a military-aged male,” he told Smith.

“Regardless of all of that, Eddie did not murder this individual. He is an honorable man and what’s happened here is an absolute travesty.”

Gallagher, 40, has pleaded not guilty to premeditated murder and aggravated assault charges stemming from the alleged killing and alleged instances of firing sniper rounds at civilians in Iraq.

Fox News’ Greg Norman and Dan Gallo contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Smith-Merritt_FOX Retired Army captain: Eddie Gallagher's trial is a 'disgrace,' 'clearly, he did not murder anyone' fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-trials fox-news/us/military/army fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/politics fnc Charles Creitz article 06b4b663-9b15-56d6-86fb-262a3466e577   Westlake Legal Group Smith-Merritt_FOX Retired Army captain: Eddie Gallagher's trial is a 'disgrace,' 'clearly, he did not murder anyone' fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-trials fox-news/us/military/army fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/politics fnc Charles Creitz article 06b4b663-9b15-56d6-86fb-262a3466e577

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Gulf tanker attack: Iran has form for using clingy, covert ‘limpet mines’ which instantly disable vessels

The U.S. blamed Iran for the attacks on oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, releasing a video Friday supposedly showing Iran’s Revolutionary Guard removing an unexploded limpet mine from one of the vessels.

The black-and-white footage, as well as still photographs released by the U.S. military’s Central Command on Friday, appeared to show the limpet mine on the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous, before a

A Revolutionary Guard patrol boat pulled alongside the ship and removed the mine, Central Command spokesman Capt. Bill Urban said.

At least one other mine attached to the tanker’s hull detonated, causing the blast near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, a key route for oil shipments in the region.

But what are the so-called “limpet mines”?

Westlake Legal Group 2000-29 Gulf tanker attack: Iran has form for using clingy, covert 'limpet mines' which instantly disable vessels Lukas Mikelionis fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/defense fox news fnc/world fnc b518b4b6-1109-5c4a-af2a-24fd810dc2a8 article

This June 13, 2019, image released by the U.S. military’s Central Command, shows damage and a suspected mine on the Kokuka Courageous in the Gulf of Oman near the coast of Iran. The U.S. military on Friday, June 14, 2019, released a video it said showed Iran’s Revolutionary Guard removing an unexploded limpet mine from one of the oil tankers targeted near the Strait of Hormuz, suggesting the Islamic Republic sought to remove evidence of its involvement from the scene. (U.S. Central Command via AP)

IRANIAN VESSEL REMOVED UNEXPLODED MINE FROM STRICKEN OIL TANKER IN GULF OF OMAN, US OFFICIALS SAY

The mines got the name from the real limpets, small sea snails that easily cling to hard surfaces and rocks.

The weapon was first developed by the British during World War 2 and is often used in covert action in order to damage ships because they are easily attachable.

There are certain variations, with some detonated by a time fuse while other explode only after the vessel to which the mine is attached travels a specific distance.

In most cases, the mines are magnetic and are easily attachable to the hulls of a ship. They normally just disable rather than sink a vessel.

This wouldn’t the first time Iran used the mines to attack oil tankers. In the 1980s, the “Tanker War” erupted in the midst of the eight-year conflict between Iran and Iraq, threatening to disrupt the global oil supply.

Both countries back then attacked each other oil tankers in the Persian Gulf, with Iran using the limpet mines to cause damage. The conflict prompted then-President Ronald Reagan to intervene and provide protection in the Strait of Hormuz for certain tankers to ensure steady supply of oil.

Westlake Legal Group 2000-30 Gulf tanker attack: Iran has form for using clingy, covert 'limpet mines' which instantly disable vessels Lukas Mikelionis fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/defense fox news fnc/world fnc b518b4b6-1109-5c4a-af2a-24fd810dc2a8 article

This June 13, 2019, image released by the U.S. military’s Central Command, shows damage and a suspected mine on the Kokuka Courageous in the Gulf of Oman near the coast of Iran. The U.S. military on Friday, June 14, 2019, released a video it said showed Iran’s Revolutionary Guard removing an unexploded limpet mine from one of the oil tankers targeted near the Strait of Hormuz, suggesting the Islamic Republic sought to remove evidence of its involvement from the scene. (U.S. Central Command via AP)

TRUMP NOT ‘WORTHY’ OF RESPONSE, IRAN’S SUPREME LEADER SAYS AS JAPAN’S ABE TRIES TO EASE TENSIONS

President Trump said in an interview with “Fox & Friends on Friday morning that the limpet mine had “Iran written all over it.”

