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Westlake Legal Group > fox-news/us/military (Page 8)

Iraqi general testifies Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher did not stab ISIS detainee

Westlake Legal Group AP19177591793243 Iraqi general testifies Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher did not stab ISIS detainee Louis Casiano fox-news/us/military fox-news/tech/topics/us-navy fox news fnc/us fnc Dan Gallo article 7c06f50e-31d1-5d75-a8db-5f6b366dab88

The Iraqi general at the scene of an alleged murder of an Islamic State prisoner in Iraq in 2017 testified in a deposition video played in court Thursday that Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher never stabbed the teenage detainee. The recording was made earlier this month.

Maj. Gen. Abbas al-Jubouri testified that he never saw Gallagher stab the detainee in the neck. Gallagher served alongside Abbas’ unit in an advise and assist capacity in Mosul.

“At any time did you see Chief Gallagher take out the knife while he was treating the ISIS fighter?” asked Maj. Nelson Candelario, one of Gallagher’s military lawyers.

PROSECUTOR, IN OPENING STATEMENT, SAYS GALLAGHER WAS ‘READY TO KILL

“No,” Abbas replied.

“You never saw him put the knife near the ISIS fighter’s neck?” “No,” he replied.

Abbas told the defense lawyer if had he witnessed improper conduct from SEALs, he would have taken action.

“I would have stepped in,” Abbas said.

“Had you seen Chief Gallagher do anything wrong…you would have reported it?” Candelario asked.

“Exactly,” Abbas replied. “I would have stopped him…I would be very upset.”

SNIPERS TESTIFY THAT NAVY SEAL EDWARD GALLAGHER SHOT YOUNG GIRL AND OLD MAN IN IRAQ

As commander of the Iraqi Emergency Response Division, Abbas said he was in the compound when the injured ISIS prisoner was brought in.

Exactly one week ago, a Navy SEAL testified that Abbas’ unit tortured, raped and murdered prisoners.

The SEAL, Special Operator 1st Class Corey Scott, said he killed the ISIS prisoner by putting his thumb over his breathing tube in order to save him from falling into the hands of Abbas’ unit.

“I knew he was going to die anyway,” Scott told defense attorney Timothy Parlatore. “I wanted to save him from what was going to happen next to him.”

Iraqi forces have been accused by human rights groups of abuses in the battle to oust ISIS from Mosul. Witnesses have said Iraqi soldiers beat unarmed boys and men and routinely abused enemy combatants.

Prosecutors said Scott never mentioned asphyxiation in the many conversations they had with him before trial. Scott — who was granted immunity in exchange for his testimony — said they never asked him the cause of death. He could face perjury charges, Navy officials said, if he is found to have been untruthful on the stand.

The government rested its case Tuesday after calling its last witness — a  computer specialist who testified that Gallagher had texted a photo to a comrade in which he clutched the hair of the dead captive in one hand and a knife in the other.

Gallagher’s superior, Master Chief Petty Officer Brian Alazzawi, also testified Tuesday that some members of Gallagher’s platoon were upset despite the praise they received for their 2017 tour in Iraq.

He said Special Operator First Class Craig Miller told him in October that Gallagher stabbed a prisoner while deployed. Miller said he shared the information because Gallagher was being promoted and had been nominated for the Silver Star.

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Alazzawi said he reported the alleged war crime, but it never went up to the chain of command until 2018.  Gallagher is also accused of shooting two civilians — an elderly man and a school-age girl — from sniper perches in Iraq in 2017.

The seven-man jury is made up of mostly combat veterans in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group AP19177591793243 Iraqi general testifies Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher did not stab ISIS detainee Louis Casiano fox-news/us/military fox-news/tech/topics/us-navy fox news fnc/us fnc Dan Gallo article 7c06f50e-31d1-5d75-a8db-5f6b366dab88   Westlake Legal Group AP19177591793243 Iraqi general testifies Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher did not stab ISIS detainee Louis Casiano fox-news/us/military fox-news/tech/topics/us-navy fox news fnc/us fnc Dan Gallo article 7c06f50e-31d1-5d75-a8db-5f6b366dab88

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Official: Soldiers found dead at Mexico-Arizona border died by suicide

Two Army soldiers found dead this month while deployed to the Mexican border in Arizona died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds, a medical examiner said.

