Correction: This is the second type exercise with Russians on U.S. soil. The first was in 1995 at Fort Riley Kansas.
I have so many updates and corrections to my last story on this issue that it is becoming difficult to read so I am rewriting it to point out what is true and not true according to the people I spoke with.
The story is, that for the first time, Russian soldiers will come to the U.S. to engage in war games and that “they will fly to and than parachute from their planes having the objectives of seizing the CIA’s main computer facility in Denver, the NSA’s main computer facility in Bluffdale, Utah, and taking control of main runways and terminals of the Denver International Airport.”
At issue are two articles, one which appeared in Russia Today and the other in EUTimes. Russia Today (RT) and the EU Times are propaganda outlets much like Motor Trend is for cars (they had the Chevy Volt as car of the year before the Volt started lighting up the car world). I have been burned by information from those sites and anything that comes from them has to be verified by a reliable source.
The story in Russia Today is accurate as it turns out though they could have added that there were only 20 Russian soldiers coming and that this is part of a program that has been going on for many years. The EU Times story appears to be inaccurate. I said the story was a hoax. That was the wrong word. I apologize for that. Misinterpreted might prove to be a better word.
Before I wrote the story, I called two congressmen, both of whom are involved with homeland security and foreign relations, one is a Democrat and the other is a Republican. I spoke with their top aides. They didn’t know anything about the story but said they would inform the congressmen. They both said a lot of these stories have a grain of truth to them.
Both said that war games with all our allies, including Russia, take place throughout the world and have been for years, decades in fact. They both said Colorado is a place where these often take place because of the University of Colorado (which has conferences on civilian and military security) and because of Fort Carson.
Both aides said something interesting. They said Russia is an ally [I find it hard to remember that]. I talked about Putin and what he was doing in the Middle East and Syria. They agreed that was concerning but they added that they have had a good relationship with Medvedev who is a very different person.
Both said that NORAD often engages in war games with all our allies, and Russia, being an ally, is one they engage with.
Both aides said that most of these joint coordination missions are more about diplomacy than anything and that if an exercise was planned it would be controlled and no secrets would be given to the Russians.
The DOD said that the last one they had was in 2010 and it involved flying over Alaska, but the person I spoke with didn’t know of one being scheduled for May.
I called Homeland Security and they said they didn’t think it was accurate but I only spoke with a clerk.
Everyone told me I was wrong calling this story a hoax so the next day I called the DOD and Fort Carson. The DOD confirmed there was a small contingent of soldiers who were going to engage in basic training and mock simulations but no secrets would be revealed. It was a simple training mission.
I spoke with the officer who answers the phones at Fort Carson Public Affairs next. She said that 20 Russian special forces soldiers were coming the end of May to be trained because her understanding was that they were going to take part in operation Enduring Freedom to help the Afghanis and us [that’s a good thing.]
She said that it was the first time Russians were being trained on U.S. soil but it was being done partly to improve diplomatic relations and partly because the terrain outside Fort Carson is similar to the terrain of Afghanistan and she went into some detail explaining how. That is something I have heard before.
She told me she would have the Lt. Col. who will be in charge of the training call me and call me he did.
He said he was concerned about the EU Times and everything in it was inaccurate. He said that he wanted the truth to get out and he was very open with me.
The Lt. Col. said there are 20 soldiers, which is a handful, and did people actually think they would let them run loose? They would never allow 20 soldiers (nor would they be able to) take over the Denver airport via the CIA.
He said that the Russian soldiers will be escorted and watched 24/7 and they will not be running loose.
The Lt. Col. said that for years and years, the military has had a bilateral training program with the Russians. The program runs joint training missions.
One of the concerns the military has is that they work with armies from all over the world and sometimes the first time they see them is on the battlefield. This program is one that is aimed at changing that situation.
The purpose of the bilateral program, to paraphrase the Lt. Col., is familiarization and building relationships because the military doesn’t want their first exposure to be on the battlefield.
He said that the 20 Russian soldiers (which is obviously a very small number) will be nowhere near the Denver airport or the CIA headquarters. Most of the two-week training will take place on the Fort Carson base. The training involves “basics” – very basic basics – to include a day each of parachuting, weapons, communications, evacuations, and so on, with one day off the base to do mountaineering.
This Lt. Col. is the one who will be responsible for the 20 soldiers the entire two weeks and I believe him. I forgot to ask him if they were going to a baseball game.
The only thing I can think of that would account for the EU Times version is from something my husband Jedidiah said.
Jedidiah worked as a nuclear engineer and said that they did simulations at the power plant regularly and that the people who write them are very creative. Some of them seem absurd, but one never knows, so he never questioned their validity.
Jedidiah said it is possible that one of the simulations is of the CIA headquarters being taken over to control the airport and that word of it leaked out. However, from what the Lt. Col. said, they will be nowhere near the actual facilities and the training takes place on the base and in the mountains.
I believe the story was misinterpreted, but we will know the complete truth on May 31st. The exaggerations could be the result of the story being repeated by too many people who are very concerned about this President and his naivety.