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Wed, 18 Jun 2014 23:54:05 +0000
(WASHINGTON) -- At a budget hearing on Wednesday, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that a "great deal" of American surveillance aircraft are currently flying over Iraq with the purpose of gathering intelligence.
Dempsey mentioned both manned and unmanned aircraft at the hearing. A U.S. official told ABC News on Wednesday that the manned aircraft are F/A-18 fighters flying from an aircraft carrier in the northern Persian Gulf.
Last week, the Iraqi government requested assistance from the U.S., but according to Dempsey, the president has yet to decide whether he will authorize any military power in Iraq. While intelligence is currently being gathered, Dempsey stated that, "until we can actually clarify this intelligence picture, the options will continue to be built and developed and refined and the intelligence picture made more accurate." After that point, Dempsey said at the hearing, "the president can make a decision."
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