The deaths of Pfc. Steven Hodges of Menifee, Calif., and 21-year-old Pfc. Kevin Christian of Haslet, Texas, occurred weeks apart. Pima County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Greg Hess announced his determination on Thursday.

GUATEMALAN MIGRANTS VOW TO KEEP TRYING TO REACH US BORDER AFTER MEXICO RAMPS UP PRESSURE

Westlake Legal Group Soldiers-wall Official: Soldiers found dead at Mexico-Arizona border died by suicide Louis Casiano fox-news/us/military fox-news/us/immigration/border-security fox news fnc/us fnc article 96de1616-8b9d-5d12-9a20-56e83ca4862a

Army engineers install concertina wire on Nov. 5, 2018, on the Anzalduas International Bridge, Texas. (US Air Force photo by Airman First Class Daniel A. Hernandez)

Hodges was found June 1 near the border city of Nogales; Christian died Sunday, 200 miles away in Ajo.

Both men were assigned to the Southwest Border Support Mission, which has some 2,400 service members.

President Trump has deployed active-duty soldiers to the U.S.-Mexico border to support the Border Patrol amid a surge of migrants from Central America. Duties have included placing hundreds of miles of concertina wire and reinforcing points of entry.

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Military officials said the deaths are still under investigation.

Westlake Legal Group Soldiers-wall Official: Soldiers found dead at Mexico-Arizona border died by suicide Louis Casiano fox-news/us/military fox-news/us/immigration/border-security fox news fnc/us fnc article 96de1616-8b9d-5d12-9a20-56e83ca4862a   Westlake Legal Group Soldiers-wall Official: Soldiers found dead at Mexico-Arizona border died by suicide Louis Casiano fox-news/us/military fox-news/us/immigration/border-security fox news fnc/us fnc article 96de1616-8b9d-5d12-9a20-56e83ca4862a

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Trasa Cobern: The Medal of Honor lesson – Ordinary people can do extraordinary things

I expected a week of superheroes when I signed up for the summer graduate program Medal of Honor Legacy: Cold War.

Having grown up in a military family and on Army bases, I knew all about the Medal of Honor. It is given for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of … life above and beyond the call of duty.” Only 3,506 have been issued since it was first awarded during the Civil War. Most since World War II have been given posthumously, and there are only 70 recipients still with us.

Therefore I jumped at the chance to attend this workshop at Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge during my summer hiatus from teaching American history to 11th graders. I was interested in the Cold War aspect of the program, but far more so in the Medal of Honor Legacy piece. We would get to meet a medal recipient and hear from the Medal of Honor Foundation about character development. I wanted to hear about these superheroes.

EX-ARMY STAFF SERGEANT TO GET MEDAL OF HONOR FOR IRAQ VALOR

Westlake Legal Group mccloughan Trasa Cobern: The Medal of Honor lesson – Ordinary people can do extraordinary things Trasa Cobern fox-news/us/military fox-news/opinion fox-news/faith-values/values fox news fnc/opinion fnc d6c7b55b-6a01-5113-bd9e-434c5ba3f6aa article

James McCloughan jokes with teachers after speaking to them at Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge on June 19. (Photo by Darryl Moran)

I came away disappointed — and for good reason. While Medal of Honor recipients do indeed perform heroic deeds under extremely difficult circumstances, they are not superheroes.

James C. McCloughan, a combat medic who served in Vietnam, spoke to our class. He is not superhuman, nor does he even try to be. He is humble and genuine, loving, and funny. As I watched him during his talk, or when he sat down with us for lunch, I saw a regular person who acted bravely and saved the lives of many men with whom he served. Then he returned home and taught social studies to middle and high school students for almost four decades. He also coached football, wrestling, and baseball. He touched the lives of more than ten thousand students.

Medal of Honor recipients did not act heroically to receive an award. In almost every case, they acted to save the lives of others.

McCloughan told me that teachers are warriors, too. Like soldiers, we have a bond that can’t be broken, and we protect and support one another. At education conferences, we are impatient hearing about classroom management from those lacking teacher experience. Like soldiers, we will listen to those who have been in the thick of it, who have stared at 60 pairs of young eyes looking for information and direction.

Teachers respect and cheer on colleagues who have acted with “gallantry and intrepidity.” Medal of Honor recipient Patrick Brady says intrepidity is doing something for which you could get court-martialed, but then it works. Teachers do this in classrooms every day, all across the country. We don’t always follow the curriculum, or pay attention to mandates from above, or listen to administrators. We do what is best for the kids in our classrooms.