“Iran did do it and you know they did it because you saw the boat,” he said, before pointing to video that the Iranians removing the unexploded mine. “They’re a nation of terror and they’ve changed a lot since I’ve been president, I can tell you,” he added.

“Iran did do it and you know they did it because you saw the boat.”

— President Trump

TRUMP WARNS IRAN OVER TANKER ATTACK: ‘WE DON’T TAKE IT LIGHTLY’

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other U.S. officials suggested the use of mines in the incident implicates Iran because the limpet mines were used in the May attack on four oil tankers near Emirati port of Fujairah.

“This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication,” Pompeo said during a press conference on Thursday.

He added that Iran was working to disrupt the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz and this is a deliberate part of a campaign to escalate tension, adding that the U.S. would defend its forces and interests in the region, although he did not elaborate.

Westlake Legal Group 2000-31 Gulf tanker attack: Iran has form for using clingy, covert 'limpet mines' which instantly disable vessels Lukas Mikelionis fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/defense fox news fnc/world fnc b518b4b6-1109-5c4a-af2a-24fd810dc2a8 article

This June 13, 2019 false-color image from the European Commission’s Sentinel-2 satellite that was processed by Sinergise’s Sentinel Hub website shows the Norwegian-owned MT Front Altair ablaze with smoke rising from it in the Gulf of Oman after what the U.S. described as a limpet mine attack by Iran. Iran has denied being involved in the incident. The white light in the image is the sun being reflected off the waters of the Gulf of Oman. (European Commission via AP)

Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, denied the accusations and said of the latest incident: “Suspicious doesn’t begin to describe what likely transpired this morning.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, meanwhile, slammed the U.S. for pursuing an aggressive policy against Iran.

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While the Iranian leader didn’t mention the tankers, he said the U.S. is “using all opportunities for radicalizing the situation, which undermines the stability not only in our region but in the whole world.”

He added that America has been “carrying out an aggressive policy and posing a serious threat to regional stability.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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US carrier in Persian Gulf region sends clear signal to Iran

Under a starry sky, U.S. Navy fighter jets catapulted off the aircraft carrier’s deck and flew north over the darkened waters of the northern Arabian Sea, a unmistaken signal to Iran that the foremost symbol of the American military’s global reach is back in its neighborhood, perhaps to stay.

The USS Abraham Lincoln , with its contingent of Navy destroyers and cruisers and a fighting force of about 70 aircraft, is the centerpiece of the Pentagon’s response to what it calls Iranian threats to attack U.S. forces or commercial shipping in the Persian Gulf region. In recent years, there has been no regular U.S. aircraft carrier presence in the Middle East.

U.S. officials have said that signs of heightened Iranian preparations to strike U.S. and other targets in the waters off Iran as well as in Iraq and Yemen in late April emerged shortly after the Trump administration announced it was clamping down further on Iran’s economy by ending waivers to sanctions on buyers of Iranian crude oil.

The administration went a step beyond that on Friday, announcing penalties that target Iran’s largest petrochemical company.

On Saturday the Lincoln was steaming in international waters east of Oman and about 200 miles from Iran’s southern coastline. One month after its arrival in the region, the Lincoln has not entered the Persian Gulf, and it’s not apparent that it will. The USS Gonzalez, a destroyer that is part of the Lincoln strike group, is operating in the Gulf.

Rear Adm. John F. G. Wade, commander of the Lincoln strike group, said Iran’s naval forces have adhered to international standards of interaction with ships in his group.

“Since we’ve been operating in the region, we’ve had several interactions with Iranians,” he said. “To this point all have been safe and professional — meaning, the Iranians have done nothing to impede our maneuverability or acted in a way which required us to take defensive measures.”

The Lincoln’s contingent of 44 Navy F-18 Super Hornets are flying a carefully calibrated set of missions off the carrier night and day, mainly to establish a visible U.S. “presence” that Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, the head of Central Command, said Saturday seems to have caused Iran to “tinker with” its preparation for potential attacks.

He said on Friday that he thinks Iran had been planning some sort of attack on shipping or U.S. forces in Iraq. Two other officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive details, said Iran was at a high state of readiness in early May with its ships, submarines, surface-to-air missiles and drone aircraft.

“It is my assessment that if we had not reinforced, it is entirely likely that an attack would have taken place by now,” McKenzie said.

In an interview on the bridge, or command station, of the Lincoln with reporters who are traveling with him throughout the Gulf region, McKenzie said the carrier has made an important difference.

