CORRECTION; The Lt. Col.’s name is Osterholzer not Ostermeyer as I originally wrote. Also, this is the second time that an exercise like this has taken place. The first was in 1995 at Fort Riley Kansas.
I have so many changes to this story after I checked with different sources that I had to rewrite it – check here. In the end, it is good these stories are posted just in case.
Update: 4/27: 17:15: I just spoke with Lt. Col. Ostermeyer, the Ft. Carson squadron commander who is responsible for training the 20 Russian soldiers who will be in the United States for two weeks the end of May. He said the story (explained below) started with the EUTimes and there is nothing accurate in the story. He said it is one of the most inaccurate stories out there.
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 Lt. Col. Ostermeyer, 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.
Lt. Col. Ostermeyer said that the Russians will be escorted 24/7 and will not be running loose.
I completely believe Lt. Col. Ostermeyer but we’ll find out in May.
Update: 4/27: Before I posted the story below, I called two Congressmen’s offices and spoke with their people in charge of homeland security. I also called Homeland Security.
They did not know of any such exercise but did tell me the following –
They said that the University of Colorado has frequent conferences regarding IT military and civilian security. Foreign nationals, including Russians, attend.
The Department of Defense has information about numerous joint coordination exercises that are performed with other countries including Russia that take place throughout the world. Canada and the United States (NORAD) coordinate mock terrorist exercises regularly. There was one such air exercise with Russia in 2010 that originated in Alaska and the Far East.
The purpose of such drills is to prepare for terrorist attacks. Russia is an ally and many of the exercises are meant to strengthen diplomatic relations.
The United States has held mock exercises with allies for over 30 years and they have been stepped up since 9/11.
I was told that this is nothing unusual for Colorado.
Delving deeper because people told me I was wrong and it is happening, I spoke with the Public Affairs Office at Fort Carson today and was told that 20 Russian special service officers and 10 U.S. special service officers will engage in training for a week, training which simulates terrorist attacks. It is the first time such an exercise has been conducted on U.S. soil but it is being done because of the location.
Let me explain. Russia is planning to join us in the Afghanistan mission, Enduring Freedom, and these special forces soldiers are being trained mostly at Fort Carson because the mountains around Fort Carson are similar to those found in Afghanistan.
The Lt. Col. in charge of the unit will call me today and I will question him about the mock exercise around the CIA facility. I’m just not getting any bad vibes here.
These stories have truth to them but if they come from RT or EuTimes, they will often be exaggerated or complete fabrications, and what they say is usually propaganda. RT has no interest in our shoring up diplomatic relations and neither does EuTimes. If it turns out that they are accurate then I will post a correction but I believe I am correct that this particular event is not a big deal.
The problem of course is our President and his willingness to share too much with our more untrustworthy “allies.” Obama appears naive in foreign policy so when something like this comes up, it’s believable.
Original Story: 4/26: Another incredible story, “incredible” as in “faux,” is circulating through the blogosphere. The story was reported yesterday by Russia Today (RT News) and the EUTimes. They are claiming that Russian and American airborne forces will hold joint drills in the United States.
The drills are scheduled for May of this year and include a simulation of a raid on a terrorist camp and the EUTimes claims “they will 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.”
According to Wiki, Russia Today’s self-described objective is to “show you how any story can be another story altogether.” Margarita Simonyan, RT’s editor-in-chief, has specified that the station was born out of the desire to present an “unbiased portrait of Russia”. Ironically (though not unsurprisingly for anyone who knows about what “unbiased” usually means), most critics share the opinion that the channel’s main objective is to present a very biased portrait of other countries.
Basically, don’t believe RT unless you have checked numerous sources. In fact, don’t bother with them at all.
The EUTimes went further than RT and said the Russians were told to ‘seize the Denver CIA facility’ as part of the mock training exercise.
The Eu Times is, at best, an exaggeration of all news. At worst, it’s a looney paper meant to be a sounding board for conspiracy theorists. Don’t bother with them either.
This is a hoax [correction: the EU Times story, not the RT story, is the hoax as I discovered on 4/27]–
- Does anyone really believe President Obama would set up such an outlandish and unwelcome exercise before his election? Seriously, he’s not that flexible yet.
- I checked websites for the University of Colorado, DHS, and various legitimate news outlets and I can find no basis for this story or anything even close to it.
- Right now, Russia is doing everything they can to shore up Assad in Syria while demonizing the U.S. throughout the Middle East. It is highly unlikely that we would invite Russia to the U.S. for something that would potentially harm us.
- The Pentagon would be opposed and the Republicans would go nuts if this were anything serious.
- I think the parents of students at the University of Colorado, where this is allegedly to be held, might also be a little more than upset and might know and say something.
I could give you another 100 reasons why this won’t happen, but I’m too busy. If you haven’t heard it from Meghan Kelly, Bret Baier, or Bill O’Reilly, don’t believe it. In fact, MSNBC would be thrilled and would be blasting the news and they have not.