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U.S. Embassy in Ankara alerted to potential threats of terrorism and kidnappings

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The U.S. Embassy in Turkey on Friday issued a warning that there could be potential terrorist attacks against American citizens and other foreign nationals in the capital city of Ankara, telling them to take precautionary measures.

“The U.S. Mission in Turkey has received credible reports of potential terrorist attacks and kidnappings against U.S. citizens and foreign nationals in Istanbul, including against the U.S. Consulate General, as well as potentially other locations in Turkey,” the security alert read.

The security alert told American citizens currently in Turkey to exercise caution by avoiding crowds, monitoring local media for news updates, and staying alert in areas “where Americans or foreigners may gather, including large office buildings or shopping malls.”

A State Department spokesperson told this reporter that the U.S. Mission to Turkey issued this security alert “as a result of our ongoing assessment of security conditions” and that the “statement speaks for itself” when asked about the validity of these reported threats.

U.S. embassies and consulates in foreign nations publish security alerts whenever there is a need to inform U.S. citizens who are abroad of “specific events and changes happening locally, in real time,” the spokesperson emphasized.

Moreover, they said that the information used to devise alerts is assembled from a vast swath of sources. These sources include “crime statistics and other publicly-available information, information gathered from U.S. government sources, as well as assessments by our embassies and consulates.”

As for the Turkish government and how they fit into this situation, the spokesperson expressed gratitude for its assistance with this security matter.

“We are grateful for the support of the Turkish government in ensuring the safety of U.S. citizens living in Turkey,” they said, “as well as Turkish citizens who visit our Embassy and Consulates.”

The security and safety of State Department personnel in foreign countries has been a high priority since the mishandling of the 2012 attacks on U.S. facilities and personnel in Benghazi, Libya that resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. The State Department and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were eviscerated for not taking the necessary security precautions when there had been reports of potential threats to the U.S. Mission in Libya prior to the attacks. 10 investigations were conducted into this infamous episode in U.S. foreign policy.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Chinese Spy Balloon: Tensions rise between the U.S. and China

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A strange object was spotted Wednesday over Billings Montana. The Pentagon confirmed Thursday that the strange object was, in fact, a Chinese spy balloon. According to a report from KPAX, a western Montana news outlet, the balloon had been on the governments radar for days.

On Friday, the Chinese government released a statement saying that the balloon spotted in Billings is a “civilian airship” that’s sole purpose is used to collect research on weather and that it had just blown off course. The balloon was not shot down by orders of the Pentagon due to the risk of falling debris injuring people on the ground.

Sara Carter, who has spoken frequently on the Chinese government’s threat and expansion to the West, stated on Twitter that the United States has failed to stop China from purchasing land near military installations, vital agricultural land, as well as, allowing Chinese linked companies, such as Huawei, to install technology in cellular towers. Those cellular towers are located in Montana, along side more than 150 ICBM nuclear silos.

China said, “The Chinese side regrets the unintended entry of the airship into U.S. airspace due to force majeure.” Majeure meaning that it was out of there control. It blew off course due to limited “self-steering” capabilities according the Ministry. The ministry also stated that the balloon, “deviated far from its planned course.”

This incident is adding fuel to the fire of what is already a tense relationship between the worlds two largest economies. China already lays claim to approximately 80% of the South China Sea, and is seeking full control over Taiwan after assuming full control of Hong Kong. China’s belt and road initiative has invested copious amounts of money into building infrastructure in other countries and uses it as economic blackmail. China’s transportation of fentanyl into Mexico is yet again another example of how they are seeking to damage the US.

Is this just a weather ballon that blew off course? US officials at the White House seem to be unconvinced and will continue to monitor the balloon, as reported.

UPDATED: Statement from the Pentagon was jaw dropping when a reporter asked if the public has a right to know about Beijing’s balloon.

“The public certainly has the ability to look up in the sky and see where the balloon is,” a DOD official responded.

 

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