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United States officials authorized, tracked Russian spy plane's flight over DC
12 August 2017, 12:31 | Damon Campbell
Air Force Tupolev Tu-154
"We put together the flight plan and with a few exceptions - safety-wise or weather-wise - they are allowed to fly over pretty much the entire territory". None of them trespassed.
The Russian air force's Tupolev Tu-154M's maneuvers - legal thanks to a 1992 treaty - flew over Washington D.C., an air force base near Dayton, Ohio, and Bedminster, NJ, where Trump is vacationing, Politico reported.
Since the treaty entered into force in 2002, there have been more than 1,200 Open Skies flights. Missions under the Open Skies treaty typically involve several flights over a span of multiple days.
Under the Open Skies Treaty, first signed in 1992, 34 countries - including the USA and Russian Federation - allow member states to conduct unarmed observation flights in order to foster transparency about military activity and help monitor arms control and other agreements.
The Capitol Police kept tabs on the Russian plane and US military airmen were onboard with the Russians to make sure everything was okay, according to the Washington Post.
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As if Washington had not had enough of talking about Russian Federation, the country's air force sent an intelligence-gathering jet above the U.S. capitol, flying over the U.S. Capitol, Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency at low altitude on Wednesday. The U.S. flies OC-135B aircraft when it conducts such missions over Russian Federation and other countries. The jet passed over the Trump National Golf Course in the state, where he is now residing.
But Marine Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart، director of the Defense Intelligence Agency، has argued that Russian Federation may be taking advantage of the treaty.
The treaty, for instance, obligates each member to make all of its territory available for observation, yet officials said Russia has imposed restrictions on surveillance over Moscow and Chechnya and near Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two breakaway regions of Georgia now under Russian control.
"The things that you can see، the amount of data you can collect، the things you can do with post-processing، allows Russia، in my opinion، to get incredible foundational intelligence on critical infrastructure، bases، ports، all of our facilities،" Stewart said in March 2016. "So from my perspective, it gives them a significant advantage".
Navy Captain Jeff Davis spoke on behalf of the program in response to Stewart's comments. "So، in the interest of transparency and miscalculation on their part، sometimes it's worthwhile to allow them to have a look at what you're doing or what you're not doing".
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