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Pentagon: No Texas takeover plot

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02:42 - Source: CNN AP
Why is Texas state guard monitoring U.S. military exercise?
Washington CNN —  

Don’t mess with Texas – even if it’s just an exercise.

Amid unfounded, Internet-fueled rumors that U.S. Special Operations Forces might be trying to take over parts of the southwest, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered Texas State Guard forces under his control to keep an eye on the U.S. military during a large upcoming training exercise.

The exercise is called Jade Helm 15.

“It is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed,” Abbott said in an April 28 letter to Major Gen. Gerald “Jake” Betty, commander of the guard.

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Abbott ordered the guard to “monitor” the eight week-long exercise which begins in July and ends in September, across seven states. In Texas, Utah and New Mexico most of the training will take place on private land. In Arizona, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, much of it will take place on military installations.

Some of the concerns are fueled by Internet posting of a map said to be made up for the exercise which shows Texas in bright red and lists it as “hostile” territory. The scenario for the exercise is that U.S. special operations forces travel to another continent which includes hostile nations and work with rebel underground freedom fighters there.

The question for many is do Americans need to have their civil liberties protected from involvement by the U.S. military. U.S. military officials tell CNN they welcome the state guard working with them to coordinate the exercise operations in Texas, but that one sentence in the governor’s letter is without foundation.

On Monday, Abbott told reporters the guard simply will gather information, monitor the exercise and report to him about what is going on. Abbott said he has been “provided assurances,” by the Defense Department that “there is nothing for the public to worry about.”