“We believe they are recalculating. They have to take this into account as they think about various actions that they might take. So we think this is having a very god stabilizing effect,” he said.

“They are looking hard at the carrier because they know we are looking hard at them,” McKenzie said.

He said earlier in the week that he had not ruled out requesting additional defensive forces to bolster the deterrence of Iran, whose economy is being squeezed hard by U.S. sanctions after President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. last year from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers. The U.S. already has announced plans to send 900 additional troops to the Mideast and extend the stay of 600 more as tens of thousands of others also are on the ground across the region.

Iran’s influential Revolutionary Guard has said it doesn’t fear a possible war with the U.S. and asserted that America’s military might has not grown in power in recent years. “The enemy is not more powerful than before,” the Guard spokesman, Gen. Ramazan Sharif, said in late May.

The U.S. has accused Iran of being behind a string of recent incidents, including what officials allege was sabotage of oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

McKenzie spent two days aboard the Lincoln to confer with naval commanders, observe both daytime and nighttime flight operations, and to thank crew members. Their deployment plans were disrupted when the White House approved McKenzie’s request in early May that the Lincoln cut short its time in the Mediterranean Sea and sail swiftly to the Arabian Sea.

“I am the reason you are here,” the general said in an all-hands announcement to the nearly 6,000 personnel on the Lincoln Friday night shortly after he flew aboard by Navy helicopter from Oman.

“I requested this ship because of ongoing tensions with Iran,” he said. “And nothing says you’re interested in somebody like 90,000 tons of aircraft carrier and everything that comes with it. Our intent by bringing you here was to stabilize the situation and let Iran know that now is not the time to do something goofy.”

McKenzie also requested, and received, four Air Force long-range B-52 bombers. They were in the region 51 hours after being summoned and were flying missions three days later. They are now operating from al-Udeid air base in Qatar. There had been no U.S. bomber presence in the Gulf region since late February.

In an interview Friday after speaking with B-52 pilots at al-Udeid, McKenzie said it’s hard to know whether that gap in a bomber presence had emboldened the Iranians.

“Cumulatively, the fact that we had drawn down in (the Mideast) may have had an effect on Iranian behavior,” he said. “We do know that bringing stuff back in seems to have had an effect on their behavior,” noting that there have been no Iranian attacks on U.S. forces.

On Saturday aboard the Lincoln, McKenzie was asked whether there have been any incidents between Iranian and American naval force in recent weeks.

“No, actually I think things are pretty quiet right now,” he said.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-b7370e22fb514026aaec1c53ec0cb813 US carrier in Persian Gulf region sends clear signal to Iran ROBERT BURNS fox-news/us/military/navy fnc/us fnc Associated Press article 7ed7b798-6ac8-563e-b98a-cb0420ffbfe1   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-b7370e22fb514026aaec1c53ec0cb813 US carrier in Persian Gulf region sends clear signal to Iran ROBERT BURNS fox-news/us/military/navy fnc/us fnc Associated Press article 7ed7b798-6ac8-563e-b98a-cb0420ffbfe1

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Trump says not involved with keeping McCain ship out of view

President Donald Trump and his acting defense secretary distanced themselves Thursday from an order to keep a warship rededicated in honor of the late Sen. John McCain, a Trump thorn , out of sight during the commander in chief’s recent visit to Japan.

The Pentagon’s acting chief, Patrick Shanahan, said he never authorized attempts to make sure Trump would not see the USS John S. McCain at its homeport in Japan and would have his chief of staff investigate. Trump said he was not involved in the matter.

Trump, who long feuded with McCain , told reporters at the White House that he “was not a big fan” of the Arizona Republican and onetime presidential nominee “in any way, shape or form.” But, Trump added, “I would never do a thing like that.”

“Now, somebody did it because they thought I didn’t like him, OK? And they were well-meaning, I will say,” he said, while insisting he was kept in the dark.

The order that a Navy destroyer be kept out of sight reflected what appeared to be an extraordinary White House effort to avoid offending an unpredictable president known for holding a grudge, including a particularly bitter one against McCain.

Three U.S. officials confirmed to The Associated Press that the White House told the Navy to keep the warship named for McCain, his father and his grandfather out of Trump’s sight during Trump’s visit Tuesday to a base outside Tokyo.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that a U.S. Indo-Pacific Command official wrote an email to Navy and Air Force officials about Trump’s Memorial Day weekend visit, including instructions for preparations for the USS Wasp, where he was to speak.

“USS John McCain needs to be out of sight,” according to the email, obtained by the Journal and whose existence was confirmed to the AP by the three U.S. officials. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss private email correspondence.

