Greg Abbott defends his Jade Helm directive


Gov. Greg Abbott spoke publicly for the first time Monday about a directive he issued last week to the Texas State Guard to monitor Jade Helm 15, a U.S. Special Operations exercise that will be held in Texas and other Southwestern states for eight weeks this summer that provoked rumors and some public concerns that it might be a prelude to martial law.

Abbott was criticized by some for seeming to confirm or stoke those fears by his action, but he said that was entirely wrong.

“Listen, what’s going on here is really very simple,” Abbott told reporters. “What we’re doing is serving as a communication facilitator between the Special Operations Forces and the people of the state of Texas and nothing more than that.”

“We are playing a pivotal role of government and that is to provide information for people who have questions,” Abbott said. “It is clear that people in Bastrop had questions, it’s clear from the questions I have received in my office that people have questions about it, and as governor and as government, I think we have an obligation to answer questions of citizens. And, by us working with the Special Operations Forces, we are able to provide information to citizens who were concerned about it.”

“I’ve seen nothing to worry about what’s going on,” Abbott continued. “We have been provided assurance by the Special Operations Forces that there is nothing for the public to worry about. This is consistent with past operations. Texas has a long tradition of supporting our troops and I don’t think this will be any different. I think there was frankly an overreaction to the simple fact that someone has to be in charge with gathering and disseminating information and we stepped in to play that role, which is a role to be applauded, and I think that by gathering and disseminating information, it will allay concerns that people have about what’s going on.”

“We’ve talked to the leaders of the Special Operations as well as the county judge in Bastrop County, they’re both thankful and grateful and appreciative of what we did and they applaud what we did,” Abbott said.


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