Agents Wallace and Scola track down Gabriel.
Agents Wallace and Scola track down Gabriel.
REUTERSBill Burns, the career diplomat tapped by President Biden to run the CIA, told a Senate panel Wednesday that his utmost priority as director will be to combat the technological and economic might of China.In a remarkably amicable exchange with the Senate intelligence committee, where controversies over intelligence failures and abuses have characterized nomination hearings for aspirant CIA directors since 9/11, Burns said the CIA would have to “relentlessly sharpen” its arsenal of digital weapons and its understanding of Beijing’s own.That and other aspects of Burns’ testimony received enthusiastic support from intelligence-committee Senators of both parties, which seem to have reached consensus that China seeks, as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), the vice chair of the panel, put it, to “replace the United States as the world’s most powerful and influential nation.” Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) mused that during the Cold War, the U.S. had “an organizing principle” that the current geopolitical competition with China provides.But Burns, a former deputy secretary of state and ambassador to Russia, also said U.S. rivalry with China was dissimilar to “the competition with the Soviet Union in the Cold War.” Burns defined U.S.-China competition as less of a “security and ideological” clash than one over economic and technological primacy. He spoke less of prospective covert measures against China than he did of providing “the best possible intelligence on the nature of Chinese intelligence and capabilities.”Whether the U.S. can avoid a cold war with a rising global power is a central question facing U.S. foreign policy at the dawn of the Biden administration. Biden’s stated approach thus far has been to pursue “great power competition” without the trade war of the Trump administration and with the prospect of cooperation on climate change. Yet there is also an appetite in Washington for a far more aggressive confrontation. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) urged Burns not “take the pressure off” China in order to reach a deal on climate.Sasse, Bennet and other lawmakers also focused on China as a way to imply the diminution in priority of the CIA’s ongoing lethal counterterrorism operations, something Biden has placed under review. There was practically no discussion of CIA counterterrorism during the two hour hearing. Two senators who have been relentlessly critical of CIA counterterrorism abuses, Democrats Ron Wyden and Martin Heinrich, usually the panel’s dissenters on agency nominees, both cheered Burns. Wyden noted Burns’ hearing was becoming a “full fledged bouquet tossing contest.”‘Financial Batman’ in the Lead to Run Biden’s CIAUnlike his predecessor Gina Haspel, Burns has no ties to the CIA’s post-9/11 human-rights abuses. “I believe the CIA’s former enhanced interrogation program included torture,” Burns affirmed in a questionaire for the committee.Notably, however, Burns did not turn a page on CIA counterterrorism, saying only that he would need to balance emergent challenges with “the continuing threat posed by terrorist groups, 20 years after 9/11.” He said those still at the agency who took part in the torture program would face no professional consequence. In the questionnaire, he stopped short of committing to providing the classified Senate torture review to Guantanamo defense attorneys representing people the CIA tortured. Wyden lambasted U.S. intelligence agencies’ purchase of commercially available data on Americans as an end-run around the Fourth Amendment. Burns pledged “transparency” over the purchases – but did not pledge to end them.Burns also emphasized restoring a respect for the “courage [and] expertise” of intelligence officials after the Trump administration persecuted whistleblowers, purged officials it considered disloyal and sought generally to suborn the intelligence apparatus to its agenda. He was not Biden’s first choice for the job – former national security adviser Tom Donilon declined it – but said Biden told him to “deliver intelligence to him straight.” He also acknowledged that he will not be Biden’s closest intelligence adviser; that will be Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, whom he called “my longtime friend and colleague.”As a foreign-policy traditionalist over his three decades in diplomatic life, one who held senior appointments under both parties, Burns was embraced as a signal of a restored status quo ante during a volatile period in American politics. His testimony followed encomia for him from two foreign-policy greybeards, George H.W. Bush Secretary of State James Baker and Obama CIA Director Leon Panetta. Baker called Burns’ nomination “a bipartisan no-brainer.”While Burns has been a consumer of intelligence rather than a producer during his government career, he wrote one of the most prescient pieces of analysis of the past generation. As the Bush administration was preparing to invade Iraq, Burns, as assistant secretary of state for the Mideast, wrote what has become known as the “Perfect Storm” memo. Burns accurately predicted in July 2002 that “a horrible wave of bloodletting and private vengeance” would result from a U.S. occupation. It was a warning to Secretary of State Colin Powell at a time when the White House disdained such concerns as disloyalty or defeatism and discouraged the CIA from producing similar analysis. Still, Burns did not resign when Bush invaded.“He is not going to try to impose any particular formula with regard to reform. He knows how to work with a professional workforce, having had a whole career in the foreigh service. He’ll be open to suggestions and initiatives from below,” said Paul Pillar, who was the CIA’s senior Middle East analyst when Burns was assistant secretary of state. “Ambassador Burns is, in my judgement, an excellent nominee for director of the CIA. He brings to the job utmost experience in what U.S. foreign policy most needs from the intelligence community: as a senior consumer at the State Department, he has an excellent feel for what the sorts of questions are that need to be addressed by the community.”During the hearing, Burns alluded to his 2002 memo with modesty. “It was imperfect. We got it about half-right and half-wrong,” he said. “But it was an honest effort to express our concerns… without that, policy choices suffer.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
The actress said she was "in a state of shock" when Jim Parsons said he wanted to leave the series thus ending the popular CBS sitcom.
