LASER IN­CI­DENT 20 YEARS LATER

The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD - Con­tact Bill Gertz on Twit­ter via @Bil­lGertz.

A ma­jor theme of Demo­cratic talk­ing points in Congress and on lib­eral me­dia out­lets in re­cent weeks has been the no­tion that Rus­sia stole the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion from for­mer Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton through cy­ber­at­tacks and in­flu­ence ploys.

The anti-Rus­sia po­lit­i­cal nar­ra­tive that has en­sued is in stark con­trast to past ef­forts by Democrats to sup­port Moscow un­der suc­ces­sive lead­ers, in­clud­ing cur­rent Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

A case in point is the cover-up by the Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion of a laser at­tack against a Navy in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cer in the Pa­cific North­west 20 years ago.

The April 4, 1997, in­ci­dent took place in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, north of Puget Sound, when some­one aboard a Rus­sian mer­chant ship that was en­gaged in in­tel­li­gence-gath­er­ing fired a laser at a Cana­dian he­li­copter surveilling the ship.

At the time, the ship was sail­ing in­bound through waters used by Navy bal­lis­tic mis­sile sub­marines. In fact, a Navy sub was out­bound on the sur­face in the strait as the Rus­sian ship was tran­sit­ing in­bound.

As the Cana­dian he­li­copter made a pass over the Rus­sian ship, some­one fired a laser that in­jured the eyes of Navy Lt. Jack Daly, an in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cer who was pho­tograph­ing the ship, and his Cana­dian Sea King he­li­copter pi­lot Capt. Pat Barnes.

The in­ci­dent was kept se­cret by the Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion Pen­tagon and State De­part­ment in a bid to pro­tect its con­cil­ia­tory poli­cies to­ward Moscow.

The at­tack would be dis­closed in a top-se­cret Joint Staff re­port and pub­lished in The Washington Times by this colum­nist weeks later. Af­ter a de­ci­sion was made to search the ship for a laser, the State De­part­ment no­ti­fied the Rus­sian Em­bassy that the search would take place. The tipoff al­lowed the Rus­sians to hide or ditch the laser weapon used in the at­tack.

A Pen­tagon spokesman at the time also pro­vided false in­for­ma­tion to re­porters by stat­ing that there was no ev­i­dence the Rus­sian ves­sel had been en­gaged in in­tel­li­gence-gath­er­ing.

Lt. Daly, who has since re­tired, told In­side the Ring that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment and Navy have never ac­knowl­edged the laser at­tack.

“All I have to show for my ef­forts 20 years later are two eye­balls with 24/7/365 pain and a de­nial of any VA com­pen­sa­tion,” Lt. Daly said.

“It’s painfully clear that both Bill and Hil­lary Clin­ton have had no prob­lem throw­ing a mil­i­tary mem­ber un­der the bus with­out blink­ing an eye. Their dis­dain for any­one in uni­form is well known,” he added.

Lt. Daly said the at­tack was “just one of many na­tional se­cu­rity cover-ups by the Clin­tons.”

“Thank God our mil­i­tary men and women this day have a com­man­der in chief named Don­ald J. Trump,” he said. “The al­ter­na­tive was un­think­able.”

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