VT: Before the presidential election, Trump ordered 40,000 mail boxes picked up off the streets and had the Post Office’s mail sorting machines destroyed with sledge hammers, costing taxpayers hundreds of millions but ensuring, he thought, the ability to rig the election through crooked courts. We won’t even go into the hundreds of polling stations that were closed.
Now he has done even more, taken the US Air Force fleet of surveillance aircraft and given them all to Israel, leaving the US blind to Russia when the Open Skies Treaty is renewed, as scheduled, January 20.
These specialized planes, now gone and they will take 2 years to replace, are used not only as part of open skies but for special surveillance during periods of high threat. They are also one of our backbone capabilities if and when our satellites are blinded, something now so easy even a child can do it.
Potential adversaries such as Iran can easily down our best stealth drones, like the Global Hawk and RQ180 but will not fire on these planes which have crews, or did until they were given away leaving America blind.
Note on the video:
Rachel Maddow describes how Donald Trump in his lame duck period has not only abruptly removed the U.S from the decades old Open Skies Treaty that supplies the U.S. and its allies with surveillance data on Russian military activities, but has taken steps to dispose of the program’s specialized planes and removed the option of replacing them.
Report from NY Post:
NY Post/Murdoch: The Trump administration is preparing to get rid of Air Force planes used for surveillance after exiting the Open Skies treaty with Russia, complicating President-elect Joe Biden’s options if he seeks to rejoin the accord, according to a report.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday announced the withdrawal from the decades-old treaty that allowed nations to conduct unarmed surveillance flights over each other’s territories.
Now the Trump administration is moving to jettison the specially equipped OC-135B planes used in the Open Skies flights, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The planes have been designated as “excess defense articles,” meaning they can be given or sold at steep discounts to allies, the report said, citing a senior US official.
“We’ve started liquidating the equipment,” the official said. “Other countries can come purchase or just take the airframes. They are really old and cost-prohibitive for us to maintain. We don’t have a use for them anymore.”
Older cameras used on the aircraft are expected to be given to allies, and new digital cameras the Pentagon planned to install on the planes will be sent to other Air Force units.
Then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced in July that a program to buy new planes to replace the OC-135Bs was canceled, so Biden won’t have the option of replacing the flights with modern planes.
The former vice president was critical of the Trump administration’s plan to exit the pact but hasn’t said whether he will re-enter the treaty