San Marco Properties
Underwoods
Wealth Planners
Geer Services, Inc.
Geer Services, Inc.
Charles Parish

ABC Radio News – National News

ABC Radio News – National News

Sep 232014
 
After Years of Trouble, F-22 Raptor's First Combat Mission a 'Success'

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The F-22 Raptor, one of the most expensive fighters in the world, undertook and successfully completed a combat mission for the first time ever Monday in Syria.

The next-generation Raptor, which has a total program price tag north of $79 billion, had sat out two wars and at least one previous smaller conflict since going operational in late 2005 before being called on to hit a single target in Syria Monday: an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) “command and control building.”

“The flight of the F-22s delivered GPS-guided munitions, precision munitions targeting only the right side of the building,” Lt. Gen. William Mayville told reporters, referring to presentation slides of the operation. “And you can see that the control — the command and control center where it was located in the building was destroyed.”

The stealth F-22 has had chances to fight before – during Air Force operations in Iraq and in Afghanistan as well as its role in the no-fly zone over Libya in 2011 – but in each case the Air Force said the high-tech jet was not an “operational requirement.”

The Pentagon apparently decided the U.S.-led strikes against ISIS in Syria, for which the Syrian government says it was given warning, were different.

“Basically, we look at the aircraft and the crews that we have and we make a determination on how to portion those things, based on a lot of factors: location, nature of the target, weapons that may need to be used,” Air Force Central Command Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis told ABC News. “In this case, the F-22 was the weapon that got assigned to that particular target.”

“The mission was a success,” he added.

Previously, F-22 Raptors have been reportedly stationed at Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates, one of the Arab nations that the military said participated in the strikes against ISIS in Syria. Sholtis declined to comment on where the fighters were forward deployed for this mission, except that they were in the Gulf region.

While the Air Force had said the F-22’s advanced capabilities simply weren’t necessary for the previous conflicts, the plane also suffered from troubling issues of its own.

Most disturbing were instances in which pilots reported feeling the symptoms of oxygen deprivation while flying the high-performance machines. From 2008 to 2012 pilots reported experiencing confusion, sluggishness or disorientation – sometimes even blackouts – at the controls of the plane more than two dozen times. In one instance, a pilot because so disoriented that his plane skimmed treetops before he was able to pull up and save himself. In May 2012, two Raptor pilots told CBS News’ 60 Minutes they were too afraid to fly the plane.

In another, more drastic case, Air Force pilot Capt. Jeff Haney died in a crash in 2010 after the oxygen system in his plane malfunctioned. After an investigation, the Air Force faulted Haney for failing to fly the plane properly while suffering a “sense similar to suffocation.” The plane’s manufacturers eventually settled a wrongful-death lawsuit with the Haney family.

The F-22 fleet was grounded multiple times while the Air Force investigated the oxygen issue and by late 2012 the service believed it had a handle on the problems – several small ones, rather than one big one. Eventually the planes were allowed back in the air.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Sep 232014
 
Khorasan Terror Group Linked to Summer Airline Plot

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The “imminent” threat against the West that pushed the United States to strike the Khorasan Group in Syria Monday is linked to the same terrorist efforts that ABC News first disclosed this summer, just before the U.S. government announced heightened security measures for air travelers overseas, sources said Tuesday.

The little-known Khorasan Group was “nearing the execution phase for an attack in Europe or the homeland,” and airstrikes overnight “removed their capability to act,” senior law enforcement and intelligence officials told ABC News Tuesday.

But prior to the strikes, ABC News reported earlier this year that U.S. officials learned that a particularly extreme “subset” of terrorist groups in Syria was working alongside operatives from al Qaeda’s prolific offshoot in Yemen to produce “creative” new designs for bombs packed into electronic devices like cellphones or laptops, sources said. The officials did not identify the group at the time.

Specifically, associates of the al Qaeda affiliate in Syria — the al Nusrah Front — and radicals from other groups were teaming up with elements of the Yemen-based group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to potentially down a U.S.- or Europe-bound plane, with help from one of the thousands of Americans and other foreign fighters carrying U.S. and European passports who have joined extremist groups in the region.

The group was made up of “seasoned Al Qaeda veterans” who had found a “safe haven” in Syria where they were able to “construct and test improvised explosive devices,” one senior intelligence official said Tuesday. The joint effort with AQAP, which built such innovative devices as the “underwear bomb” that ultimately failed to detonate in a plane over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009, made the threat out of Syria “more frightening than anything” else the Obama administration had seen, Attorney General Eric Holder told ABC News in July.

The threat prompted airports overseas to increase security measures that month. At the time, the Department of Homeland Security announced that if some overseas passengers flying to the United States want to bring cellphones and other electronic devices onboard with them, they would have to show that the devices can turn on.

