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A curated weekday guide to major national security news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.
Arrests and criminal charges were made in five cases involving sanctions evasion and technology espionage linked to Russia, China, and Iran, the Biden administration announced yesterday. The cases range from shipping aviation parts to Russia, stealing Apple’s autonomous vehicle technology, and attempting to send weapons technology to Iran. The announcement was made by a new “technology strike force,” established in February, which aims to protect critical American technology or data from theft by hostile nations. Ana Swanson reports for the New York Times.
James Clapper Jr., the former director of national intelligence, who will testify behind closed doors on Capitol Hill today, will be the sixth former intelligence official to be hauled before Congress concerning a letter he signed regarding Hunter Biden’s laptop. Republicans are questioning some of the 51 former intelligence officials who signed a letter during the 2020 election campaign, which Republicans say was designed to distract from salacious material found on the abandoned laptop of Hunter Biden. The letter suggested that the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop could be part of a Russian campaign to influence the election, even though they emphasized that they had no knowledge that was true. Luke Broadwater reports for the New York Times.
The Secret Service is investigating how a man entered the home of National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan about two weeks ago without being detected by agents guarding Sullivan’s house, according to three government officials. Sullivan confronted the individual and instructed him to leave. According to people briefed on the incident, there is no evidence that the intruder knew Sullivan or sought to harm him. No arrest was possible, as the intruder left the scene before the Secret Service was alerted. Carol D. Leonnig and Tyler Pager report for the Washington Post.
A Russian national, Mikhail Pavlovich Matveev, has been charged and sanctioned for using three ransomware variants to conduct cyberattacks on critical U.S. infrastructure, the Department of Justice announced yesterday. If convicted, he faces over 20 years in prison. Olafimihan Oshin reports for The Hill.
Democrats yesterday moved to force a vote on removing Representative George Santos (R-NY). The measure has little chance of passage in the Republican-led House, where it would require a two-thirds supermajority to pass. However, the vote would press Republicans to either endorse or abandon Santos, who has been charged with wire fraud, money laundering, stealing public funds, and lying to the government. Annie Karni reports for the New York Times.
Joshua Matthew Black, an Alabama man, was sentenced yesterday to nearly two years in prison for his part in the Jan. 6 attack, including entering the Senate with a knife. “Black was a notorious offender during the attack on the Capitol,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing. A police officer shot Black in his left cheek with a crowd-control munition outside the Capitol shortly before Black entered the Senate. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced Black to 22 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release. Michael Kunzelman reports for AP News.
The chief executive of ChatGPT creator OpenAI, Sam Altman, called on Congress yesterday to create licensing and safety standards for advanced artificial intelligence systems. Altman called for “a new agency that licenses any effort above a certain scale of capabilities and could take that license away and ensure compliance with safety standards.” Ryan Tracy reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman this week said Space Force’s mission statement needs to be improved. The statement needs to reflect the full scope of the service’s important work and be more memorable, Saltzman has said in a note to all Guardians. To fix the problem, Saltzman is asking Guardians to send in their submissions for a new mission statement. Lee Hudson reports for POLITICO.
President Biden has canceled his trip to Australia and Papua New Guinea to focus on a deal with Republicans to prevent the U.S. from defaulting on its debt. Biden’s decision has forced the cancellation of the Quad summit in Sydney, which is likely a win for China. “[Biden’s canceled trip] will be seen in the region as a self-inflicted wound caused by political polarisation in Washington that does not reflect well on America’s reliability as a partner,” said Daniel Russel, a former U.S. assistant secretary of state for east Asian and Pacific affairs who is now at the Asia Society Policy Institute. Daniel Hurst reports for the Guardian.
Former President Trump is considered a “laughing fool” by world leaders, Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton, told CNN on Tuesday. Bolton named the Russian, Chinese, and North Korean leaders in particular. Matt Berg reports for POLITICO.
Ukraine today denied that a Russian hypersonic missile had destroyed a U.S.-made Patriot missile defense system. Russia’s defense ministry made the assertion yesterday after an overnight air attack on Kyiv. Reuters reports.
The U.S. is assessing potential damage to a Patriot missile defense system sustained during a Russian air attack on Kyiv, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said. Kirby said he could not confirm reports that a Patriot system had been damaged but acknowledged that weapons supplied by the U.S. have often been damaged in the fighting or worn out. “If there was damage done … we would certainly assist…” Kirby added. Ian Lovett, Drew Hinshaw, and Nancy A. Youssef report for the Wall Street Journal.
The CIA’s semipublic campaign to convince Russian officials disaffected by the war in Ukraine to spy for Washington has borne fruit, a CIA official said this week. The official did not provide details of how many would-be Russian agents responded or what information they were in a position to provide. Warren P. Strobel reports for the Wall Street Journal.
South Korea signed an agreement with Ukraine today to provide a $130 million financial aid package. The agreement was reached a day after Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, met South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol to request military assistance. Reuters reports.
Six African leaders are to travel to Russia and Ukraine in a bid to find an end to the conflict, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy agreed to the plan, Ramaphosa said. “I presented the initiative on behalf of African heads of state from Zambia, Senegal, Congo, Uganda, Egypt, and South Africa,” he added. Wycliffe Muia and Basillioh Rukanga report for BBC News.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un yesterday examined a finished military spy satellite, which his country is expected to launch soon. Some South Korean analysts say the satellite shown in North Korean state media photos appears too small and crudely designed to support high-resolution imagery. Kim Tong-hyung reports for AP News.
Two personnel from the U.S. consulate and two police officers were killed as gunmen attacked a U.S. convoy in Nigeria. Three others were kidnapped before their vehicle was set on fire. No U.S. citizens were in the convoy. Wycliffe Muia and Basillioh Rukanga report for BBC News.