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By the time intelligence collected on overseas ISIS targets connected the men to the terror group, they had already been vetted by immigration authorities and allowed into the country, officials said. The men remain in federal custody on immigration charges and will eventually be deported following the counterterror investigation into them. US officials and analysts who closely track Islamist terror groups do know that ISIS-K has dramatically ramped up its online propaganda machine. But that’s not necessarily a reliable gauge of the number of actual terrorists who may be trying to enter the United States, US officials argue. Or they could belong to a legacy terror group — like the FARC — that isn’t known for conducting attacks on US soil.
Persons: , “ We’re, , Michael Morell, Christopher Wray, CNN Colin Clarke, ” Clarke, ” Republican Oklahoma Sen, James Lankford, noncitizens, that’s, Clarke, — it’s, ” Said, It’s Organizations: CNN, ISIS, FBI, ICE, Islamic, Crocus, US, Affairs, Foreign Affairs, ” Republican Oklahoma, Jordanian, US Marines Locations: Tajikistan, Central Asia, Afghanistan, Europe, Moscow, United States, al Qaeda, Syria, North America, Central, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Quantico
The goal for Hamas is to survive, these sources say — that would be victory for the group. Sinwar likely believes Hamas can hold out while Israel’s global standing deteriorates as the war in Gaza, which has killed thousands of civilians, continues. For US negotiators pursuing a ceasefire deal between Hamas and Israel, it’s a discouraging assessment. Both Sinwar and Hamas’ top military official, Mohammed Deif, are still alive. He was elected to Hamas’ main decision-making body, the Politburo, in 2017 as the political leader of Hamas in Gaza.
Persons: Yahya Sinwar, he’s, it’s, Antony Blinken, Blinken, Sinwar, ” Blinken, ” Sinwar, , John Kirby, Mohammed Deif, , Organizations: CNN, Biden, Street, National Security, , Hamas, European Council, Foreign Relations Locations: Gaza, Israel, Tel Aviv, Gulf, Qatar
CNN —US intelligence has learned of discussions between Houthis in Yemen to provide weapons to the Somali militant group al-Shabaab, in what three American officials described to CNN as a worrying development that threatens to further destabilize an already violent region. The Houthis are Zaydi Shiites, and al-Shabaab traditionally has been deeply ideologically opposed to Shiism. “Being able to sell some weapons would bring them much needed income,” the senior administration official said. But a weapons agreement between al-Shabaab and the Houthis would be something new, according to US officials. No matter what the Houthis provide, there’s likely limited opportunity for al-Shabaab to fire directly at US assets in the region.
Persons: ” It’s, Aden —, , Christopher Anzalone, , Anzalone, ” Anzalone, Biden, “ Don’t Organizations: CNN, Marine Corps, East Studies, , Somali, ISIS, US Locations: Houthis, Yemen, Somali, Shabaab, Somalia, Iran, al, Aden, United States, Gaza, Saudi Arabia, Tehran, Israel
Western-trained pilots can teach Chinese military personnel everything from air combat tactics to how to land on an aircraft carrier, according to a US official. Former western pilots — which number at least in the dozens — are training Chinese military officials who then return to China and, in turn, train more pilots there, this person said. An indictment in 2017 alleged that Duggan trained Chinese pilots while he was still a US citizen, between November 2009 and November 2012. That same month, the UK Ministry of Defense issued a security alert after several of its military pilots were also found to have been training the PLA Air Force. Last August, two US Navy sailors were arrested for allegedly sending sensitive military information to Chinese intelligence officers.