It boils down to individuals and the relationships they form. We teach people, not content.

Medal of Honor recipients did not act heroically to receive an award. In almost every case, they acted to save the lives of others. And they don’t claim the medal as their own. They are caretakers or trustees of an honor that belongs to all those who served, those who made it home and those who did not.

Iraq veteran David Bellavia, who will receive the Medal of Honor Tuesday, understands this. In “House to House: A Soldier’s Memoir,” he wrote, “I witnessed the best of the human condition – the loyalty, the self-sacrifice, the love that the brotherhood of arms evokes. I am complete for having experienced that.”

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Teachers are much the same way. We don’t do what we do for the money, or social respect, or even to touch the future. We teach children because we love them because we want to care for them and guide them. We are their caretakers, their trustees.

I didn’t get the superhero experience I expected. I came away with something far more valuable. I learned about ordinary people who do fantastic things. “Each and every person has the potential to do something extraordinary,” Medal of Honor recipient Paul Bacha says. That’s a message I want to take home to my students.

Westlake Legal Group mccloughan Trasa Cobern: The Medal of Honor lesson – Ordinary people can do extraordinary things Trasa Cobern fox-news/us/military fox-news/opinion fox-news/faith-values/values fox news fnc/opinion fnc d6c7b55b-6a01-5113-bd9e-434c5ba3f6aa article   Westlake Legal Group mccloughan Trasa Cobern: The Medal of Honor lesson – Ordinary people can do extraordinary things Trasa Cobern fox-news/us/military fox-news/opinion fox-news/faith-values/values fox news fnc/opinion fnc d6c7b55b-6a01-5113-bd9e-434c5ba3f6aa article

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Boy, 5, who wanted to be ‘Army Man’ dies from cancer; family asks for military members to attend funeral

Westlake Legal Group River-Nimmo-Freedom-Hard-Facebook Boy, 5, who wanted to be 'Army Man' dies from cancer; family asks for military members to attend funeral Nicole Darrah fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/arkansas fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/army fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/us fnc article 791f5ec7-474b-5891-90d8-300bf4a38fa3

A 5-year-old boy from Arkansas who dreamed of being an “Army Man” died last week after fighting cancer — and his family asked those he idolized to support him at his funeral.

River “Oakley” Nimmo passed away on Thursday after suffering from an “extensive battle” with neuroblastoma for more than three years.

SINGLE MOM WITH TERMINAL CANCER MAKES HEARTBREAKING SUMMER BUCKET LIST WITH SONS

Described in his obituary as “feisty, courageous, smart and full of life,” his family said Oakley “often talked of being an ‘Army Man,’ as he called it, when he grew up,” and often played with his Power Wheels and shot his toy guns when he had free time outside of the hospital visits.

In honor of Oakley’s big dreams, his family requested military service members or veterans to attend the 5-year-old’s funeral service — in uniform — on Tuesday, which was scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. at Cullendale First Baptist Church in Camden, Ark. A burial was to take place at Furr Cemetery in Locust Bayou after.

“We are going to give Oakley a full military service in honor of his wish to become an ‘Army Man,’ one day,” his family wrote on Facebook. “We really want to pay tribute to this soldier.”

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Social media users were quick to send their prayers to Oakley’s family from around the U.S., as many had followed his journey.

One user said that despite it all, Oakley “is all army, after all he was in combat for 3 of his 5 year enlistment,” referencing that the boy was sick for more than three years.

“He was a fine soldier, and a proud American. God bless you little dude,” one user wrote. “He was as brave as any Navy Seal. We live in Georgia or my husband would be there in dress uniform,” another person added.

Westlake Legal Group River-Nimmo-Freedom-Hard-Facebook Boy, 5, who wanted to be 'Army Man' dies from cancer; family asks for military members to attend funeral Nicole Darrah fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/arkansas fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/army fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/us fnc article 791f5ec7-474b-5891-90d8-300bf4a38fa3   Westlake Legal Group River-Nimmo-Freedom-Hard-Facebook Boy, 5, who wanted to be 'Army Man' dies from cancer; family asks for military members to attend funeral Nicole Darrah fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/arkansas fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/army fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/us fnc article 791f5ec7-474b-5891-90d8-300bf4a38fa3

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Acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper sends first memo to troops as Pentagon boss

On his first day on the job as the new acting secretary of defense, Mark Esper on Monday sent a memorandum to all Pentagon employees, laying out the Defense Department’s “path forward.”