When a Navy commander expressed surprise at the instruction, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command official answered, “First I heard of it as well,” the Journal reported. The official said he would talk to the White House Military Office to get more information about the directive, the newspaper reported.

Trump tweeted late Wednesday that he “was not informed about anything having to do with the Navy Ship USS John S. McCain during my recent visit to Japan.”

Still, he added Thursday that he “was very, very angry with McCain because he killed health care. I was not a big fan of John McCain in any way, shape or form.”

As a senator, McCain broke with the president in key areas. He incensed Trump with his thumbs-down vote foiling the effort to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law. Trump also mocked McCain’s military service, which included years of imprisonment and torture during the Vietnam War.

The warship, commissioned in 1994, was originally named for the senator’s father and grandfather, both Navy admirals named John Sidney McCain. Last year, the Navy rededicated the ship to honor the senator as well.

Shanahan told reporters in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Thursday that he had been unaware of the request about the USS John S. McCain.

“I never authorized, I never approved any action around the movement or activities regarding that ship,” Shanahan said. He said the military “needs to do their job” and stay out of politics.

The Journal, citing photos it reviewed, reported that a tarp was placed over the USS John S. McCain’s name before Trump’s arrival and that sailors were instructed to remove any coverings from the ship that included its name.

Asked if the tarp was meant to block Trump’s view of the ship, the officials said the tarp had been placed on the ship for maintenance and removed for the visit. Navy Cdr. Clay Doss, spokesman for U.S. 7th Fleet, told the AP that the tarp was on the ship on Friday but was removed by Saturday morning, the day Trump arrived in Japan.

“All ships remained in normal configuration during the President’s visit,” he said.

Two U.S. officials told AP that all the ships in the harbor were lined up for Trump’s visit, and they were visible from the USS Wasp. The officials said most of their names probably could not be seen since they were side by side but that the name of the USS John S. McCain could be seen from the pier.

Rear Adm. Charlie Brown, Navy public affairs officer, tweeted Wednesday night: “The name of USS John S. McCain was not obscured during the POTUS visit to Yokosuka on Memorial Day. The Navy is proud of that ship, its crew, its namesake and its heritage.” POTUS stands for president of the United States.

A paint barge was in front of the USS John S. McCain on Saturday morning when 7th Fleet officials walked the pier to see how everything looked for the visit. The barge was then ordered to be moved and was gone by the time Trump arrived, the officials said.

The Journal reported that sailors on the USS John S. McCain, who usually wear hats with the ship’s name on it, were given the day off when Trump visited.

Two U.S. officials told the AP that sailors on the USS John S. McCain were not told to stay away but that many were away for the long weekend. The officials also said that about 800 sailors from more than 20 ships and Navy commands were on the USS Wasp during the president’s visit, and all wore the same Navy hat that has no logo, rather than wearing individual ship or command hats.

Trump was not welcome at McCain’s funeral and raised the White House’s U.S. flag back to full-staff shortly after McCain’s death last August, despite U.S. Flag Code stating that it should remain at half-staff for another day. The flag returned to half-staff later in the day.

McCain’s daughter Meghan tweeted Wednesday that Trump will “always be deeply threatened by the greatness of my dads incredible life.”

She added, “There is a lot of criticism of how much I speak about my dad, but nine months since he passed, Trump won’t let him RIP. So I have to stand up for him.

“It makes my grief unbearable.”

___

Associated Press writer Jill Colvin contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-bd504223ee4e4bb69aa0b00d79223288 Trump says not involved with keeping McCain ship out of view LOLITA C. BALDOR fox-news/us/military/navy fnc/us fnc Associated Press article 095a19df-19d7-50fa-8be3-a60c101de552   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-bd504223ee4e4bb69aa0b00d79223288 Trump says not involved with keeping McCain ship out of view LOLITA C. BALDOR fox-news/us/military/navy fnc/us fnc Associated Press article 095a19df-19d7-50fa-8be3-a60c101de552

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AP sources: White House wanted McCain ship away from Trump

The White House wanted the U.S. Navy to keep a warship named for the late Sen. John McCain out of President Donald Trump’s view during his trip to Japan, three U.S. officials said.

As first reported Wednesday by The Wall Street Journal, a U.S. Indo-Pacific Command official wrote an email to Navy and Air Force officials about Trump’s arrival in Japan over Memorial Day weekend. It included instructions for the proper landing areas for helicopters and preparations for the USS Wasp, the ship on which the president was to speak.

