Rep. Matt Gaetz warned this week that environmental zealots and a Chinese spying operation in the Gulf of Mexico threaten America’s national security.
During a House Armed Services Committee hearing this week, Gaetz, a Fort Walton Beach Republican, questioned a top U.S. general about efforts to halt live-fire testing of weapons in the northern Gulf of Mexico.
Gaetz said the Biden administration stopped sensitive testing because of the potential threat to Rice’s whales, a newly designated endangered species. Gaetz said 51 whales call the Gulf home, and the administration has blocked weapons testing to find a way to accommodate them.
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Gaetz noted that the Pentagon must now shift its tests to land locations, which affects the training of several commando units and shift traffic on highways in the area.
“I think the stopping of … testing our weapons could have an impact on our readiness,” replied Air Force General Glen D. VanHerck, commander of the U.S. Northern Command.
“I’m hoping to bring a little sanity to this process,” said Gaetz, “because a serious nation would not impair live-fire testing … because we found 51 whales we didn’t know existed before 2021.”
But that’s not the only threat.
Gaetz also noted that China owns an oil rig in the northern Gulf off Florida’s coast with “dual-use capability.”
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The congressman said Shell sold the rig to the communist nation in 2016. Gaetz said The Obama administration approved the deal over the military’s objections, which expressed concerns about a “secret, intelligence-gathering platform masquerading as an oil rig in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico.”
A Pentagon official assured Gaetz that the Defense Department is monitoring such activity by communist China, including through third-party operators.
Gaetz replied, “Let’s not be so accommodating to the Chinese. Let’s not be so accommodating to the whales. And let’s get back to the great mission I know you all believe in.”
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