News Briefs – May 20, 2019

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Defense seeks pause in Navy SEAL case while probing spying

Attorneys for a Navy officer who supervised a SEAL accused of killing an Islamic State prisoner have demanded prosecutors stop monitoring defense lawyer emails and put the case on hold.
The court filing obtained May 15 by The Associated Press also asks a judge to investigate how the snooping came about and the extent of its impact.
The filing was made on behalf of Lt. Jacob Portier, who supervised Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher at the time he allegedly fatally stabbed an injured teenage militant in 2017 in Iraq.
Gallagher’s attorneys say they will seek dismissal of the case because of the intrusion.
Defense attorneys say the prosecutor acknowledged the tracking as part of an effort to find the source of document leaks.
The Navy declined comment. AP
 

Minister: Cyprus working with France to expand naval base

Cyprus’ defense minister says French military experts are assisting Cypriot authorities in upgrading a naval port on the east Mediterranean island nation’s southern coast to allow it to receive large warships.
Savvas Angelides told private TV station Sigma on May 16 that he has signed a statement of intent with his French counterpart affirming bilateral defense cooperation that allows authorities to proceed with the next phase of planning for the upgrade at Evangelos Florakis Naval Base.
Angelides said the aim of the upgrade is to enable Cyprus to effectively contribute to regional security through the European Union’s joint military investment and project development program known as PESCO.
A Cyprus defense ministry statement said the statement of intent also foresees the “wider strategic cooperation for the benefit of the naval forces” of both Cyprus and France. AP
 

Putin hails new Russian laser weapons

President Vladimir Putin says that new types of laser weapons developed in Russia will significantly enhance the nation’s military capability.
Speaking during a May 17 meeting with top officials, Putin specifically mentioned the Peresvet, the military’s first laser weapon that entered service last fall.
Peresvet is a high-energy laser, whose specific data and purpose have remained secret. It’s believed to be capable of blinding enemy electro-optical devices and downing drones.
Putin told officials that some other new laser weapons under development “until just recently only figured in science fiction.” He added that such weapons “will determine the combat potential of the Russian army and navy for decades ahead.” AP