The official then issued a third instruction: “USS John McCain needs to be out of sight,” according to the email, which was obtained by the Journal and whose existence was confirmed to The Associated Press.

The three U.S. officials spoke Wednesday to the AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss private email correspondence.

When a Navy commander expressed surprise at the instruction, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command official answered, “First I heard of it as well,” the Journal reported. The official said he would talk to the White House Military Office to get more information about the directive, the newspaper reported.

In response to the story, Trump — who feuded with McCain publicly for years and at one point mocked his military service — tweeted that he “was not informed about anything having to do with the Navy Ship USS John S. McCain during my recent visit to Japan.”

The president notably does not say that he was not informed about the ship before his visit to Japan. A message seeking clarification was left late Wednesday for White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.

In Jakarta, Indonesia, on Thursday morning, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters, “When I read about it this morning, it was the first I heard about it.” Asked if he would investigate, Shanahan said he would need to know more first.

The Wall Street Journal reported that a tarp was placed over the USS John S. McCain’s name before Trump’s arrival, according to photos it reviewed, and that sailors were instructed to remove any coverings from the ship that included its name.

U.S. Navy Cdr. Clay Doss, spokesman for U.S. 7th Fleet, told the AP that the tarp was on the ship on Friday but was removed by Saturday morning, the day Trump arrived. “All ships remained in normal configuration during the President’s visit,” he said.

Two U.S. officials told the AP that all the ships in the harbor were lined up for Trump’s visit, and they were visible from the USS Wasp. The officials said, however, that most of their names probably could not be seen since they were side by side but that the name of the USS John S. McCain could be seen from the pier.

Asked if the tarp was meant to block Trump’s view of the ship, the officials said the tarp had been placed on the ship for maintenance and removed for the visit.

Rear Adm. Charlie Brown, Navy public affairs officer, tweeted Wednesday night: “The name of USS John S. McCain was not obscured during the POTUS visit to Yokosuka on Memorial Day. The Navy is proud of that ship, its crew, its namesake and its heritage.”

Two U.S. officials said a paint barge was in front of the USS John S. McCain on Saturday morning when 7th Fleet officials walked the pier to see how everything looked for the visit. The barge was then ordered to be moved and was gone by the time Trump arrived, the officials said.

The Journal reported, based on people familiar with the matter, that sailors on the USS John S. McCain, who usually wear hats with the ship’s name on it, were given the day off when Trump visited.

Two U.S. officials told the AP that sailors on the USS John S. McCain were not told to stay away but that many were away for the long weekend. The officials also said that about 800 sailors from more than 20 ships and Navy commands were on the USS Wasp during the president’s visit, and all wore the same Navy hat that has no logo, rather than wearing individual ship or command hats.

Trump and McCain had a frosty relationship and that continued, on Trump’s part, even after McCain died in August 2018 of brain cancer.

In 2015, McCain, a Republican senator from Arizona, had gotten under then-candidate Trump’s skin by saying he had “fired up the crazies” at a rally in Phoenix. Trump, also a Republican, later told a crowd in Iowa that McCain was only a war hero “because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

After Trump took office, McCain established himself as a leading critic, opposing Trump’s immigration-limiting order, warning him against coziness with Moscow and lecturing him on the illegality of torture. The senator incensed the president with his thumbs-down vote that foiled the president’s efforts to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Trump was not welcome at McCain’s funeral and raised the White House’s U.S. flag back to full-staff shortly after McCain’s death, despite U.S. Flag Code stating that it should remain at half-staff for another day. The flag returned to half-staff later in the day.

McCain’s daughter, Meghan, tweeted Wednesday that Trump will “always be deeply threatened by the greatness of my dads incredible life.”

She added, “There is a lot of criticism of how much I speak about my dad, but nine months since he passed, Trump won’t let him RIP. So I have to stand up for him.

“It makes my grief unbearable.”

Westlake Legal Group ca7866eb-ContentBroker_contentid-0977137d3a024a9393d80edeeab4384a AP sources: White House wanted McCain ship away from Trump LOLITA C. BALDOR fox-news/us/military/navy fnc/us fnc Associated Press article 095a19df-19d7-50fa-8be3-a60c101de552   Westlake Legal Group ca7866eb-ContentBroker_contentid-0977137d3a024a9393d80edeeab4384a AP sources: White House wanted McCain ship away from Trump LOLITA C. BALDOR fox-news/us/military/navy fnc/us fnc Associated Press article 095a19df-19d7-50fa-8be3-a60c101de552

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