EXCLUSIVE: Pentagon believes attack on Saudi frigate meant for American warship

By Lucas Tomlinson

The Pentagon believes the suicide attack by Iranian- backed Houthi rebels targeting a Saudi frigate off the coast of Yemen may have been meant for an American warship, two defense officials tell Fox News.

The incident in question occurred in the southern Red Sea Monday. Two Saudi sailors were killed, 3 wounded. At first it was thought to be the result of a missile.

But based on new analysis of a video showing the yesterday's attack American intelligence officials now believe this was in fact a suicide bomber whose small boat rammed the side of the Saudi vessel.

In the audio heard on the video, a voice narrating the attack shouts in Arabic, "Death to America, Death to Israel, Death to the Jews."

U.S. defense analysts now believe those behind the attack either thought the bomber was striking an American warship or this was a “dress rehearsal” similar to the attack on the USS Cole, according to one official.

The attack Monday near the Bab al Mandab Strait connecting the Red Sea to Gulf of Aden occurred in the same area where US Navy warships came under missile attack in October near  the coast of Yemen.

An American destroyer shot down those incoming missiles-- the first successful engagement in combat using an American SM-2 missile.

USS Nitze, an American destroyer retaliated two days later launching Tomahawk missiles on October 13 at multiple Houthi radar sites in Yemen - that was in October.

This latest incident came a day after President Trump spoke by phone with the Saudi King, to discuss setting up safe zones for refugees in Syria and Yemen. Senior US defense officials who we have spoken to today say they are concerned by this latest incident but are confident American warships can defend themselves against

The United States has supported a Saudi-led air campaign against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen since 2015.

US transferring 4 Gitmo detainees to UAE and Saudi Arabia, US officials

The US military will transfer four more Gitmo detainees this week ahead of President Obama leaving office Friday, two US officials with knowledge of the transfers tell Fox News.

Three detainees will be sent to the United Arab Emirates and one to Saudi Arabia on two separate US military flights, the officials said.

41 detainees will remain at Gitmo after the latest transfers are complete.  It is not immediately clear if any more transfers will take place before President Obama leaves office Friday.

President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to end detainee transfers from Gitmo after taking office Friday.

The four detainees are expected to depart Gitmo Wednesday and arrive in UAE and Saudi Arabia Thursday, the officials said.

The Pentagon does not typically acknowledge detainee transfers until at least 24 after they arrive in third-party nations.

Earlier this week, 10 detainees were transferred to Oman.

In August, 15 Gitmo detainees were sent to the UAE in the largest single transfer to date. 

ISIS may have surface-to-air missile system, US gen says

ISIS may have taken Syrian regime surface-to-air missile site

The Islamic State may have taken possession of a Syrian military surface-to-air missile system, the top US general in Iraq told Pentagon reporters Wednesday.  ISIS recaptured the Syrian city of Palmyra over the weekend after Syrian regime troops fled in a hurry, leaving behind a trove of weapons.

“We believe it includes some armored vehicles and various guns and other heavy weapons, possibly some air defense equipment," Army Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, said. "Anything they seized poses a threat to the coalition.”

Townsend emphasized that if the Russians do not take out the weapons seized by ISIS, “we will.”  In the meantime, Townsend said he would let the Russians “sort that out” since Palmyra is in western Syria where the Russians and Syrian regime routinely carry out strikes. 

A separate US defense official tells Fox News, ISIS is in control of an SA-3 missile system taken from the Syrian regime outside Palmyra.  Townsend would not go into specifics about the possibility that ISIS had in its possession some “air defense equipment.”  

The Washington Post first reported ISIS had taken possession of the SA-3 surface-to-air missile system.  It is not immediately clear if ISIS knows how to use it.

ISIS continues to plan attacks against the West from Raqqa

“They still have the ability to plot and cast into motion attacks on the West and that’s a great concern to us,” said Townsend about ISIS inside Raqqa, reiterating earlier concerns from his last press briefing in late October.  “We are hammering away at them to prevent that.”  Townsend said the three ISIS leader killed in a drone strike last week were actively plotting attacks against the West.

