U.S. Embassy in Cairo Not Being Evacuated Yet

Pentagon officials are right now watching very carefully the developments on the streets of Cairo. I am told from a senior defense official that if the U.S. Embassy needed to be evacuated, the Egyptian military would be involved and there are contingency plans for such that have been dusted off.

However, the reports from the Embassy in Cairo suggest that no call has yet been made to evacuate the embassy and that the guidance as of 9:30 am EST is that such a move is unnecessary at this time. The State Department has not called for the dependents of those serving in the U.S. Embassy to be evacuated.

But if you walk into any senior military official's office here in the Pentagon today side-by-side cable channels are tuned into the protests taking place on the streets of Egyptian cities. Egypt is the second leading recipient of U.S. foreign assistance and receives $ 1.3 billion a year, mostly in military aid administered through the State Department. The Pentagon did not call off a prescheduled week of meetings here in the Pentagon with senior Egyptian military officers which are expected to go through next Wednesday.

This is the 27th U.S.-Egypt Military Cooperation Committee meeting. It is hosted by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Ambassador Alexander Vershbow. The senior Egyptian representative is Lieutenant General Sami Hafez Enan.

According to a senior Pentagon official, this is the highest-level U.S.-Egyptian dialogue on defense and strategic issues. The meeting will include several sub-committees that will focus on issues such as security assistance, training, exercises and defense industrial cooperation. All of the U.S. service chiefs will meet with the Egyptian contingent.