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Thomas R. Pickering is among the most decorated U.S. diplomats. He served in Republican and Democratic administrations from 1974 through 1996. He leads the Benghazi probe. (Associated Press)

Thomas R. Pickering is among the most decorated U.S. diplomats. He served in Republican and Democratic administrations from 1974 through 1996. He leads the Benghazi probe. (Associated Press)

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Say hello, Assad: See the Navy warships off the coast of Syria

The Navy has sent four warships — USS Ramage, USS Mahan, USS Gravely and USS Barry — armed with ballistic missiles into the eastern Mediterranean Sea amid violence in Syria. Navy ships are capable of a variety of military actions, including launching Tomahawk cruise missiles as they did against Libya in 2011.