Persons: , , Michael Casey, Sabrina Singh, Adm, John Aquilino, Charles Q, Brown —, , ” Brown, Daniel Duggan, Duggan, Matt Olson Organizations: CNN, Western, Wednesday, Liberation Army, National Counterintelligence and Security Center, PLA, Pentagon, National Intelligence, ” Military, Former, US, Pacific Command, PLA Navy, PLA Air Force, , Air Force, NATO, People’s Liberation Army, Air Chiefs, US Marine, UK Ministry of Defense, Australian, Export Control, US Army, People’s Locations: China, Beijing, Taiwan, Western, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, United States, South Africa, Singapore, Laos, Australian, People’s Republic
One familiar name stood out to US officials: the new acting foreign minister, Ali Bagheri Kani. Just last week in Oman, Kani was part of a delegation of senior Iranian officials that met indirectly with US officials, current and former officials said. In the wake of the death of so many of his top officials, US officials believe that Khamenei will work to ensure that replacements adhere to his hardline worldview. “It’s difficult to see there will be any major changes in the way Iran behaves on the world stage,” a senior administration official said. In talks with Iranian officials in Oman last week, US officials once again laid out for their counterparts the consequences of Iran’s destabilizing actions, behavior and policies, according to the senior administration official and a US official.
Persons: Ali Bagheri Kani, Kani, Biden, Ebrahim Raisi, Ali Khamenei, Raisi, Jonathan Panikoff, ” Khamenei, Khamenei, , Panikoff, , Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Vahid, , Matt Miller Organizations: CNN, US, Supreme, Experts, Tehran ”, State Department Locations: Iran, United States, Oman, Gaza, Washington, Tehran, Israel, Kani
Officials said a US delegation will travel to Niger over the weekend to discuss how it will be carried out. “Niger is pretty profound in the decision of the government there … to have us depart or at least go to very low numbers,” Maier said. Since the coup in July, airspace has been closed over Niger to foreign militaries who have all had to submit individual requests for airspace to conduct military flights, one US official told CNN. A US military official explained that the withdrawal will come in phases over a period of months. The footprint will continue to shrink in phases as equipment and personnel not deemed necessary are moved out of country.
Persons: “ We’ll, ” Chris Maier, ” Maier, Michael Langley, , Organizations: CNN, Pentagon, US Africa Command, Russian Federation Locations: Niger, West African, “ Niger, Africa, Russia, United States, Chad, Russian, China, Israel
Throughout the week, US officials had urged Israel not to retaliate for Iran’s unprecedented attack five days prior, when hundreds of missiles and drones were fired from inside Iran at Israel. US intelligence has long assessed that neither Iran nor Israel has any appetite for an outright war. Iranian officials have stated publicly that Iran’s policy toward Israel has changed. Then, on April 1, an Israeli strike on what Iran claims was an embassy in Syria killed seven officials, including two senior Iranian commanders. “Israel and Iran are going to be starting higher on the escalatory ladder for every future moment of conflict and that is incredibly dangerous,” said Panikoff.
Persons: Biden, , Hossein, Israel’s, CNN’s Erin Burnett, Israel, Bill Burns, George W, , Frank McKenzie, ” McKenzie, Maher Al Mounes, Mohammed Reza Zahedi, Jonathan Panikoff, Seyyed Ali Khamenei, Khamenei, Karim Sadjadpour, Qassem Soleimani, Iran —, Iran messaged, Donald Trump, stridently, , McKenzie Organizations: CNN, Israel, Iran, US, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, CIA, Bush Presidential Center, Iranian, US Central Command, Getty, Lebanese Hezbollah, Iran’s, Carnegie Endowmernt Locations: Washington, Israel, Iran, Tehran, ” Iran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Dallas, Syria, Syria's, Damascus, AFP, Lebanese, Iran’s, Iraq
There is broad support in the Senate for Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and it will eventually be approved. We want to get FISA done as soon as we can, because it’s very important for our national security. So, both sides need to fully cooperate, if we want to get FISA done,” Schumer said on the floor. Under FISA’s Section 702, the government hoovers up massive amounts of internet and cell phone data on foreign targets. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also pressed for passage of FISA bill, which he said has a number of changes in it to address past “abuses” by the FBI.
Persons: Chuck Schumer, “ We’re, ” Schumer, Critics, Schumer, , Mitch McConnell, McConnell, Katie Bo Lillis Organizations: Washington CNN, Republicans, Foreign Intelligence, FISA, The New York Democrat, FBI, Kentucky Republican Locations: Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan
CNN —CIA Director Bill Burns on Thursday warned that unless US sends more military support, Ukraine could “lose” the war against Russia by the end of the year. His comments mark one of the starkest warnings to date from the Biden administration on the stakes in Ukraine as Congress debates whether to approve a long-delayed aid package to Kyiv. In an effort to satisfy divided factions of the GOP, some of whom support and some of whom oppose aid for Ukraine, he has split the legislation into separate bills and the Ukraine aid portion is expected to come up for a vote on Saturday night. That would still be deemed “a loss.”Burns detailed the dire need for basic ammunition that Ukraine faces on the battlefield. He recounted two battalions — 2,000-plus man units — that had “15 artillery rounds per day” and “a grand total of 42 mortar rounds,” respectively.
Persons: Bill Burns, , Biden, Burns, , George W, ” Burns, , Putin, Mike Johnson Organizations: CNN, CIA, US, Senate Intelligence Committee, — “, Bush, Israel, GOP, Ukraine Locations: Ukraine, Russia, Kyiv, — “ Ukraine, Israel, Moscow, Crimea, Ukrainian, Russian
Washington CNN —A bill that reauthorizes Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act cleared a procedural hurdle on Thursday, paving the way for its passage ahead of a looming Friday night deadline when the intelligence community surveillance tool expires. The test procedural vote passed 67-32, with a combination of liberals and conservatives voting against. It’s unclear if the renewal will happen before the law lapses on Friday. Under FISA’s Section 702, the government hoovers up massive amounts of internet and cellphone data on foreign targets. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court recently OK’d procedures for the program through April 2025, but if the authority lapses on Friday, it is possible that some US companies could refuse to provide the government with data under that certification.
Persons: , Chuck Schumer, Critics, Katie Bo Lillis Organizations: Washington CNN, Foreign Intelligence, FISA Locations: Ukraine
Chinese and Russian entitles have also been working jointly to produce drones inside of Russia, one of the officials said. And Russia’s rapidly expanding production of artillery rounds is due, in large part, to the nitrocellulose coming from China, officials said. The support from China is compensating for the significant setbacks that Russia’s defense industry experienced early in the Ukraine war due to US sanctions and export controls. The US has not seen any interruption to the ongoing Chinese support since that Biden-Xi phone call, though sometimes it takes time to see changes come to fruition. Earlier this month Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen delivered China a warning of “significant consequences” if Chinese companies provide support to Russia for the Ukraine war during her trip to the country.
Persons: , Chris Cavoli, Joe Biden, Xi Jinping, Antony Blinken, Biden, Xi, Vladimir Putin, Janet Yellen, Katie Bo Lillis Organizations: CNN, Ukraine, Biden, People’s, European Command, Russia Locations: China, Russia, Moscow, Ukraine, Kyiv, , People’s Republic of China, reconstituting, Europe
They scuttled House Speaker Mike Johnson’s plan to extend the FISA Section 702 program with minimal tweaks. It is true that the FBI obtained warrants through FISA to wiretap Carter Page, an adviser to Trump’s first presidential campaign. According to the National Security Agency, 60% of what appears in the Presidential Daily Brief has some data that comes from the 702 program. The 702 program has been updated in the years since its inception, including in 2018, to include new protections to minimize Americans’ communications from being accessed without a warrant. Additionally, these proposals would bar the government from sidestepping warrant requirements by simply buying the data of Americans from so-called data brokers.
Persons: CNN —, Donald Trump, , Mike Johnson’s, Carter, Trump’s, Trump, Read, Katie Bo Lillis, Johnson, Christopher Wray, , Leon Panetta Organizations: CNN, Foreign Intelligence, Trump, FISA, Republicans, FBI, Privacy, Civil, National Security Agency, Center for Justice, New York University, Brennan Center, Intelligence Community, National Intelligence, House, CIA, New Locations: Ukraine, Russia, Moscow, New York City
The Ukrainian military is “experiencing shortages in air defense munitions, mostly in the medium to long range,” a NATO official said on Wednesday. Last fall, the administration asked Congress for more than $60 billion in additional funds to help support Ukraine, but more than 6 months later the funding has not passed amid opposition from Republican lawmakers. And the separate shortages of artillery ammunition could be “potentially catastrophic” for Ukraine in the short term, the official added. The NATO official said that as of now, Russia appears to lack the necessary maneuver units to mount such a large-scale, successful attack. That is why they believe it is critical for the west to continue to support Ukraine through this period of attrition.
Persons: “ It’s, Jens Stoltenberg, , Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s, Olha Stefanishyna, Stoltenberg, Donald Trump, ” Stoltenberg, Kylie Atwood Organizations: CNN, NATO, Patriots, Republican, ” Energy, , Pentagon, Ukraine Contact Defense, Ukraine Locations: Russia, Ukrainian, Ukraine, Kyiv, Brussels, Avdiivka, Russian, Belarus
CNN —The Biden administration is close to approving the sale of as many as 50 American-made F-15 fighter jets to Israel, in a deal expected to be worth more than $18 billion, according to three people familiar with the matter. Since Hamas’ attack on Israel in October, which killed over 1,200 Israelis, the US has made more than 100 foreign military sales to Israel. Most of those have fallen under the specific dollar amount that requires a notification to Congress, an official familiar with the matter previously told CNN. A congressional aide told CNN that House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul has also approved the transaction to proceed to formal congressional notification. “What you hear about the frustrations within the administration over the Israel policy, it is real,” one US diplomat told CNN on condition of anonymity.
Persons: CNN —, Biden, Sen, James Risch, Michael McCaul, Ben Cardin, Greg Meeks, Biden administration’s, Joe Biden’s, , , Israel won’t, Josh Paul, Matthew Miller, Israel what’s, Pat Ryder, ” Steven Katz, Katz Organizations: CNN, Hamas, Biden, Democratic, House Foreign Affairs, Foreign, State Department, Republican, Senate Foreign Relations, House Foreign, Congressional Research Service, UN, The State Department, State Department’s Bureau, Political, Military Affairs, , Pentagon, Army, Defense, U.S, National Intelligence Locations: Israel, Gaza, State, Washington , DC, United States, “ Israel, Iran
Some current and former CIA officers have raised concerns that a CIA task force in charge of investigating Havana syndrome soft-pedaled its investigation, CNN has previously reported. The control group was small and not perfectly matched to those with Havana syndrome. In the second study, researchers tested hearing, balance, eyesight and neuropsychological state, and they looked at blood biomarkers, in the two groups. Headache was a common concern among the participants with Havana syndrome. The study concluded that whatever caused Havana syndrome seems to create symptoms “without persistent or detectable physiologic changes.
Persons: David Relman, don’t, ” Relman, , AHIs, Relman, Trump, , Dr, Sanjay Gupta, ” Dr, Leighton Chan Organizations: CNN, National Institutes of Health, Stanford, CIA, AHIs, CNN Health, NIH Locations: Havana, Cuban, Bogota, Colombia, Vienna, Austria
CNN —The US intelligence community assesses Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “viability as a leader” to be “in jeopardy,” according to its annual report on the national security threats facing the United States that was presented to Congress on Monday. The intelligence report notes that the Israeli population broadly supports the destruction of Hamas. It offers an around-the-world unclassified snapshot of how the intelligence community views the panoply of national security threats facing the United States. Beijing, according to the report, has more than tripled its export of goods with potential military use to Russia since Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine in 2022. China has provided “economy and security assistance to Russia’s war in Ukraine through support to Russia’s defense industrial base, including by providing dual-use material and components for weapons,” the report states.
Persons: Benjamin Netanyahu’s, , ” Netanyahu, Joe Biden, Biden, Netanyahu, Israel, , Chris Wray, I’ve, ” Wray, Sen, Mark Warner of, Republican Sen, Jim Risch of, ” Warner, ” Risch, “ I’ve, National Intelligence Avril Haines, Bill Burns, Burns, Ukraine “, you’re, ” Burns Organizations: CNN, ISIS, Hamas, Senate, Congressional, Republican, Warner, Democratic, National Intelligence, CIA Locations: United States, Israel, Gaza, Mark Warner of Virginia, Jim Risch of Idaho, Ukraine, Russia, Beijing, Moscow, China
“What we are in now is a production war,” a senior NATO official told CNN. “The number one issue that we’re watching right now is the munitions,” the NATO official said. There is also a limit to Russian production capacity, officials say: Russian factories will likely hit a peak sometime in the next year. “If we were talking about this last fall, we would have talked about how they were targeting critical infrastructure,” the NATO official said. “In the short term — say, the next 18 months or so — it may be unsophisticated, but it’s a durable economy,” the NATO official said.
