Thornberry briefs local Republicans on security, other issues

By David Talley | Published Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017

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U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry visited Wise County Monday to brief a group of local elected officials and others gathered at a Wise Republican Women’s luncheon on security, healthcare and taxes.
Thornberry, whose district encompasses the Texas panhandle the areas southeast along the Red River to Wise County, chairs the House Armed Services Committee and spoke on the importance of funding national defense.
“The world is more dangerous now,” he said. “But today we spend 18 percent less on our military than in 2010.”
Thornberry also mentioned recent non-combat accidents involving military personnel that have killed or wounded more than 50 service members at home and abroad since June. The country has the smallest army since before World War 2, the smallest Navy since before World War 1 and the smallest and oldest air force it’s ever had, Thornberry said.
“When you cut 20 percent and you ask them to do more and more, you’re stretching them thinner and thinner,” he said.
The sailors involved in a recent collision between a U.S. Navy destroyer had been working close to 100 hours each week and hadn’t receiving necessary training because they constantly deployed, he said.
The congressman assigned a portion of the blame on politicians who “play political football with the defense budget,” despite looming security risks from North Korea, Iran, Russia and ISIS.
“We have the best military in the world but we have not been supporting them as much as we should to do what we ask them to do,” he said.
Other updates the congressman provided included information on alleged Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election.
While Thornberry doesn’t believe operatives were successful in changing the results of the election, he said Russians made attempts to incite division through social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter.
“I know of no evidence that says Russia affected the outcome of the election,” he said. “More and more evidence is coming out that they tried, though.”
That includes, he said, a Facebook page called “Heart of Texas,” which tried to incite Texas secession while delivering messages against immigration and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. The page has been taken down as part of the social media site’s efforts to remove pages operated out of Russia, according to a September Business Insider article. Thornberry said intelligence indicates posts from the page were viewed by at least 300,000 Facebook users before it was removed.
“Another example is that Russians were creating social media supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement,” Thornberry said. “So they were looking for ways to divide us and then they were pushing social media that would advance those divisions and cause us to wonder if things are true. If they can just sow a seed of doubt, then they will have accomplished their purpose.”
Issues like this have made the responsibility of good citizenship more important than ever, he said.
The congressman also spoke on employment rates, taxes, healthcare and North Korea before taking questions from the audience.

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