FBI surveillance » FBI Director Christopher Wray says when it comes to the current threat level of a terrorist attack in the United States. He’s never seen anything like it.
WRAY: I have never seen a time where so many of the threats are all elevated, all at exactly the same time.
He said the threat level has jumped since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.
Wray testified before a Senate panel urging lawmakers to reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The counterterrorism program is slated to expire at the end of the year.
WRAY: 702 allows us to stay a step ahead of foreign actors located outside the United States who pose a threat to national security.
But Americans could be spied on incidentally — without a warrant, if they’re in contact with a targeted foreigner.
Republican Sen. Mike Lee cited documented alleged abuses of surveillance power. And he said for years, he’s pressed numerous FBI directors for civil rights assurances.
LEE: Every darn one of them has told me the same thing: ‘Don’t worry about it. We’ve got this taken care of. We’ve got new procedures. It’s going to be different now.’ It’s never different. You haven’t changed.
But Wray argued that allowing the program, created in the wake of 9/11 to expire would be “devastating” to US national security.
Gaza » Israel’s ground war against Hamas has entered a bloody new phase with troops now fighting in Khan Younis…Gaza’s second-largest city.
The Israeli military says it’s engaged in the most intense fighting since the start of the war.
But that also means more civilians caught in the crossfire.
And UNICEF spokesman James Elder says there can be only one solution:
ELDER: Only a ceasefire. Only a ceasefire is going to save the children of Gaza right now.
That call comes even as Israeli authorities release new information about Hamas atrocities.
AUDIO: [Speaking Hebrew]
This eyewitness describes seeing a woman raped and physically mutilated by Hamas on October 7th.
President Biden said he’s heard the shocking stories from recently released hostages … and called the terror group’s actions “appalling.”
Campus antisemitism » Harvard President Claudine Gay told a House committee:
College presidents from Harvard to MIT say they’re doing what they can to combat a recent rise in anti-Semitism on their campuses.
GAY: We have increased security measures expanded reporting channels and augmented counseling mental health and support services.
But students from several universities also gathered on Capitol Hill yesterday to say their administrations are not doing enough.
STUDENT: Today, in 2023, at NYU, I hear calls to gas the Jews, and I'm told that Hitler was right
Pro-Palestinian demonstrations have spiked on college campuses since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.
Rights groups have also reported an increase in harassment against Muslims in America.
Speaker Johnson on Ukraine aid/border security » Lawmakers continue to argue over aid to Ukraine. The debate is over the terms of that aid.
House Speaker Mike Johnson said Congress must address the crisis on the U.S. southern border before approving more money for Ukraine.
JOHNSON: We have to affect real policy change at the border, and that is a necessary condition to anything we do going forward.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Olivia Dalton says President Biden is willing to talk with Republicans about border and immigration policies. But …
DALTON: What we cannot do is delay on funding our critical national security needs… which by the way, includes a request from the president to fund border security and stem the flow of fentanyl into the country. which by the way, includes a request from the president to fund border security and stem the flow of fentanyl into the country which by the way, includes a request from the president to fund border security and stem the flow of fentanyl into the country.
Biden is pushing Congress to approve a $106 billion dollar security package. Most of that would fund wartime assistance for Israel and Ukraine. It does include nearly $14 billion for the border.
But Republicans say that won’t cut it without major policy shifts, including restarting construction on the border wall and tightening asylum rules.
Tuberville » Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville says he’s dropping his blockade on hundreds of military promotions.
Tuberville held up the promotions for months to pressure the Pentagon to stop using taxpayer dollars to cover abortion-related travel expenses for servicemembers.
Tuberville told reporters:
TUBERVILLE: It was pretty much a draw I mean they didn't get what they wanted we didn't get what we wanted and you know when they change the rules it's hard to win.
He’s largely lifting the blockade, but will continue to block promotions above the rank of 3-star general.
Biden fundraising » President Biden is making one last push this year to raise money for his reelection campaign.
GOP debate preview » Meantime, Republican White House hopefuls are gearing up for the fourth Republican debate of the year tonight, this time in western Alabama.
Once again, frontrunner Donald Trump will not participate. But four GOP rivals will: Gov. Ron DeSantis, former governors Nikki Haley and Chris Christie and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy.
NewsNation will host the debate at 8pm Eastern. And it’ll stream on the social media platform Rumble.
I'm Kent Covington.
Straight ahead: Foreign aid and George Santos on Washington Wednesday. Plus, World Tour.
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