A routine Russian flight to Hawaii under the Open Skies treaty has been invoked by a former senior Obama administration official to stir up panic among the ‘Russiagate’ holdovers, proving some conspiracies just refuse to go away.
“I’ll tell you why a Russian spy plane flew over downtown Chicago, and it has nothing to do with military transparency. In all likelihood it was surveilling critical infrastructure,” declared Michael Carpenter, currently a senior director at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy.
The WGN Chicago news story that Carpenter shared under his ominous tweet even spelled out that the flight was allowed under the 1992 Treaty on Open Skies. The 34 signatory countries fly regular, scheduled flights over the others’ territory, and there were US military observers on board. None of that fazed the former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Balkans and Eurasia, foreign policy adviser to Joe Biden, and director for Russia at President Barack Obama’s national security council.
“I managed the Open Skies program at the Pentagon. I actually get it far better than you do,” Carpenter snapped at journalist Bryan MacDonald when he tried to correct him.
Does he, however? Not according to open source intelligence analyst Steffan Watkins, who called Carpenter’s tweets “fear, uncertainty and doubt from 2016 that’s already been debunked.”
Watkins actually posted a lengthy thread on why exactly Carpenter was “blatantly wrong,” pointing to everything from US military slides to flight radar maps, and explaining how the plane was not taking any photos over Chicago, because it was flying too high, too fast, and too early in the week.
“This is shocking from a former DASD. They appear to have been in transit. We have issues with Russia and the Open Skies Treaty, but this isn’t one of them,” said Ankit Panda from the Federation of American Scientists.
As Watkins and Panda were both aware, based on publicly available information, that the Tu-154M LK-1 was bound for Hawaii, where it conducted a scheduled surveillance flight on Wednesday. It was even photographed at the Daniel K. Inouye airport in Honolulu, as it was refueling.
What’s most troubling about this fear-mongering is that Carpenter really was a senior adviser on all matters Russia during the Obama-Biden administration, which launched the current Cold War 2.0 with Moscow. Even though the “Trump-Russia” conspiracy horse is truly dead after the Mueller report and testimony earlier this year, the plane scare shows that Carpenter and his fans in the ‘Resistance’ keep bitterly clinging to it.
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