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Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Russian Missiles Arrive In Syria

The Israeli media have been quoting Arab news media reports claiming a Russian convoy of game-changing S300 missile batteries are already in Syria.

Citing Arab intelligence sources last week, this column was first to report that some S300 missile batteries reached Syria two weeks ago. At the time, Israeli security sources said there is no information to support the Arab claim. Last week Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Russia to meet with President Vladimar Putin about the S300 sale as well as other security concerns.

Now the Israel media is quoting the London-based Arab paper Al-Quds Al-Arabi, which claims the S300 missiles are currently in Syria under Russian supervision. The report claims the missiles are not yet operational.

Speaking to this column this week, the same Arab intelligence sources who first claimed some S300 batteries were already delivered to Syria now say other advanced Russian antiaircraft missiles arrived in Syria in the last few days. The sources said a Russian delivery of 9K720 Iskander missiles reached Syria last week. The system is an older version of the S300.

Asked about the latest report, Israeli security officials did not immediately comment on the matter.

S300 missile batteries are able to intercept manned aircraft and guided missiles.

Yet More We Didn’t Know About Benghazi

Did the State Department scrub information about a dramatic incident the night of the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attack in which U.S. Embassy staff 400 miles away in Tripoli evacuated their residential compound under a possible terror threat?

The threat was taken so seriously that, according to a key embassy staffer, communications equipment was dismantled and hard drives were smashed with an ax.

The scene was first brought to light in congressional testimony last week by Gregory Hicks, the former U.S. deputy chief of mission in Libya. It remains largely unreported by news media.

The incident also was not mentioned in the State Department probe nor was it previously reported in news accounts of the attack, which the Obama administration first claimed was a result of popular protests of an anti-Mohammed video.

In his testimony, Hicks said that about three hours after the attack began on the U.S. facility in Benghazi, the embassy staff in Tripoli noticed Twitter feeds asserting that the terror group Ansar al-Sharia was responsible. Hicks said there was also a call on the social media platform for an attack on the embassy in Tripoli.

“We had always thought that we were…under threat, that we now have to take care of ourselves, and we began planning to evacuate our facility,” he said.

“When I say our facility, I mean the State Department residential compound in Tripoli, and to consolidate all of our personnel…at the annex in Tripoli.”

Hicks said that he “immediately telephoned Washington that news afterwards and began accelerating our effort to withdraw from the Villas compound and move to the annex.”

Continued Hicks: “I have vivid memories of that. I think the most telling, though, was of our communications staff dismantling our communications equipment to take with us to the annex and destroying the classified communications capability.

“Our office manager, Amber Pickens, was everywhere that night just throwing herself into some task that had to be done. First she was taking a log of what we were doing,” he said.

“Then she was loading magazines, carrying ammunition to the – carrying our ammunition supply to…our vehicles, and then she was smashing hard drives with an ax.”

The vivid, nearly unprecedented scene, however, was not reported in the State Department’s description of the Tripoli embassy’s response on the night of the Benghazi attack.

The section of the State Department probe titled “Embassy Tripoli Response” simply says that upon notification of the attack in Benghazi, the U.S. Embassy set up a command center and notified Washington.

SCYTL Technology Coming To
More Polling Booths Near You

The foreign-headquartered company that recently purchased the leading U.S. electronic voting firm has just announced its technology will be deployed at more jurisdictions ahead of the 2014 midterm elections.

A SCYTL company news release boasted that its “electronic pollbook solution recently achieved a significant milestone by eclipsing the 100th implementation in the United States.”

“This number continues to grow with many jurisdictions planning to implement electronic pollbook technology ahead of the 2014 election cycle,” continued the release.

The electronic pollbook reportedly allows U.S. election officials and poll workers to manage the electoral roll on Election Day in an efficient and convenient manner.

SCYTL’s electronic pollbook solution will be utilized in small and large election jurisdictions throughout the nation, including in Washington, D.C.; Galveston County, Texas, along with 50 other Texas counties; Kane County, Ill.; and the city of Peoria, Ill.

In January 2012, SCYTL, based in Barcelona, acquired 100 percent of SOE Software, the leading software provider of election management solutions in the United States. The sale garnered national attention after it was spotlighted by the popular Drudge Report.

About the Author: Aaron Klein is a New York Times bestselling author and senior reporter for WND.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York's 970 AM Radio on Sundays from 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern. His website is KleinOnline.com.


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