In the memo, titled “Initial Message to the Department,” Esper wrote, “As we continue to advance the Nation’s security, let me reaffirm our path forward. The National Defense Strategy remains our guiding document and everything we do should support its stated objectives.”

Esper was named the new acting secretary of defense by President Trump last Tuesday after Patrick Shanahan withdrew his nomination.

WHO IS MARK ESPER, TRUMP’S NEW ACTING SECRETARY OF DEFENSE PICK?

Esper, 56, has served as the 23rd secretary of the United States Army since Nov. 17, 2017. His duties included the recruitment, organization, training, equipping and care of 1.4 million active duty, National Guard, Reserve Soldiers, Department of the Army Civilians and their families, according to his Pentagon biography.

Esper said Monday the department’s priorities would “remain unchanged” and everything the department did “should support its stated objectives.”

He then went on to explain “three mutually reinforcing lines of effort” used to continue to expand the competitive space. They included building “a more lethal force,” strengthening alliances and attracting new partners, as well as reforming the department “for greater performance and affordability.”

In his memo, Esper explained that building a more lethal force would be the “surest way to deter adversary aggression” and included fully preparing for war. He wrote that it’s important to “continue to build readiness to fight” while “modernizing key capabilities for future conflict.”

Esper explained that U.S. allies and partners “play an essential role in helping us deter conflict and defend freedom around the world.” He added that through continued engagement the country will “grow these relationships and deepen our interoperability.”

TRUMP PUTS ARMY SECRETARY IN CHARGE OF PENTAGON AS SHANAHAN DROPS OUT OF CONTENTION FOR SECDEF

Esper graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1986. He received his commission in the infantry and completed Ranger and Pathfinder training.

He served on active duty for over a decade. In the early ’90s, he served with the 101st Airborne Division in the Gulf War. He later commanded an airborne rifle company in Europe.

Westlake Legal Group Mark-Esper-1 Acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper sends first memo to troops as Pentagon boss Talia Kaplan fox-news/us/military fox-news/tech/topics/pentagon fox news fnc/politics fnc article 8faaf065-8edf-596b-bb43-76d53956dc00

Acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper arriving at the Pentagon on Monday. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Following his service on active duty, he served in both the Virginia and District of Columbia National Guard and Army Reserve. He retired in 2007.

“Having previously served in the Regular Army, National Guard, and Reserve, I understand well the sacrifices our Service Members, Civilians, and their Families make to protect this great country,” Esper wrote in the memo. “This is why I am committed to taking care of Families and ensuring they have the resources they need to thrive.”

He encouraged soldiers, sailors, airmen marines and civilians to stay focused on their mission and “always do the right thing.”

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“Together, we will remain the most ready and capable military force in the world, which is what our nation expects and deserves,” Esper said.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and Stephen Sorace contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Mark-Esper-1 Acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper sends first memo to troops as Pentagon boss Talia Kaplan fox-news/us/military fox-news/tech/topics/pentagon fox news fnc/politics fnc article 8faaf065-8edf-596b-bb43-76d53956dc00   Westlake Legal Group Mark-Esper-1 Acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper sends first memo to troops as Pentagon boss Talia Kaplan fox-news/us/military fox-news/tech/topics/pentagon fox news fnc/politics fnc article 8faaf065-8edf-596b-bb43-76d53956dc00

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Air National Guard member, 2 toddlers found dead in NYC home; husband in custody: reports

Westlake Legal Group c65b811b-crime-scene-iStock Air National Guard member, 2 toddlers found dead in NYC home; husband in custody: reports Nicole Darrah fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/military/air-force fox-news/us/military fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/new-york-city fox news fnc/us fnc article 42fbd97a-5563-5023-8b68-708d8247ae83

An Air National Guard member and her two young children were reportedly found murdered in their New York City home on Saturday — seven years after the mother was sworn in as a U.S. citizen, embarking on her American dream.

Alla ­Ausheva, 36, and toddlers Ivan, 2, and Elia, 3, were found dead in a home in the borough of Staten Island around 10:45 a.m., the New York Post reported, citing law enforcement sources.

Ausheva’s husband, 36-year-old Shane Walker, was arrested in connection with their deaths, although as of Saturday night no charges had been filed against him.