Mosul – 25% retaken by US-backed  Iraqi forces

Townsend says that 25% of Mosul has been recaptured by US-backed Iraqi forces.  He warned that fighting in western Mosul, separated by the Tigris River, could be “potentially harder” because ISIS had put up more defensive positions there.

Townsend said the “locus” of ISIS’s chemical weapons program is based in Mosul, but believes it could be moved as Iraqi forces gain ground there.  He did not specify where the weapons would be moved.

12-15,000 ISIS fighters left

Townsend agreed with special envoy Brett McGurk’s estimation that roughly 12-15,000 ISIS fighters remained in Iraq and Syria.  It’s “ballpark close enough,” Townsend said.

Raqqa – “double or triple” more US-trained Syrian forces needed

Townsend said there have been 3,000 Arab fighters trained to date by the US military in Syria.  He said it would take “double or triple” that number before a US-supported assault force is ready to retake the ISIS capital.  The shortage of US-trained Arab fighters is a “big problem,” he said.  Training more Arab Syrian forces is part of the reason behind the deployment of 200 more US troops to Syria, he said.

Aleppo – US general says his focus is ISIS

“So I watched Aleppo on TV, it's horrible.  Like most of you, and I read intelligence so I get special access to intelligence about Aleppo, but Aleppo is not in our charter here.  So I'm blessed although it's a curse,” said Townsend.

It does complicate our life here, imagine fighting one war with another war raging just beside, and sometimes overlapping our war against ISIL here in northern Syria, so it's certainly a complicator,” he said.

Townsend said Aleppo would not have a significant impact on the US-led coalition’s battle against Raqqa.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Electoral College and Certifying the Electoral Vote



Per Pergram-Capitol Hill

The Founders feared a direct, “popular” election of the President. So while the Founders erected a system for eligible voters to cast ballots for President, they simultaneously constructed a series of circuit-breakers to potentially curb the will of the masses. This would diffuse political power when selecting a chief executive – and is the quintessence of the electoral college.

Creation of the electoral college is the first circuit-breaker. The Founders distributed “electoral votes” based on the population of each state. They granted the smallest states a minimum of three electoral votes – based on the standard distribution of at least two U.S. Senators and one member in the U.S. House of Representatives. But bigger states would command more sway in the electoral college, because, well, they were bigger. Hence, the reason New York and Virginia were power players in the early years.

In essence, voters were choosing “electors” for their state who would cast ballots on behalf of the candidate who emerged victorious. However, electors are free to vote the way they want and not bound to the candidate who prevails in a state. That produces the periodic phenomenon of “faithless” electors casting ballots in the electoral college. 29 states and Washington, DC have laws latching electors to candidates. But those statues are generally viewed as unenforceable. There have only been 157 instances of faithless electors for President or Vice President in the history of the republic. No faithless electors have swayed the outcome of an election.

The last faithless elector incident came in 2004. An unknown elector from Minnesota cast their ballot for then-Sen. John Edwards (D-NC), the Democrats’ vice presidential nominee, instead of now-Secretary of State John Kerry, the Democratic standard-bearer.

Here’s a general outline on the process from here through inauguration day:

In the spring and summer of a presidential year, the political parties of each state nominate electors for each candidate. These electors are typically “loyal” to a given party.

Then election day hits. Technically, voters are casting ballots for electors, not the actual presidential candidates. A candidate “wins” a given state and all of that state’s electoral votes (the exceptions being Maine and Nebraska, which allocate electoral votes proportionally).

The first big step in the process is December 13. This is when all state recounts, challenges and disputes must be resolved.

The Electoral College meets on December 19, by state, in each state capital. The electors then present their ballots for president and vice president.

Each state crafts six certificates of of votes, comprised of two, separate lists. One list compiles electoral votes for President. The other for Vice President. The Governor of each state certifies each list and attests to their accuracy via a certificate.

One certificate is then sent to the President of the Senate. Two go to each state’s Secretary of State.

December 28 is the deadline for the President of the Senate to receive the electoral ballots.

Per the Constitution, the Congress convenes at noon on January 3. Once the new Congress meets, the Archivist of the United States transmits to both the House and Senate the electoral certificates provided by the governors.

January 6 is then the official tabulation of the electoral college. Congress meets in a Joint Session (usually in the House chamber) with the Speaker of the House and the CURRENT Vice President (as President of the Senate) presiding). A simple majority (270 out of 538) are required to win.