On ABC News’ Good Morning America Tuesday Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the Khorasan Group was “very dangerous” and there was “active plotting going on for an attack on the U.S. homeland.”

As part of the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al Qaeda-affiliated groups in Syria, FBI Director James Comey has said the government is spending “a tremendous amount of time and effort trying to identify” anyone who’s gone to Syria, but “the challenge” is not missing anyone.

More than 12,000 foreign fighters, including more than 100 Americans, have now joined tens of thousands of other fighters operating in Syria and neighboring Iraq, where ISIS is now wreaking havoc and recruiting more Westerners to fight.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Sep 232014
 
Pentagon: Airstrikes 'Beginning' of Air Campaign Against ISIS in Syria

File photo. (Purestock/Thinkstock)(WASHINGTON) — The Pentagon said Tuesday that initial indications are that the U.S. airstrikes against ISIS in Syria overnight were “very successful.”

In addition, officials said that the targeting of a little-known off-shoot of al Qaeda was carried out because it was in the final stages of launching a terror attack on the U.S. homeland or Europe.

At the Pentagon briefing Tuesday morning, senior military officials described Monday night’s airstrikes as the “beginning” of a sustained air campaign against ISIS in Syria.

“Last night’s strikes are the beginning of a credible and sustainable persistent campaign to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL,” said Lt. Gen. William Mayville Jr., the director of Operations for the Joint Staff.

Mayville used an alternate name for ISIS, which also calls itself the Islamic State.

Mayville also predicted that ISIS will adapt to the new airstrike campaign and maintain a lower profile. He also described ISIS as a “learning organization…and they will adapt to what we’ve done and seek to address their shortfalls and gaps in our air campaign in the coming weeks.”

Initial indications are that the airstrikes were “very successful,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby.

He described the participation of five Arab nations in Monday night’s airstrikes against ISIS “as a critical part of our strategy.”

Fighter aircraft from Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia participated in Monday night’s airstrikes, and Qatar played a supporting role.

The overwhelming majority of the munitions dropped over Syria in the airstrikes were from U.S. aircraft.

Monday’s airstrikes also targeted the Khorasan Group, an off-shoot of al Qaeda that has concerned U.S. security officials because of its plans to conduct attacks against the U.S.

“We’ve been watching this group closely for some time,” said Mayville. “We believe the Khorasan group was nearing the execution phase of an attack either in Europe or the homeland. We know that the Khorasan group has attempted to recruit Westerners to serve as operatives or to infiltrate back into their homelands.”

Mayville said the group’s attention was clearly not directed at the Assad regime or helping the Syrian people. They are “establishing roots in Syria in order to advance attacks against the west and the homeland.”

Khorasan targets near Aleppo were struck in the first wave of airstrikes that included 47 Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from two U.S. Navy vessels, officials said.

“The majority of the Tomahawk strikes were against Khorasan Group compounds, their manufacturing workshops and training camps,” said Mayville.

Mayville also said “we are unaware of any civilian casualties” and noted that the U.S. takes the prevention of civilian casualties very seriously.

“And if any reports of civilian casualties emerge, we will fully investigate them,” he added.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Sep 232014
 
David Cameron: Queen 'Purred' When She Heard Scotland Vote Outcome

Chris Jackson/Getty Images(LONDON) — Does the Queen of England purr? Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron says so.

Cameron was caught on camera saying the Queen “purred down the line” out of happiness when he called to tell her that Scotland voted last week to remain part of the United Kingdom.

Cameron was describing how nervous he was about the possibility Scotland would become an independent country in a conversation with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, broadcast Tuesday on Sky News.

Upon learning that Scotland wouldn’t be seceding after all, he called Queen Elizabeth II to relay the good news, Cameron told Bloomberg.

“It should never have been that close. It wasn’t in the end,” Cameron said, adding a joke about the stress the polls brought him.

“I’ve said I want to find these polling companies and I want to sue them for my stomach ulcers because of what they put me through,” he added. “It was very nervous.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Sep 232014
 
David Cameron: Queen 'Purred' When She Heard Scotland Vote Outcome

Chris Jackson/Getty Images(LONDON) — Does the Queen of England purr? Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron says so.

Cameron was caught on camera saying the Queen “purred down the line” out of happiness when he called to tell her that Scotland voted last week to remain part of the United Kingdom.

Cameron was describing how nervous he was about the possibility Scotland would become an independent country in a conversation with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, broadcast Tuesday on Sky News.

Upon learning that Scotland wouldn’t be seceding after all, he called Queen Elizabeth II to relay the good news, Cameron told Bloomberg.

“It should never have been that close. It wasn’t in the end,” Cameron said, adding a joke about the stress the polls brought him.

“I’ve said I want to find these polling companies and I want to sue them for my stomach ulcers because of what they put me through,” he added. “It was very nervous.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio