Happy Tuesday! We can’t count the number of times in recent years we’ve heard people yearn for the halcyon days of Edward Murrow, Tom Brokaw, or Walter Cronkite, when Americans of all political persuasions could coalesce around a shared set of facts.
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
- Ukrainian officials said Monday morning the country’s air defenses shot down at least two dozen Iranian-made drones over Kyiv in one of the largest drone attacks yet in Russia’s recent aerial offensive. Falling debris injured at least five people in the Ukrainian capital, and several more were wounded in concurrent attacks on the Black Sea port city of Odessa.
- Iran hanged two men Monday convicted of blasphemy for their involvement in a channel called “Critique of Superstition and Religion” on the Telegram messaging app. The two men, Yousef Mehrad and Sadrollah Fazeli Zare, were arrested in May 2020 and subjected to months of solitary confinement. The hangings—rare in blasphemy cases—come amid a surge of executions by the Iranian regime.
- House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul threatened in a letter on Friday to hold Secretary of State Antony Blinken in contempt of Congress if he does not comply with the panel’s subpoena for information about the Biden administration’s 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan. McCaul is seeking an internal dissent cable reportedly sent by 23 State Department officials in July 2021 warning of the potential collapse of Kabul if the withdrawal proceeded.
- The man who drove his SUV into a group of people at a Brownsville, Texas bus stop over the weekend—killing eight people and injuring 10—was charged with eight counts of manslaughter and 10 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, Brownsville Police Chief Felix Sauceda said Monday. The 34-year-old defendant has an extensive criminal record, which includes charges of assault and driving under the influence. Police are awaiting the results of a toxicology report to determine if the suspect was intoxicated.
Threats, Threats Everywhere
A quick skim of the intelligence community’s “Annual Threat Assessment” is liable to leave you hiding wide-eyed under the covers. After perusing this year’s 40-page litany of dangers foreign and domestic, Sen. Angus King of Maine had some advice for reporters: “Don’t read it just before you go to sleep.”
Even read over morning coffee, the report offers a disquieting account of how a growing list of foes are already—or could soon be—undermining the United States’ national interests. Lawmakers pressed top intelligence officials for more details at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Thursday, focusing on China and Russia while calling for more attention on drug trafficking and voicing concerns about reauthorizing an intelligence collection authority agencies have used to access U.S. citizens’ information.