Congress tabulates the states electoral slates in alphabetical order. Four vote counters, known as tellers, announce the results. The tellers are typically two House and two Senate members.

Debate can be called for if there is a dispute over a state’s electors. And that’s why the Founders dictated that the House and Senate would serve as the ultimate arbiter of each state’s electoral slate. This is the second circuit-breaker.

If there’s a disagreement, a member of the House and Senate must jointly contest an individual state’s electoral ballots. If that happens, the House and Senate dissolve into their separate bodies, debate the issue for two hours and then vote to accept or reject that state’s electoral vote. The House and Senate later reconvene to finally settle the issue in the Joint Meeting with the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate (the Vice President) presiding.

In early 2001, various members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) aimed to challenge Florida’s electoral slate from the previous fall’s disputed presidential election. Then-Vice President Gore repeatedly asked each CBC member if they had a Senate sponsor to jointly contest the Florida electoral slate. None did.

“I don’t care that it is not signed by a senator,” famously proclaimed Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) when pressed by Gore if she had a Senate advocate.

The irony of course is that the person who stood to benefit from a successful challenge of Florida’s electoral ballot was none other than Gore – the 2000 Democratic Presidential nominee.

In other words, this was getting awkward.

But not for long.

“The chair would advise that the rules do care,” Gore chastened Waters as he rejected her petition.

The move triggered applause from Congressional Republicans in the House chamber.

Officials reported voting irregularities in Ohio in 2004. The late-Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH) raised the issue about Ohio’s electoral slate during the January, 2005 Joint Meeting of Congress certifying the electoral college. Only this time around, Tubbs Jones found a Senate patron in Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA). The House and Senate then met separately to debate and vote on the Tubbs Jones/Boxer objection. The House and Senate eventually found the Ohio electoral votes to be in order. President George W. Bush secured a second term in the White House.

There is a final circuit-breaker. Let’s say the House and Senate cannot settle a dispute over the electoral vote and no candidate hits 270? That’s when the House decides the President in what is called a “contingent” election. This has only happened twice in U.S. history. The House votes by state delegation (one vote per state, so California is no more influential than say, North Dakota). A contingent election in 1801 elected Thomas Jefferson. The contingent election of 1825 tapped John Quincy Adams.

House Eliminates Entire Floor to Congressional Office Building

Per Pergram-Capitol Hill

If only cutting government spending were this easy…

The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) has “eliminated” the entire basement floor of the Rayburn House Office Building.

The basement still exists. But it’s not called a “basement” now. And the room numbers are designated as such.

For instance, room B343 (B, standing for basement) no longer exists. And it will be known as room “2049 Rayburn,” office to Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA).

But this is not the first floor. The first floor is one level up.

Confused?

Here’s the reason for the change: Well, the AOC is undertaking a multi-decade (yes, you read that correctly) project to renovate the Cannon House Office Building. That means the elimination of multiple Congressional office suites. So, in an effort to have enough offices for members, some lawmakers now have their offices in what WAS the basement of Rayburn. Even though it’s not called the basement any more.

The AOC says that members didn’t request the change. But Fox is told some lawmakers were rather unenthused about having offices which would be located in the “basement.” And due to the topographical slant of Capitol Hill, many of the offices actually offer rather dynamic views of the Capitol itself and are quite nice. These are not the dregs of Capitol offices. Just the numbers are different.

Many of the members in the basement are quite senior. They include Reps. Mike Simpson (R-ID), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Charlie Dent (R-PA), Tom Graves (R-GA), Jim Costa (D-CA), GK Butterfield (D-NC), Bill Shuster (D-PA), Jim Langevin (D-RI), Robert Brady (D-PA), Kathy Castor (D-FL), Rob Wittman (R-VA), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Dave Schweikert (R-AZ) and Barletta.

The Capitol sometimes delves into such wordplay with its geography and infrastructure. For instance, there is no “back” to the US Capitol. There is the “West Front” and the “East Front.”

But with the basement now eliminated, these lawmakers can all brag that they got in on the ground floor. 

