The United States is vulnerable to an attack against its nuclear submarine and aircraft carrier bases, due to lax measures adopted since the collapse of the Soviet Union, according to a U.S. Naval officer wounded in a 1997 Russian laser attack.

U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Jack Daly

Lt. Cmdr. Jack Daly stated that Russian intelligence-gathering ships are “allowed free entry into our ports,” and are allowed into “close proximity to our [U.S. Navy] ships.” Naval Intelligence assertions that such Russian activity is “militarily insignificant,” Daly declared, “reek of the mindset and the mistakes made prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor.”

Daly denies that the Cold War is over, and stated that “as far as I’m concerned … the Cold War never ended, it just thawed out a little bit,” and added that since the arrival of ex-KGB operative Vladimir Putin as Russian president, “the chill is coming back.”

He made the statements during an interview on Saturday’s Judicial Watch radio broadcast. Judicial Watch is a public-interest watchdog group.

Regarding the Pearl Harbor attack, Daly stated, “we had intelligence (concerning the attack), the intelligence was dismissed, it was ignored; I feel as frustrated as some of the intelligence officers who alerted the Command [at Pearl Harbor] that there was going to be an attack.”

Daly singled out the situation of the Navy bases at Bremerton and Everett bases on Puget Sound near Seattle, Wash.

Since 1992, according to Daly, Russian spy ships — although known to Navy intelligence — have been allowed to sail freely into U.S. territorial waters and then through to Puget Sound, the home to vital Navy aircraft carrier and submarine bases.

Because the waters in the area can be exceptionally narrow — less than two miles in width at some points — Daly refers to the area as a “choke point” for Navy shipping. Daly cited the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen earlier this year, which cost the lives of 17 Navy crewmen, as an example of how an attack could be carried out against Navy ships in Puget Sound.

Daly speaks from experience. On April 4, 1997, while doing reconnaissance over the Russian intelligence ship Kapitan Man, Daly was attacked with a laser from the ship and received permanent eye injury — including possibly eventual total blindness.

Navy Intelligence assigned Daly the reconnaissance mission; Daly’s pilot, Canadian Air Force Captain Patrick Barnes, was similarly wounded.

The incident occurred five miles from Port Angels, in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the body of water leading to several U.S. Navy bases, as well as to Victoria, Canada, and Seattle. The Kapitan Man had already come to within 1,000 yards of the nuclear-missile-armed U.S.S. Ohio.

Daly states that the Clinton administration did nothing either to assist him with his injury, nor to punish those aboard the Russian ship. The Kapitan Man was given a 24-hour notice before it was boarded, and predictably, no laser devices were found upon the tardy inspection.

Since the incident, the Navy has failed to acknowledge his injury.

According to the press statement on Daly’s website, despite attempts to intervene on his behalf by a number of members of Congress, including Sens. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., and Bob Smith, R-N.H., his claims have met with “constant stonewalling by the Navy.”

As a result, Daly turned to Judicial Watch, which filed a lawsuit on his behalf against the Russian-owned shipping company FESCO, the U.S. branch of the Far Eastern Shipping Co., based in Vladivostok, Russia. A copy of the lawsuit is available on Daly’s website.

Daly stated, however, that his “chief concern” in the suit was not for himself, but for “the security of the United States.”

The suit was filed on Wednesday, June 13, three days before U.S. President George W. Bush was to meet Putin.

In the press statement, Daly cites “a clear and present danger to our Navy and our nation” in the unregulated activities of Russian ships within the U.S. and close to Navy bases.

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, stated that the suit filing was timed to coincide with the Bush-Putin summit, near Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, in hopes that Bush would address the issues of national concern raised by Daly.

“It is my fervent hope that President Bush will stand up for one of his citizens and military officers and not allow this betrayal to continue,” Daly wrote.

No report thus far indicates that Bush has broached any of Daly’s security concerns with Putin.

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