Persons: , Abrams, , — “, Joe Biden, Inna Varenytsia, it’s, Putin’s, Steven Basham, “ It’s, Maxym, Russia’s ‘, Basham Organizations: CNN, Army, NATO, , Reuters, Ukraine, European Command, US Army, ” Intelligence, US European Command, Pentagon Locations: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukrainian, Avdiivka, that’s, Iran, North Korea, Kreminna, Germany, Pennsylvania , Iowa, Texas, Moscow, Tehran, Bohorodychne, Donetsk, Russian
CNN —The Defense Department is analyzing a balloon discovered by fishermen off the coast of Alaska last week to determine whether it was a spy balloon, a spokesperson told CNN. Upon reviewing photographs taken by the fishermen, officials became concerned it could be another spy balloon, and FBI agents went to meet the boat when it returned to port. But the FBI determined that it was similar enough in appearance to a foreign government-owned surveillance balloon that it warranted further investigation. The existence of high-altitude surveillance balloons burst into US consciousness last year, when a Chinese spy balloon appeared to blow off course and transited across the continental US. The US assessed that the spy balloon was part of an extensive surveillance program run by the Chinese military, as CNN reported at the time.
Persons: Sue Gough, , ” Gough, Biden Organizations: CNN, The Defense Department, Joint Base Elmendorf, Defense Department, FBI Locations: Alaska, Richardson, China, Taiwan, Beijing
CNN —Commercial fishermen off the coast of Alaska have found what officials are concerned could be another spy balloon and are bringing it to shore with them, three sources familiar with the matter told CNN. The existence of high-altitude surveillance balloons burst into US consciousness last year, when a Chinese spy balloon appeared to blow off course and transited across the continental US. The US assessed that the spy balloon was part of an extensive surveillance program run by the Chinese military, as CNN reported at the time. There were three additional shootdowns of unidentified high-altitude objects in the weeks following the Chinese balloon incident. NORAD later said in a statement that the balloon was “likely a hobby balloon” that posed no threat.
Persons: Biden, Trump, Glen VanHerck, CNN’s Hannah Rabinowitz Organizations: CNN —, CNN, FBI, Northern Command, North American Aerospace Defense Command, NORAD, Pentagon Locations: Alaska, Quantico , Virginia, China, Taiwan, Beijing, United, American
“They continue to surprise us,” said one senior defense official, referring to the Houthis. Officials also believe Iran instructed the groups to back off the attacks following the US strikes. The issue is becoming more acute, especially given the notable increase in Houthi attacks over the last two days. At the same time, the Houthis also crave international legitimacy, officials said, and want to be recognized as the official Yemeni government. Still, there are no signs yet that Iran is actively withholding support from the Houthis, officials said.
Persons: CNN —, Biden, , Sabrina Singh, , , Marc Miguez, Israel, Privately, Matthew Miller, Singh, ” Singh Organizations: CNN, Pentagon, Central Command, Carrier Strike, Yemeni, Saudi, State Department, US, Prosperity Locations: Iran, Yemen, Gulf, Aden, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Baghdad, Gaza, Israel, Red, Oman, Bahrain
The weapon is still under development and is not yet in orbit, Biden administration officials have emphasized publicly. But Russia has recently made progress in its efforts to develop a nuclear EMP — a related but far more alarming technology. This would almost certainly be “a last-ditch weapon” for Russia, the US official and other sources said — because it would do the same damage to whatever Russian satellites were also in the area. According to those sources, the intelligence community is now scrambling to figure out how to preserve its access. Russia has withdrawn from several arms control treaties in recent years, leaving the post-Cold War arms control architecture all but gutted.
