Defense Secretary Ash Carter flatly denied Thursday the frenzied Internet speculation that a U.S. military exercise in Texas is part of a hostile takeover or other nefarious Pentagon mission.
Asked during a news conference about the Jade Helm 15 exercise and whether the Pentagon was “planning to overtake Texas,” Carter simply said “no” as people in the packed room laughed.
The exercise is the largest conducted by U.S. Army Special Operations Command. The military routinely conducts massive air, ground and sea training around the world, and often with multiple other countries.
Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has asked his State Guard to monitor the training exercise. Last week more than 200 people packed a meeting in rural Bastrop County asking whether the government was planning to confiscate guns or implement martial law.