Investigators responded to the home Saturday morning to smoke filling the house. Sources told the news outlet that the children were found drowned in a bathtub, while Ausheva suffered from face and head trauma. She was reportedly found face-down on a bed.

MOM DRIVING SUV IN GAME OF ‘CHICKEN’ STRIKES, KILLS 3-YEAR-OLD SON, COPS SAY

Ausheva was sworn in as a U.S. citizen during a naturalization ceremony at the White House in 2012, according to a Post article published at the time.

Born in Russia, Ausheva moved to Queens with her husband — who had won a green card lottery — in 2011, and three months late signed up for the New York Army National Guard.

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“I always wanted to live here,” she said. “This is really a country where you can pursue your dream and do what you want to do.”

Ausheva’s ceremony was presided over by former President Barack Obama. She said at the time that she “still cannot believe that I saw the president, and he said he is proud of me. … It’s incredible.”

Westlake Legal Group c65b811b-crime-scene-iStock Air National Guard member, 2 toddlers found dead in NYC home; husband in custody: reports Nicole Darrah fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/military/air-force fox-news/us/military fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/new-york-city fox news fnc/us fnc article 42fbd97a-5563-5023-8b68-708d8247ae83   Westlake Legal Group c65b811b-crime-scene-iStock Air National Guard member, 2 toddlers found dead in NYC home; husband in custody: reports Nicole Darrah fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/military/air-force fox-news/us/military fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/new-york-city fox news fnc/us fnc article 42fbd97a-5563-5023-8b68-708d8247ae83

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Douglas MacKinnon: Iran decision is Trump’s most ‘presidential’ moment (so far)

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6050960188001_6050962866001-vs Douglas MacKinnon: Iran decision is Trump's most 'presidential' moment (so far) fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Douglas MacKinnon article 22a18a6d-bfdb-5fbf-a5bb-5bd6dce5a3ab

Life does often imitate art, but occasionally, real-life improves upon the art.

Such is the case with President Trump’s wise decision to call off the retaliatory strike against Iran for the downing of U.S. unmanned military drone.

In the 1995 movie titled “The American President,” the fictional president in the film, played by Michael Douglas, is faced with an eerily similar dilemma.

GEN. JACK KEANE PRAISES TRUMP’S PRESSURE CAMPAIGN ON IRAN: ‘FIRST RATE’

The screenplay was written by liberal writer Aaron Sorkin and directed by equally liberal Rob Reiner.  In an effort to make their fictional President Andrew Shepherd look more presidential, a sub-plot is created in which the Libyans bomb an unmanned surface-to-air defense system called C-STAD. It’s an election year, so President Shepherd must be decisive and strike back at Libyan intelligence headquarters with a cruise missile.

He assembles his team in the Situation Room and asks his military advisors which shift as the least amount of people in the building?   He is told the “night shift,” and orders the strike.

His chief-of-staff, played by Martin Sheen, then tells the president:  “It’s immediate, it’s decisive, it’s low risk, and it’s a proportional response.”     

Later, the fictional president is waiting in the Oval Office for confirmation of the strike.  As he waits, his political pollster says:

“What you did tonight was very presidential.”

To which the fictional president replies:

“Somewhere in Libya right now, there’s a janitor working the night shift at the Libyan Intelligence Headquarters.  He’s going about his job because he has no idea that in about an hour he’s going to die in massive explosion…because he has no idea that an hour ago, I gave an order to have him killed.  You just saw me do the least presidential thing I do.”

Cut back to real-life and after Iran shot down the U.S. unmanned military drone, President Trump asked his real-life generals how many Iranians would die in a retaliatory strike? He was told approximately “150, sir.”

President Trump then decided to call off the strike which was already well in motion.

Said the president in part: “I thought about it for a second and said: You know what?  They shot down an unmanned drone…and here we are sitting with 150 dead people…not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.  I am in no hurry…”

With that decision – and with multiple advisors pushing hard for the retaliatory strike – President Trump may have just made the most “presidential” decision of his term.

He decided that there was nothing “proportional” in taking human lives because of the loss of an unmanned drone.  He decided it was not worth the risk of provoking Iran into their own “proportional” responses which would bring us closer to war.

A war, which could very well force Russia and China to side with Iran.

More than choosing not to take the lives of Iranian military personnel – and quite possibly, civilians – President Trump did one better and purposely gave the leadership of Iran some wiggle room in order for them to save face and deescalate the growing tension.

