Defense Sec. Ash Carter on Thursday disputed the idea from conspiracy theorists that the military exercise known as “Jade Helm 15” was an attempt by the Pentagon to take over Texas.
Carter said the military had been very “transparent” about the program in response to a question about concerned Texans.
“We have given information to authorities in Texas, any information that they’ve requested,” Carter said. “We’re very open and up front about our training activities in the United States, and I should say that we’re very grateful for the support of communities around the United States.”
When asked about the program and whether the Pentagon was planning to launch a Texas takeover, Carter smiled and responded with one word: “No.”
Reporters laughed at Carter’s response.
The program, set to run from July 15 to Sept. 15, has triggered wild conspiracy theories about its actual purpose. Amidst the fervor, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an order for the Texas State Guard to monitor the military operation.
Watch the video below, courtesy of C-SPAN. Carter’s comments about Jade Helm come at about 11:30 and 26:30 in the video.