Tag Archives: Ash Carter

Ash Carter Used Private Email for Months After Clinton’s Email Scandal Was Revealed

Defense Secretary Ash Carter reportedly used his own personal email to conduct government business, even after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of private email was revealed.

Clinton’s email use was revealed in March 2015, and it eventually resulted in an FBI investigation into whether Clinton compromised national security by sending and receiving classified information on an unsecured network.

After filing a Freedom of Information Act request, CNN reported that it received 1,336 pages of emails sent and received from Carter’s personal address through Sept. 2015, and that “many of the emails had redacted information.”

The New York Times first revealed Carter’s use of private email for government business in December, noting that the extent of his use was not known, and that at the time it was believed that he continued it only two months after Clinton’s email use was revealed.

[SCANDAL: Hillary Clinton’s Chief of Staff Fired Ambassador for Using Private Email]

While the reality was that Carter continued to use his personal email account for at least six months after the revelations regarding Clinton’s email were publicly scrutinized, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook insisted that Carter’s emails “show that he did not email anything classified and all of his work-related emails are preserved within the federal records system.”

“In December, when this issue first came up, the secretary took responsibility for his actions and publicly acknowledged that his previous use of personal email for work-related business was a mistake,” Cook said in a statement. “As a result, he stopped such use of his personal email and further limited his use of email altogether.”

House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) sent a letter to the Department of Defense on Friday questioning why the DoD has yet to respond to his committee’s inquiries, and threatening to subpoena Carter for answers.

[pull_quote_center]Now, three months after my initial request, it is difficult to understand why the department has not been willing to provide detailed answers, and the department has not asserted a valid reason to withhold that information from the committee. Please provide the information I requested as soon as possible, but no later than March 25, 2016 Otherwise, the committee may use compulsory process to obtain documents and communications that will answer the questions that were initially raised on December 18, 2015.[/pull_quote_center]

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US: NATO Exploring Possibility of Joining ISIS War

by Jason Ditz

According to US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, the NATO alliance is giving serious consideration to formally joining the war against ISIS. Carter praised NATO head Jens Stoltenberg for getting behind the effort.

The move would in many ways be symbolic, as all 28 NATO member nations have already joined the ISIS war individually as part of the US coalition, meaning this would just be the alliance as such formalizing its own involvement.

Making the war a ‘NATO thing’ might go a long way toward bolstering US efforts to get the rest of its coalition to commit growing numbers of ground troops into Iraq and Syria for the conflict. The US has so far faced considerable resistance on this call.

Carter confirmed speaking to dozens of coalition members during the Brussels meeting about trying to get them to commit more troops to the war, but other than Saudi Arabia’s offer to invade Syria, it’s unclear if they got anyone to bite.

Months After Syrian Rebel Training Program Ends, Pentagon Suggests Sending More Trainers to Iraq

Months after ending its rebel training program in Syria, the Pentagon indicated this week that it is considering sending hundreds of additional troops to Iraq to work as “trainers and supporters” in order to take back the city of Mosul.

Army Col. Steve Warren, a spokesman for the Defense Department, said he sees sending trainers to Iraq as the next step in the fight against ISIS, and that he believes the Iraqis will need at least eight combat brigades for the invasion of Mosul.

“The reason we need new trainers or additional trainers is because that’s really the next step in generating the amount of combat power needed to liberate Mosul,” Warren said Wednesday.

[RELATED: Truth In Media: The Origin of ISIS]

Traveling to Paris to meet with defense ministers from 26 nations to discuss fighting ISIS, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said he expects the number of U.S. troops in Iraq to increase from its current number of about 3,600.

“I think we’re certainly open to that,” Carter said. “I mean, I think that’s in the category that the president has indicated wherever there’s additional opportunity to make a difference, according to the strategy, we’d be willing to do that.”

Carter said that although the U.S. is “making a big contribution already,” it expects its allies to “get in the game” against the Islamic State.

I expect the number of trainers to increase, and also the variety of the training they’re giving,” Carter said. “For example, as territory is retaken from ISIL, as moving up and ultimately including Mosul, there are going to need to be not just ground forces that can seize territory, but police forces that can keep security.”

[RELATED: Obama Administration Ends $500 Million Syrian Rebel Training Program]

The Obama administration ended its $500 million program training and equipping moderate Syrian rebels in October, recognizing that the program failed to produce successful ground forces to combat Islamic State militants.

At the time, Carter said that instead of continuing the current “Syria Train and Equip” program, the U.S. will seek to work more closely with capable Kurdish groups, which he called a “more strategic approach.”

Iraq PM: Foreign Troop Deployments Would Be ‘Act of Aggression’

by Jason Ditz

Despite the Pentagon announcing their latest deployment of combat troops into Iraq in the context of an “invitation” by the Iraqi government, and insisting they had consultations, Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi continues to insist the US deployment was neither discussed with the government nor welcome.

In his latest statement, made through his official Facebook page, Abadi reiterated that no foreign ground troops from any country had been requested by Iraq, and that any new deployment would be viewed as an “act of aggression.”

The US has been steadily increasing troop levels in Iraq and Syria, with Defense Secretary Ash Carter bragging the US now has “tens of thousands of personnel” in the region. The deployments have fueled growing objections from Shi’ite militias the government is depending on in the war.