Said the president as he diplomatically offered Iran an olive branch:  “They made a very big mistake…I find it hard to believe it was intentional, and it could have been someone who was loose and stupid.”

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President Trump is not looking for his “Wag the Dog” moment to look more presidential. In the best interest of the United States, he is trying to deescalate a highly dangerous situation which could easily spiral out of control.

There is nothing more “presidential” than that.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM DOUGLAS MACKINNON

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6050960188001_6050962866001-vs Douglas MacKinnon: Iran decision is Trump's most 'presidential' moment (so far) fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Douglas MacKinnon article 22a18a6d-bfdb-5fbf-a5bb-5bd6dce5a3ab   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6050960188001_6050962866001-vs Douglas MacKinnon: Iran decision is Trump's most 'presidential' moment (so far) fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Douglas MacKinnon article 22a18a6d-bfdb-5fbf-a5bb-5bd6dce5a3ab

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Gen. Jack Keane praises Trump’s pressure campaign on Iran: ‘First rate’

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-b8d56bccd6e6450698399f4725b144d2 Gen. Jack Keane praises Trump's pressure campaign on Iran: 'First rate' Sam Dorman fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/military fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/world fnc c66badad-72ed-55df-a89f-9ebfb0a5fdb5 article

Despite provocations in the Middle East, President Trump was implementing an effective, “first rate” pressure campaign on the Iranian regime.

That was how Fox News senior strategic analyst Gen. Jack Keane described the situation on Saturday. Amid attacks on oil tankers and a U.S. military drone, some questioned whether Trump made the right decision in pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal.

Former Obama adviser Ben Rhodes, who helped spearhead the deal, argued that the current tensions were “eminently predictable” given Trump’s decision. But Keane, while appearing on “America’s News Headquarters,” praised the administration as the first to be on a “strategic offensive against Iran in 39 years.”

Keane described the administration’s maximum pressure campaign was “first rate.” He warned that Iran was trying to distract the U.S. from that campaign and that the administration should persevere if it wanted to change the nation’s behavior. “That has got to be our strategic focus,” he told Fox News host Leland Vittert.

KINZINGER: TRUMP’S IRAN CALL WILL ‘PALE IN COMPARISON’ TO NEXT RESPONSE

His comments came just a day after the president announced that he ordered a military strike on Iran, only to renege at the last minute due to concerns over the number of casualties. Trump argued that the attack — potentially killing 150 people — wouldn’t have been a “proportionate” response to Iran’s decision to strike down an unmanned drone.

It’s unclear whether Iran’s national leadership approved of the strike, a fact that Trump apparently knew as well. But Keane said that he took Trump’s explanation at “face value,” suggesting that his decision was mostly based on the casualty estimate his advisers gave him.

Trump’s decision prompted Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to demand he seek approval from Congress before approving more strikes. While it’s unclear how Trump will react, his administration has maintained that it would use force if necessary.

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“The Iranians know it — if they kill Americans, the response is going to be pretty significant,” Keane said on Saturday.

“What we have here is a huge opportunity … The president now, because he’s exercised restraint, has leverage. He can go to the Europeans, to the Asians,” he said, noting that Trump could push other nations to join his pressure campaign.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-b8d56bccd6e6450698399f4725b144d2 Gen. Jack Keane praises Trump's pressure campaign on Iran: 'First rate' Sam Dorman fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/military fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/world fnc c66badad-72ed-55df-a89f-9ebfb0a5fdb5 article   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-b8d56bccd6e6450698399f4725b144d2 Gen. Jack Keane praises Trump's pressure campaign on Iran: 'First rate' Sam Dorman fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/military fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/world fnc c66badad-72ed-55df-a89f-9ebfb0a5fdb5 article

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Iran says it will respond ‘firmly’ to US aggression amid retaliatory cyberattack, aborted military strike

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Iran cautioned Saturday that it will “firmly” respond to any aggression or threat by the U.S., a warning that comes after President Trump aborted a military attack while a U.S. cyber team carried out a retaliatory digital strike against the regime.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi reiterated the regime’s position that it will confront any threats by the U.S. over the shooting down of an unmanned U.S. Navy drone by the Islamic Republic.

