💰 U.S. funds terror-plagued regions,
🕵️♂️ Biden resists limiting government surveillance,
🏫 American universities funded by Middle East🔒,
And everything else you need to know.
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Team Biden embraces spying on Americans
What’s happening: A bipartisan bill in the House and Senate would greatly limit the federal government’s ability to surveil Americans. President Joe Biden’s administration rushed to condemn the legislation as “unprecedented” and “detrimental” to national security.
The debate: The Biden administration wants Congress to renew Section 270 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a 9/11-era measure set to expire in December. However, a coalition of Republicans and Democrats want to gut Section 270’s power by now requiring judicial warrants for most surveillance activities.
Why it matters: The vast spying bureaucracy that emerged after the 9/11 attacks — originally meant to address foreign enemies — has been used on Americans, raising concerns across the aisle.
Partisan abuse: The FBI famously skirted FISA rules to spy on former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. And the Biden administration has illegally surveilled thousands of Trump supporters, though it insists its spying powers are to counter foreign threats.
Recent history: Recall Biden’s Justice Department has labeled parents who voice their concern about their kid’s education as possible domestic terrorists, and one FBI office even investigated Catholics who worship in Latin and take their faith seriously.
What can they see? The intelligence community can already obtain private messages and emails or purchase sensitive online data without warrants. Even then, courts frequently cite the government for violating its own surveillance rules, lawmakers have noted.
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WHAT WE'RE WATCHING
📄 House Speaker’s spending bill draws bipartisan criticism. New legislation from House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) would prevent a government shutdown this month — but only until early next year. Johnson aims to split up different spending issues instead of pushing one giant “omnibus” bill. The White House considers this strategy dysfunctional, while Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) demands spending cuts.
👋 Manchin announces retirement, threatening Senate Democrats’ power. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) will not seek reelection in 2024, leaving a deep-red district that Democrats are highly unlikely to win again. By itself, the loss of his Senate seat to a Republican would put the parties at a 50-50. Whoever becomes vice president would break the tie.
💰 Biden funds border wall repairs, upgrades. Newly released documents show the Biden administration putting $950 million toward border walls in California, Texas, and Arizona. Its goal is to repair and add features such as “detection technology” to monitor illegal migration. Biden previously promised not to build “another foot” of border wall and began selling unused parts of it this year.
🔎 Democrats want “transparency” on Biden’s Israel aid. President Biden has kept the details of weapon transfers to Israel under seal, drawing criticism from Democrats who want “the same transparency” demanded of Ukraine aid. The Biden administration argues it does not have to disclose the information “due to Israel’s urgent need” as it asks Congress to fund more of the aid.
WHAT WE’RE HEARING
Trump’s legal team demanded in a court filing that his federal election conspiracy trial be televised, though the law does not permit this.
Democrats are working to get pro-abortion measures on the 2024 ballot in states such as Arizona, Florida, and Nevada after Ohio enshrined abortion in its constitution.
State Secretary Antony Blinken ramps up pressure on Israel, saying it has killed “far too many” Palestinian civilians in response to Hamas.
How much U.S. aid goes to terrorists?
What’s happening: President Joe Biden’s administration admitted this month that humanitarian aid to Palestinians is likely to be stolen or diverted by terrorist groups. This comes after the government shipped off $100 million in aid to Gaza and the West Bank amid the Israel-Hamas war.
How it works: The federal government relies on United Nations workers and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to deliver the resources on the ground. This is nearly impossible without interacting with “armed groups” that control the regions, the U.S. Agency for International Development warned.
Why it matters: The U.S. has known for years that sending resources to terror-plagued regions is a dangerous gamble. Biden still claims it’s necessary — even as his administration faces a lawsuit for it.
The case: The Palestinian Authority is known to use aid money to sponsor terror attacks. While acknowledging this, the Biden administration sent hundreds of millions of dollars to the P.A. despite a federal law clearly listing it as ineligible for funds.
It doesn’t stop there: The administration has also sent billions in taxpayer dollars to Afghanistan, knowing that the Taliban — which the U.S. fought for about 20 years — “benefits” from and interferes with the aid.
Going forward: Biden promises that the aid to Gaza and the West Bank will stop “if Hamas diverts or steals” it.
Taxpayer-funded universities take billions from the Middle East
Large gifts from such states might have something to do with antisemitism on campus.
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POLL RESULTS FROM FRIDAY
Do you think a terrorist attack in the U.S. could still happen?
⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ 🤔 Unsure (14)
👍 Yes: “Porous southern border makes for easy access.” — Irvin
🤔 Unsure: “Terrorism should be shamed, not normalized.” — Cindy
IN THE LOOP
The Ukrainian military helped orchestrate the Nord Stream pipeline bombing, the Washington Post reported, citing European officials and other anonymous sources.
Jill Stein announced her 2024 presidential candidacy for the progressive Green Party.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) has dropped out of the 2024 presidential race.
The FBI seized New York City Mayor Eric Adams’s iPad and phones last week as part of an investigation into whether his campaign colluded with Turkey, his layer revealed Friday.
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