Former Congressman arraigned on 24 felony counts

 

Former Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) is to be arraigned today on 24 felony counts in Springfield, IL. He's charged with theft of government funds, wire and mail fraud, lying on expense vouches and Federal Election Commission reports and filing false tax returns.

Congressman Schock is expected to plead not guilty.

First elected in 2008, the now 35-year-old Schock was the youngest member of Congress. He became known, not for legislation, but model-type photo shoots revealing is physique and an active Instagram account which showed him snowboarding in the Andes Mountains. 

He was also criticized for decorating his Capitol Hill office with a Downton Abbey motif. 

Schock resigned in March, 2015

 

China flies nuclear-capable bomber in South China Sea for first time since Trump call with Taiwan president, US officials

By Lucas Tomlinson

China flew a long-range nuclear-capable bomber outside China for the first time since President-elect Donald Trump spoke with the president of Taiwan, two US officials tell Fox News.  The dramatic show of force was meant to send a message to the new administration, according to the officials.

Even more concerning for the Pentagon, China has been seen by American intelligence satellites preparing to ship more advanced surface-to-air missiles to its contested islands in the South China Sea.

Mr. Trump's call with Taiwan's President Tsai ling-wen broke decades long protocol after American leaders stopped communicating directly with the Taiwan president in 1979, when diplomatic ties were severed and the United States shifted to a new "one-China" policy.  China protested Trump's call with President Tsai.

The Chinese H-6 bomber flew along the disputed "Nine-Dash line" Thursday which surrounds the South China Sea and dozens of disputed Chinese islands, many claimed by other countries in the region.  The Pentagon was alerted to the Chinese flight Friday.  It was the first long-range flight of a Chinese bomber along the U-shaped line of demarcation since March 2015, according to the officials.   

Over the summer, Chinese bombers flew over the South China Sea and the contested islands, but they did not fly nearly as far as this one, the officials said. 

At various points in recent long-range flight, Chinese fighter jets provided escort to the single Chinese bomber.  

In recent days, US intelligence satellites have spotted components for the Chinese version of the SA-21 surface-to-air missile system at the port of Jieyang, in southeast China, where officials say China has made similar military shipments in the past to its islands in the South China Sea.

In February, Fox News first reported that China had deployed an advanced surface-to-air missile system, the HQ-9, to Woody Island, a contested island in the Paracel Island chain in the South China Sea, also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam.

The HQ-9 is based on the Russian S-300 missile system and has a range of roughly 125 miles.  

The Chinese SA-21 system, based on the more advanced Russian S-400, is a more capable missile system than the HQ-9.  Depending on the types of missiles used, it could extend the range up to 250 miles and target not only aircraft, but ballistic missiles as well.  

The head of the U.S. military's Pacific Command, Admiral Harry Harris has repeatedly warned in the past year about China's continued military build-up or "militarization" of the South China Sea.

In October, a US Navy destroyer sailed close to Woody Island in what the Pentagon calls a "freedom of navigation" operation.  The Chinese called the act "provocative."  It was the fourth such operation by the U.S. Navy in the past year.    

China has constructed over 3,000 acres of land atop reefs in the South China Sea in the past few years.   It now has three runways and has sent bombers and fighter jets to a number of them.  

In August, satellite photos appeared to show China making progress on at least two dozen hardened concrete hangers in order to land Chinese bombers and fighter jets as well as in-flight refueling planes, greatly expanding the reach of the Chinese military. 

The photos were collected and studied by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington-based think-tank.  They showed the construction on China's man-made islands at Fiery Cross, Subi and Mischief reefs.  

Cuba: A Proving Ground for New Presidents

   

By Bret Baier         

           On January 19, 1961, under the threat of a storm that would dump eight inches of snow on Washington D.C., President Dwight Eisenhower held a final transition meeting with his young successor, John F. Kennedy. One day before the inauguration, Eisenhower’s mind was on the looming threats to American security, and Cuba was high on that list.

            Writing about this critical moment in U.S.-Cuban relations in my new book, Three Days in January: Dwight Eisenhower’s Final Mission (out January 10th), I was struck by the parallels between then and now, especially as we grapple with the implications of the death of Fidel Castro. Then, at the height of the Cold War, the threat posed by a Soviet-backed dictator off our southern coast was grave, and the need to formulate the right response in a nuclear age was a grave concern for Eisenhower. On the campaign trail during the 1960 presidential election, Kennedy had been bullish about dealing with and confronting Castro. Now Ike wanted to give him a more measured perspective.