US NAVY DRONE SHOT DOWN BY IRANIAN MISSILE OVER STRAIT OF HORMUZ IN ‘UNPROVOKED ATTACK,’ CENTRAL COMMAND SAYS

“Regardless of any decision they (U.S. officials) make… we will not allow any of Iran’s borders to be violated. Iran will firmly confront any aggression or threat by America,” he said, according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

The comment comes in the wake of heightened tensions in the region that put Washington and Tehran on the brink of a war.

Trump said Friday that he halted the strike just 10 minutes prior because of the projected casualty loss, saying that it wasn’t a “proportionate” response to Iran previously shooting down an American military drone.

“10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not … proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone. I am in no hurry, our Military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world,” he wrote in a tweet, but added that the U.S. was “cocked & loaded to retaliate.”

Iran claimed the U.S. drone on Thursday was over Iranian airspace when it was shot down – but American officials stated unequivocally the incident occurred in international airspace.

State Department officials also decried “pure Iranian propaganda” reports – based solely on the Iranians’ comments – that claim Trump warned Tehran in a message through Oman that a U.S. attack on Iran was imminent,

“Reports that a message was passed last night to the Iranians via an Omani back channel are completely false. These reports are pure Iranian propaganda. #Iran needs to meet our diplomacy with diplomacy,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus wrote in a tweet.

TRUMP CONFIRMS HE CALLED OFF RETALIATORY IRAN ATTACK ‘10 MINUTES BEFORE THE STRIKE’

But while the military air strike was called off, U.S. Cyber Command launched a digital strike against an Iranian spy group on Thursday, Yahoo News reported.

The spy group is close to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, a terrorist-designated entity, and reportedly supported the limpet mine attacks on two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz.

Additional details about the digital response weren’t available, though private American cyber groups have said that Iranian state-sponsored hackers are targeting U.S. organizations, adding Iran’s response against the U.S. will likely be executed in cyberspace.

“The question is whether or not this is intelligence collection associated with the conflict, or if it is something more aggressive, like laying the groundwork for a destructive or disruptive attack,” John Hultquist, director of intelligence analysis at cybersecurity company FireEye Inc., told the Wall Street Journal.

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The U.S.-Iran confrontation has been boiling since Trump backed out of the Obama-era nuclear deal in May 2018.

But the tensions reached a fever pitch in recent weeks after two oil tankers were attacked, supposedly by the Iranian forces as the regime flexes its muscles over tough sanctions that caused its currency to drop by about 60 percent in 12 months while food and drug prices are up 40 and 60 percent, respectively.

Iran is currently also seeking to renegotiate the nuclear deal with European countries, arguing that the deal must be improved amid U.S. sanctions or the regime will begin enriching uranium up to 20 percent – just a step below weapons-grade level.

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President Trump to nominate Army’s Mark Esper as permanent defense secretary

President Trump plans to nominate Army Secretary Mark Esper as the nation’s next defense secretary, the White House announced Friday evening.

Esper is set to start as acting defense secretary Monday following the departure Friday of current acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, the Washington Post reported.

The transition at the Pentagon comes amid escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran, following Iran’s downing of a U.S. drone over international waters and the country’s suspected involvement on attacks against oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman earlier this month.

WHO IS MARK ESPER, TRUMP’S NEW ACTING SECRETARY OF DEFENSE PICK?

Westlake Legal Group esper President Trump to nominate Army's Mark Esper as permanent defense secretary fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/military/army fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/defense/pentagon fox news fnc/politics fnc e344648a-f265-527c-8734-651bf8d8f732 Brie Stimson article

Secretary of the Army Mark Esper speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 2, 2019. (Associated Press)

President Trump had announced Tuesday that Shanahan was withdrawing from consideration for a permanent appointment to lead the Pentagon because of family matters. In that same message, the president revealed that Esper was his choice to succeed Shanahan.

“I know Mark, and have no doubt he will do a fantastic job!,” the president wrote.

Esper has been secretary of the Army since November 2017. He served in the Gulf War, worked on Capitol Hill and has been a lobbyist for Raytheon, a defense contractor. His Washington experience far outweighs that of Shanahan, who was a Boeing executive.

After Esper was nominated to lead the Army in 2017, the former infantry officer was confirmed by the Senate in an 89-6 vote, the Hill reported.

There has been no permanent secretary of defense since James Mattis resigned last December. Under the Vacancies Reform Act, which says department secretary positions can have an acting head for only 210 days, Trump must nominate a defense secretary by July 30, the Washington Post reported.

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If nominated, Esper will have to step down from his acting secretary role while the Senate considers his nomination.

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