Eddie Murphy said that Ryan Coogler's idea had Michael B. Jordan playing his son, "looking for a wife."
A federal judge on Tuesday indefinitely banned the Biden administration from enforcing a 100-day pause on deportations of most illegal immigrants in response to a lawsuit from Texas, which argued that the moratorium violated federal law and could saddle the state with additional costs. U.S. district judge Drew Tipton issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday, dealing a blow to President Biden’s efforts to follow through on his campaign promise to pause most deportations. The pause would not have applied to those who have engaged in terrorism or espionage or who pose a danger to national security. It would also have excluded those who were not present in the U.S. before November 1, 2020, those who agreed to waive the right to remain, and those whom the ICE director individually determined need to be removed by law. Tipton first ruled on January 26 that the pause violated federal law on administrative procedure and that the U.S. failed to show why a deportation pause was justified. He issued a temporary two-week restraining order, which was set to expire Tuesday. Texas attorney general Ken Paxton argued that Biden’s January 20 memorandum violated federal law and an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security that Texas be consulted before reducing immigration enforcement or pausing deportations. As part of the agreement, DHS must give Texas 180 days notice of any proposed change on any matter that would reduce enforcement or increase the number of “removable or inadmissible aliens” in the United States. However, the ruling does not require deportations to resume at their previous pace and immigration agencies have broad discretion in enforcing removals and processing cases. In the wake of the first ruling, authorities deported hundreds of people to Central America and 15 people to Jamaica. The administration has also continued deportations that began under the Trump administration due to a public-health law in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
‘He has by far the largest voice and a big impact in my party,’ says Utah senator
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex say they will continue to support their royal patronages despite not being allowed to do so as royals.
'What you need to know is that my client believes he won Georgia, the Electoral College and the presidency. As crazy as that sounds, he believes it.'
Thousands of anti-government protesters threw confetti and chanted slogans in Nepal’s capital on Wednesday to celebrate Parliament's reinstatement by the Supreme Court. The court order was major blow to troubled Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli, who dissolved the legislature in December because of a feud within the governing Nepal Communist Party. The jubilant demonstrators applauded the court's decision and demanded Oli's immediate dismissal.
Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) on Tuesday unveiled a plan to gradually raise the minimum wage to $10, rather than the $15 their Democratic colleagues are targeting. The reaction among conservatives was mixed. Brad Polumbo, writing in The Washington Examiner, called the plan an "abandonment" of fiscal conservatism, likening it to "something out of" Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) office. The plan, Polumbo continues, "ignores everything conservatives are supposed to understand about economics and the perils of big government," asserting that while both Romney and Cotton market themselves as "pro-family social conservatives," their plan "would hurt working families if implemented." At The National Review, however, John McCormack writes that research has shown the plan wouldn't cost any jobs at its median estimates, and high-end estimates point to around 100,000 losses. McCormack's colleague Robert VerBruggen thinks it will "resonate with the public" as a middle ground policy that comes attached to an immigration enforcement measure — in addition to the gradual wage increase, the Romney-Cotton plan would require businesses to use the "E-verify system" to ensure their employees are in the country legally and eligible to work. At Bloomberg, Michael Strain, the director of of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, praised the Romney-Cotton plan for its patience, noting that it would delay the increase until after the coronavirus pandemic "is in the rear-view mirror," whereas the Democratic proposal backed by President Biden would start churning in June. But he doesn't believe it will prevent Democrats from continuing to lobby for further raises, and ultimately doesn't solve the fact that "Republicans would still be on the losing side of a popular issue." He is also skeptical of the immigration enforcement tradeoff. He described it as a "politically interesting pairing," but explained he'd "rather see a modest minimum wage increase paired with policies that would improve employment and skills." More stories from theweek.comThe MyPillow guy might be Trump's ultimate chumpLate night hosts laugh at Rudy Giuliani literally running from his $1.3 billion lawsuit, tie in CPACBruce Springsteen drunk driving charge dropped by prosecutors
The White House says it continues to stand by Neera Tanden, President Joe Biden's pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget, despite the opposition of a growing number of Senators, throwing her nomination increasingly into doubt. (Feb. 23)
A 22-year-old Russian social media influencer is facing heavy criticism online for posing naked on top of an endangered elephant in Bali, Indonesia for her 553,000 Instagram followers. Alesya Kafelnikova received backlash for the short video she posted on Feb. 13, where she was filmed lying naked on top of a “critically endangered” Sumatran elephant, according to The Sun. In a follow-up post, Kafelnikova shared an image presumably with the same elephant and said in the caption, “To love nature is human nature.”
Fisher has said being with Cohen is like "winning the lottery" ... even if she has to deal with his many shenanigans.
The South Korean carmaker is replacing batteries for huge numbers of Kona electric cars.
More details are emerging over the extent of injuries suffered by Tiger Woods, following his major car accident on Tuesday.In a statement posted on the golf icon’s Twitter account Woods needed to have fractures of his tibia and fibula bones stabilized with a rod.Screws and pins also had to be used for other injuries to his foot and ankle.It goes on to add that the 45-year-old was awake, responsive, and recovering after surgery at Harbor UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.It was not immediately clear what effect the accident might have on his career.Woods was already out of golf action, even before this latest accident, when his car careened off a road and rolled down a hillside early Tuesday morning.He'd been hosting the PGA tour's annual Genesis Invitational at the nearby Riviera Country Club over the weekend, although he did not compete.Woods had a fifth back surgery in December and was quoted only last weekend as saying he was hopeful of playing in April’s Masters in Augusta - a tournament he’s won five times and the scene of his incredible comeback victory in 2019.Messages and tributes have been posted on social media from a host of sporting well wishers.Fellow major winning golfer Phil Mickelson wrote "We are all pulling for you. We are so sorry that you and your family are going through this tough time. Everyone hopes and prays for your full and speedy recovery."Another former champion Ernie Els said of Els “We've been friends a very long time, obviously I'm concerned for his well being. He's always been a fighter and I hope he fully recovers very soon."
The Senate Homeland Security Committee is postponing a confirmation hearing scheduled Wednesday for Neera Tanden, Axios has learned, a potential death knell for President Biden's nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget.The latest: Asked Wednesday afternoon whether Tanden has offered to withdraw her nomination, Psaki told reporters, "That’s not the stage we’re in." She noted that it's a "numbers game" and a "matter of getting one Republican" to support the nomination. Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for freeWhy it matters: Tanden’s nomination was already in peril after several senators voiced their opposition. While the White House has continued to stand by her, the last-minute postponement is another indication of the tenuousness of her confirmation."We are postponing the business meeting because members are asking for more time to consider the nominee,” a committee aide said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "The president deserves to have a team in place that he wants, and we’re going to work with our members to figure out the best path forward."The meeting had been scheduled for 10 a.m. ET.Axios reported on Monday that House Democrats were already planning for a replacement nominee. Psaki responded to that reporting during Wednesday's briefing, telling reporters: "There’s one nominee to lead the budget department, her name’s Neera Tanden."Tanden has faced some questions from both parties about her qualifications, but the broadest criticism received was for past combative tweets.Not only does she have a long history of attacking some of the Republican and Democratic senators called to vote upon her nomination, but her comments undercut Biden's campaign promise to seek unity and work in a bipartisan fashion.Last week, a fellow Democrat — Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia — said he would not vote to confirm her, and this week, three Republicans viewed as potential replacements in the 50-50 split Senate — Susan Collins of Maine, Rob Portman of Ohio and Mitt Romney of Utah — also said they would vote no."Her past actions have demonstrated exactly the kind of animosity that President Biden has pledged to transcend," Collins said in a statement.The White House remains steadfast, despite the criticism and meeting postponement."Neera Tanden is a leading policy expert who brings critical qualifications to the table during the this time of unprecedented crisis," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement to Axios.Tanden, an ally of 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, currently leads the Center for American Progress.Other supporters have accused Tanden's opponents of hypocrisy, noting Manchin and many Republican senators voted to confirm nominees of President Trump who also had posted caustic tweets.Be smart: Tanden has tried to make amends by deleting her tweets, apologizing for any offense and pledging to be an OMB director who works in a bipartisan fashion.More from Axios: Sign up to get the latest market trends with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free
Ford said the 2020 and 2021 pickups have windshields that are improperly adhered and may come off in a crash.