            In a cabinet meeting following their private discussion, Kennedy learned the details of a plan in development under the auspices of the CIA to train Cuban exiles for a potential invasion of Cuba. The aim was to overthrow Castro’s brutal regime. But, Ike stressed, the plan was only in the early stages, and certain conditions would have to occur if it had any chance of success—including the creation of a government in exile and a strong leader who was capable of replacing Castro. Kennedy listened respectfully, but he mostly ignored Ike’s caveats.  Kennedy was impatient with the process Ike favored, which involved extensive debates from national security advisors. He preferred a looser, more shoot-from-the-hip style, and relied on a couple of key men who had his ear.  In the case of Cuba, the absence of sound advice had disastrous consequences.

            Within three months of becoming president, Kennedy approved a poorly planned invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs by a disorganized group of exiles. When he withdrew critical air support, Castro’s forces easily swept in and killed or captured the exiles. It was a complete failure—and Kennedy knew it. “How could I have been so stupid?” he raged.

            In desperation he turned to Eisenhower.  On April 22 he sent a helicopter to bring Ike from his home in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania for a private consult at Camp David.  As the two men strolled along the wooded paths, Kennedy lamented, “No one knows how tough this job is until he’s been in it a few months.”

            Eisenhower smiled wryly. “Mr. President,” he replied softly, “if you will forgive me, I think I mentioned that to you three months ago.” And indeed he had. But Kennedy, bursting with confidence, hadn’t taken him seriously.

            Kennedy’s Bay of Pigs fiasco unleashed the rage of Castro and emboldened the Soviet Union to begin erecting missile sites in Cuba pointed at the United States. The Cuban Missile Crisis, over half a century ago, remains America’s most chilling encounter with an immediate nuclear threat.   

            Once again, Kennedy turned to Ike. In a tape recording of their conversation on file at the JFK Library, one can hear the nervous uncertainty in Kennedy’s voice—and the unruffled calm in Eisenhower’s. Kennedy knew he had to act, even if it meant attacking Cuba and removing the missile sites by force. But he was worried about making a fatal mistake. “What about if the Soviet Union, Khrushchev, announces tomorrow, which I think he will, that if we attack Cuba, that it’s going to be nuclear war, and what’s your judgment as to the chances they’ll fire these things off if we invade Cuba?” he asked Eisenhower.

            Ike, the old warrior who had stared down Hitler as commander of the allied forces in World War II, saw through the bluster of our enemies. “Something may make these people shoot ‘em off,” he said. “I just don't believe this will.”  Reassured, Kennedy went on to negotiate the removal of the missile sites, and did it without having to attack Cuba. But it was a very close call.

            Today, the wounds from the conflicts of 1961 remain exposed and painful. When President Obama opened relations with Cuba in May of this year, six in ten Americans supported normalization. But for many others, especially in South Florida, the atrocities of Castro’s regime cannot so easily be forgotten, and its future commitment to freedom for its people is not so clear.

            In conversations during the transition, Eisenhower told Kennedy that the easy decisions a president faces are handled by staff.  Only the impossible ones fall on the president himself.  President-elect Trump will likely find that to be true as well, and Cuba is a good example. As president he will oversee the beginning of the post-Fidel Castro era, with all the complexity that entails. The decisions he makes early in his term could shape our relationship with the island nation for decades to come. He has already signaled his intention to renegotiate President Obama’s deal and perhaps even terminate it, but no matter what his strategy it will have significant consequences.

            If Eisenhower was advising President-elect Trump today, he would likely suggest, as he did with Kennedy, that the best way to approach such a complex matter was to proceed cautiously, to hold his cards close to his vest, and to strategize in private. In particular, Ike would have advised bringing voices from all sides into the room--those who agreed with the president and those who did not--and letting them engage in a rigorous debate. We don’t know what could have changed if President Kennedy had listened to Ike’s same advice at the time.  More than five decades later, without the looming Soviet nuclear threat, a President Trump has an opportunity to steer a new course in U-S Cuba relations. No matter which path the 45th President chooses, one can bet, it will be different in some way to the path the 44th President has pursued.