Persons: Mike Turner of, Joe Biden, Turner, Biden, , John Kirby, , ” Kirby Organizations: CNN, Republican, House Intelligence, The Defense Department, National Security, National Intelligence, Defense Department, National Security Council, Pentagon, Capitol, Biden Locations: Russia, , Mike Turner of Ohio, Washington, Russian, Earth, America, Ukraine, Moscow
Washington CNN —The White House on Thursday confirmed that the national security threat flagged by the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee the previous day is related to “an anti-satellite capability that Russia is developing,” but sought to soothe concerns about the danger it presents to the United States. “This is not an active capability that’s been deployed,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Thursday. “There was notifications from the intelligence community that made it just clearer now than before,” Crenshaw said. “This was just the time.”The post from Turner called on President Joe Biden to declassify “all information” related to the threat. Kirby said the US intelligence community had “serious concerns” about a broad declassification of intelligence related to the threat.
Persons: that’s, John Kirby, ” Kirby, Mike Turner of, Turner, Matt Gaetz, , Andy Ogles, Ogles, Kirby, Donald Trump, Dan Crenshaw, Crenshaw, ” Crenshaw, Joe Biden, declassify, Biden, Hans Kristensen, CNN’s Morgan Rimmer, Oren Liebermann, Katie Bo Lillis Organizations: Washington CNN, House Intelligence, ” National Security, House Intelligence Committee, Republican, Turner, Ukraine, Russia, Reuters, GOP, Intelligence, Texas Rep, Federation of American, CNN, 2022 Defense Intelligence Agency Locations: Russia, United States, Mike Turner of Ohio, Florida, , Tennessee, Ukraine, Russian
CNN —House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner has made intelligence around a “serious national security threat” available to all members of Congress to review. Two sources familiar with the matter and a US official tell CNN the threat is related to Russia. “That’s been on the books. He declined to elaborate on the nature of the threat. “I’m not in a position to say anything further from this podium at this time,” he said.
Persons: Mike Turner, Turner, ” Turner, Joe Biden, declassify, Jake Sullivan, , ” Sullivan, “ That’s, “ I’m, , Biden Organizations: CNN — House, CNN, House Intelligence, ” National Locations: Russia, United States
In January, high-ranking North Korean and Russian diplomats met in Moscow in advance of what North Korean state media says is a forthcoming visit to Pyongyang by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself — his first in more than 20 years. Trade with Russia could also further weaken the sanctions regime the US has placed on North Korea, also accelerating its economy and potentially bolstering its arms development program. As always with North Korea, deciphering how the hermit kingdom may respond is like reading chicken bones. For weeks, a blog post on an influential North Korea watchers website written by two former analysts circulated within the US government. If anything, some analysts believe, North Korea’s public statements signal that North Korea is abandoning its reunification policy in pursuit of peace on the peninsula.
Persons: Kim Jong, Vladimir Putin, , Biden, Jake Sullivan, Kim, , , ” Jeffrey Lewis, Lewis, ” Lewis, Sydney Seiler, Seiler, ” Kim doesn’t, “ That’s, “ Kim, it’s, We’re, ” Seiler, we’ll Organizations: CNN, North, Russia, Intelligence, White House, DPRK, Democratic People’s, Middlebury Institute of International Studies, North Korean, National Intelligence Council, US Locations: North Korea, Washington, South Korea, Russia, Moscow, Pyongyang, Russian, Korea, Democratic People’s Republic, Soviet Union, United States, North, China, Beijing, Japan, Korean
CNN —A female CIA trainee who claims she was sexually assaulted in a stairwell at CIA headquarters in 2022 and is now suing the agency alleging intimidation has been fired, her lawyer said on Thursday. She was then given 90 days to find another job within the agency or be terminated. According to Carroll, the trainee is a highly qualified project manager who speaks multiple languages, including Russian and Ukrainian. The suit comes as the CIA continues to face scrutiny on Capitol Hill over its handling of sexual harassment and sexual assault cases. A CIA spokesperson declined to discuss the specifics of the case at the time, citing the litigation.
Persons: Tammy Thorp, ” Thorp, Kevin Carroll —, Carroll, Thorp Organizations: CNN, CIA, House Intelligence Committee, House Intelligence, Capitol, Court, IMs Locations: , Virginia, Fairfax County
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