The minority community of several hundred thousand was decimated first by al Qaeda's rise in the early 2000s and later by Islamic State, which brutally persecuted them and other minority faiths and sects.For many of those who remained, or have returned to Iraq where free worship is again possible, Pope Francis' visit from March 5-8 is welcome recognition of how they have suffered for their beliefs.The trip by the 84-year-old leader of the world's Catholics was announced in December, and will take in the capital Baghdad, as well as Ur, a city linked to the Old Testament figure of Abraham, and Erbil, Mosul, and Qaraqosh in the plain of Nineveh.
Former Nissan Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa told a Japanese court Wednesday he believed the compensation for his predecessor Carlos Ghosn was too low “by international standards,” and so he supported Ghosn’s retirement packages to prevent him from leaving. “Mr. Ghosn had outstanding abilities and achievements,” Saikawa said, testifying in Tokyo District Court in the criminal trial of Greg Kelly, a former senior executive at Nissan Motor Co.
In a two-page memo addressed to GOP donors, voters, leaders, and activists, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) declared: "The Republican Civil War is now canceled." It isn't clear if his fellow Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, are listening. Scott is chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and in the memo, first obtained by Fox News, he writes that Democrats control the White House, Senate, and House, but Republicans have a path to victory in 2022. To win, the GOP must move on from the "impeachment show" and stop with the infighting, he said, adding that a Republican Civil War "does not need to be true, should not be true, and will not be true." While Scott wants unity, not all Republicans are on the same page. After Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the No. 3 House Republican, voted to impeach Trump last month, she was censured by the Wyoming Republican Party and asked to resign. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) voted to acquit Trump, but still said there is "no question that former President Trump bears responsibility" for the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. This remark roused Trump, who had been flying under the radar during the trial. He called McConnell a "dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack," and said if Republican senators "are going to stay with him, they will not win again. Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again." Three GOP senators are retiring in 2022 — Richard Burr (N.C.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), and Rob Portman (Ohio) — and Scott has said the NRSC will support the remaining incumbents from primary challenges. Trump is letting people know he isn't done with McConnell, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted Tuesday. Last week, Trump and former Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) met for golf and dinner, and people briefed on the day told Haberman "it did not go well." Trump reportedly had "retribution" on his mind, and was focused on McConnell and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R), who did not go along with Trump's plot to overturn Georgia's election results. Perdue had been contemplating running again in 2022, but said Tuesday he won't. Although no longer in office, Trump still has the support of a majority of Republicans. A Suffolk University/USA Today poll of 1,000 Trump supporters conducted last week found that 46 percent would ditch the Republican Party and join a Trump party if he started one, with 27 percent saying they wouldn't and the rest undecided. A majority said they had more loyalty to Trump than the GOP, and 50 percent said the Republican Party should become "more loyal to Trump." More stories from theweek.comThe MyPillow guy might be Trump's ultimate chumpLate night hosts laugh at Rudy Giuliani literally running from his $1.3 billion lawsuit, tie in CPACBruce Springsteen drunk driving charge dropped by prosecutors
The year-ago buzz around the Minnesota Twins created by signing Josh Donaldson to the franchise's richest free agent contract was quickly quelled by the global pandemic that pared down the schedule and emptied ballparks. Donaldson missed a full month, returned for the stretch run and aggravated the muscle right before the postseason. This spring training, the 35-year-old has a fresh start for what he and the team are optimistic about being a complete season of power hitting, patient at-bats and superb defense at the hot corner.