Russia launches long-range bombers to strike Syria for first time in a year, US officials

Per Lucas Tomlinson

Russia launched long-range bombers from an air base in southern Russia for the first time in a year to strike targets in Syria, two US officials tell Fox News.

Tu-95 “Bear” and Tu-160 “Blackjack” bombers took off from a Russian airbase in Engels Russia Wednesday and launched cruise missiles into Syria. It is not immediately clear where the missiles were launched from or where they impacted, the officials said.

The last time bombers took off from Engels to conduct strike missions in Syria was in November 2015, according to one official.

Separately, a flight of Russian bombers launched from Murmansk in northern Russia and flew as far south as Portugal before turning around in what US officials described as a “show of force.”   There are reports these bombers were intercepted by NATO jets, but this could not be immediately confirmed.

American defense officials have described these missions as a way for Russia to “show off” its latest military hardware.  While the Tu-95 “Bear” is a relic of the Cold War, the Russians have test fired new types of cruise missiles into Syria this week. 

Earlier this week, Russian Su-33s saw combat for the first time in Syria, striking from an airbase along Syria’s coastline.  The jets initially flew from Russia’s only aircraft carrier now in the eastern Mediterranean.  US officials say Russia’s jets cannot take off with a full combat load of bombs and fuel.  Six Su-33s flew off Admiral Kuznetzov aircraft carrier over the weekend and conducted strikes earlier this week.

Other advanced MiG-29Ks have launched from the carrier, but they were forced to arm at the Russian airbase ashore before carrying out their missions.  These jets have been mostly flying escort for the strike aircraft, according to officials. 

So far, the majority of Russian strikes have been in Hama, Homs, and Idlib Provinces where Syrian rebels, some supported by the United States are fighting regime forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. 

There are also al-Qaeda fighters on the ground in Idlib fighting the regime as well.  The United States has carried out a number of drone strikes in the past month to eliminate top al-Qaeda leaders there.

TSA Chief: U.S. airline sector remains top target for terrorists + Expects Thanksgiving 2016 to be busiest travel season on record

Per Matt Dean, DOJ Producer

In a wide-ranging interview with Catherine Herridge, the head of the Transportation Security Administration said that U.S. airports, and the travel sector as a whole, continue to be targets of interest for terrorists. 

Administrator Peter Neffenger acknowledged that recent attacks against the airline sector globally - specifically the downing of commercial jetliners over Egypt and Somalia as well as ground attacks on airport terminals in Brussels and Istanbul - drive home the fact that the threat is "very real" and something that needs to be paid attention to. 

In response to these threats, Neffenger said that new layers of security were added inside U.S. airports as well as international airports that serve as a last point of departure before reaching the United States. 

The TSA chief acknowledged that his agency will still limit liquids that are allowed to be brought through security checkpoints given that there is still considerable risk in this area. It is his hope, though, that new technology - specifically the use of CT scanners - will eventually give screeners a better look at any liquids looking to be brought through screening. That new technology will also potentially lead to the traveling public being allowed to keep their shoes on at checkpoints as well. 

If the funding is there, Neffenger said that the traveling public could see these changes come in the next 18-24 months. 

Neffenger said that he expects this Thanksgiving holiday rush to be the busiest ever. TSA is preparing to screen as many as 2.5 million people across the country per day at its peak - the agency expects the Sunday after Thanksgiving to be the busiest day. 

In preparation for the rush, TSA will be deploying additional assets at the busiest airports across the nation. He also noted that passengers at some of the biggest airports, like LAX, will be able to use new automated lanes. 

On the security side, Neffenger added that his agency will deploy VIPR (Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response) Teams to airports and major rail terminals around the country. These teams provide a robust physical law enforcement presence using heavily armed officers and K9s. 

On the issue of threats to non-sterile airport zones - or areas outside those where passengers are screened - Neffenger said that TSA has been engaging with local law enforcement across the nation to beef up and optimize security in these places. Terror attacks on airports in Brussels and Istanbul demonstrated how these areas can serve as soft targets of interest for those looking to harm the traveling public. 

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