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Pete Hoekstra: US Helps Putin by Buying Russian Helicopters

By Joe Battaglia   |   Monday, 28 Apr 2014 03:33 PM

While President Barack Obama is busy announcing new sanctions against Russia for its continued hostilities in Ukraine, the U.S. government is secretly emboldening the Russian economy through a military contract, former Rep. Pete Hoekstra says.

In an attempt to ratchet up pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin, Obama outlined, from his trip in the Philippines, new sanctions against high-technology exports and  wealthy Putin allies.

But Hoekstra, a onetime Michigan congressman and former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV that while this is going on, the Pentagon is hiding "a dirty little secret" about the price the United States is paying as part of its military pullout from Afghanistan.

"As we're leaving, the Afghan military, they're looking for helicopters," Hoekstra explained. "They want about 90 attack helicopters. All right. You say, 'Hey, great! They're going to be buying 90 helicopters, that's going to be putting a lot of Americans to work.'

"Wrong. They're buying Russian helicopters for the Afghan military, and the interesting thing about helicopters is that they're high-maintenance. So, not only are we buying about a billion dollars' worth of Russian helicopters, but we're also providing the Russian military industrial complex, the people that build these helicopters, we're providing them with maintenance contracts that are multiple numbers of this one billion," he said Monday.

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According to Hoekstra, the deal to purchase helicopters from Russia has been in place for some time, and Congress even attempted to stop the deal through the appropriations process because of Putin's support of Syrian President Bashar Assad. But Hoekstra said, "Obama just forgot about those restrictions and went beyond them."

"So now we've got the Russians in Syria, we've got them in Ukraine, they're creating mischief all over the place," Hoekstra said, "and we're buying Russian helicopters to give to the Afghans and the biggest promoter of this is the U.S. Pentagon."

Additionally, since Obama shut down NASA's space shuttle and Constellation programs, every time the U.S. needs to send an astronaut or satellite to space, Hoekstra says they are being launched on Russian rockets, providing an additional financial boon to the country.

"Are we sanctioning those companies?" he asked, incredulously. "Canceling these purchases? Did we cancel the purchase of these helicopters? Absolutely not.

"You just wonder why wouldn't the Pentagon go out right now and say, 'We're sorry, the balance of the helicopter contract is cancelled'? On one hand, we're saying sanctions, on the other hand we're buying lots of Russian products that are fueling and enriching the very people that we're trying to sanction, it makes no sense."

Hoekstra, however, stopped short of blaming this on Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

"I don't think you go after one person here," he said. "The Obama administration, you know, on foreign policy, on national security issues, they leave a lot to be desired."

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