The most recent announcement had several major militias threatening to shift their focus from fighting ISIS to fighting the growing US presence in Iraq, and this likely obliged Abadi to change his own talking points to keep on their good side.

Russia Seeks New, Broader Military Talks With US on Syria Strikes

by Jason Ditz

Russia has formally offered a new round of “deconfliction” talks with the US on their respective wars against ISIS in Syria, aimed at preventing the risk of conflicts between the two nations’ warplanes as they both operate in the same area against the same forces.

Russia suggested the new talks should be broader than previous discussions, and that they were open to making deals to ensure that the two nations don’t have any “midair mishaps” or serious risk of confrontation.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter responded by condemning Russia, saying that their recent violation of Turkish airspace during an anti-ISIS sortie justified the US to “further strengthen our posture” against Russia, though he did suggest that the talks may well happen.

At the same time, US officials suggested they were only interest in very limited talks, and only with specific conditions, wanting more details from Russia before they really commit to the matter. They also say that Russia’s offer to coordinate against ISIS, an offer they’ve repeatedly made to the US for weeks, is “not genuine.”

War Crimes Probe Urged After US Airstrikes Kill 22 Civilians in Kunduz Hospital

by Jason Ditz

Doctors Without Borders are demanding a full, independent inquiry into Saturday’s incident on the outskirts of the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, in which a US warplane repeatedly attacked a Doctors Without Borders hospital, killing 22 people within, including 12 members of staff and 10 civilian patients.

Though Doctors Without Borders informed the US and Afghan governments immediately upon the first strike near the hospital, they reported being repeatedly and precisely targeted by the warplane for over 30 minutes after that, and are saying that the presumption of any investigation should be that a war crime was committed.

The Pentagon insists they are conducting a full investigation themselves. Defense Secretary Ash Carter says the situation is “confused,” but that they would hold anyone responsible if the bombing is “something they shouldn’t have done.” He refused to rule out further strikes, saying it was up to Gen. Campbell to do whatever he thinks is appropriate. The hospital has been closed and the workers evacuated.

The Afghan government is claiming attacks on the hospital were “retaliation” and that the site was actually a “Taliban base.” Doctors Without Borders has rejected this claim as absurd, noting they’ve been at that site for some time, and it was well known it was a hospital.

The UN Human Rights Chief also declared the attack “inexcusable,” saying that if it is confirmed that the attack was deliberate it would amount to a war crime. The US has ruled out ever allowing any of their soldiers to be charged with war crimes under any circumstances, and has a law on the books dating back to 2002 allowing a military invasion of the Netherlands to stop the International Criminal Court from carrying out such charges.

Pentagon investigations are rarely particularly credible, and usually end with some sort of blanket excuse and statement of “regret,” and any punitive action tends to be taken against only the lowest ranked personnel possible.

Defense Secretary: Deal Imposes No Limits on US Attacking Iran

Joint Chiefs Chairman: Attacking Iran Still a Act of War

by Jason Ditz, July 29, 2015

Once again seeking to reassure the Senate Armed Services Committee that the Iran deal won’t get in the way of a potential US attack on Iran, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter today insisted the deal provides “no limits” to US attacks, and that the US has such a “robust” amount of military force in the area they can hit anywhere in Iran at any time.

Carter has repeatedly talked up the idea of the US following on to the nuclear deal with a unilateral military strike on Iran for some unspecified reason, and presented the notion multiple times in the week after the deal’s announcement, during which he visited Israel and sought to assure them that war as still in the works.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey appeared to talk back the notion of a sudden attack, however, declaring in his own testimony that a US attack on Iran would be “an act of war,” while going to great lengths to avoid taking a position on the wisdom of launching such a war.

Dempsey and other officials also presented as part of the narrative on the deal that it makes war less likely, a talking point for the administration which doesn’t seem to be sitting well with many in Congress, for whom a massive new war is an end unto itself.

US Preparing ‘Unprecedented’ New Arms Package to Israel for Iran Deal

Netanyahu Complains About Plan, Pentagon Downplays It

by Jason Ditz, July 19, 2015

On Friday, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon confirmed the nation expects significant “compensation” from the US in the form of a major new arms package after the Iran nuclear deal. Today, officials confirmed that they are mulling an “unprecedented” package for Israel.

Last week’s indications were that the figure was formerly in the $3.7 billion range, but that Israel expected this figure to grow significantly in return for their acquiescence on the pact. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was complaining about the package at any rate, saying the fact that the US is willing to pay him off proves the Iran deal is “bad” for Israel.

In reality, of course, the US is trying to buy off Netanyahu on Iran because they see him as being for sale on the issue. Though officials are downplaying the chances of sending “swag bags” of arms across the region after the Iran pact, it does seem that Israel will be getting one.

The Israeli expectation is that they will get more the longer they hold out, however, and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter is not expected to make an offer during this week’s visit, after Netanyahu refused to even address the subject in talks with Obama last week.

Holding off on the deal is a gamble for the Israeli leadership, however, particularly with Netanyahu publicly spurning the idea. If it becomes increasingly clear that the Israel Lobby’s efforts will not secure a veto-proof majority in Congress to kill the deal, the administration may decide Israel doesn’t need buying off, or at least not at such a gaudy price.