SCOOP: CIA Director Bill Burns warns Russian spies of “consequences” if they are behind “Havana Syndrome” incidents 1/…
The CIA chief told his counterparts at the FSB and SRV that causing debilitating aliments among U.S. personnel and their family members would be beyond the pale for a “professional intelligence service,” during his visit to Moscow earlier this month 2/
The fact that Burns formulated the warning by saying “if” suggests that after four years of investigations across multiple administrations, the U.S. government remains unable to determine a cause of the unusual incidents. 3/
But the spy chief’s decision to raise the possibility of Russian involvement directly to his counterparts in Moscow underscores the deep suspicion the CIA has of Kremlin culpability 4/

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More from @John_Hudson

31 Aug
A wild scoop: A GOP lawmaker has been trying to travel to *Taliban-controlled Afghanistan* in a rogue evacuation mission despite efforts by the Pentagon & State Dept to discourage him. Officials are unsure of his current whereabouts. From @tylerpager & me…
Rep. Markwayne Mullin’s exploits are notable. He phoned the US ambassador to Tajikistan from Tbilisi saying he needed the diplomat’s help bringing a huge amount of cash into Tajikistan en route to Afghanistan, per officials. The embassy said no; Mullin was outraged, they said.
“To say this is extremely dangerous is a massive understatement,” said a State Department official aware of Mullin’s attempts to enter Afghanistan
Read 6 tweets
24 Aug
SCOOP: CIA Director Bill Burns held a secret meeting with Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar in Kabul on Monday, the highest-level face-to-face encounter between the Taliban and Biden administration since the militants seized the Afghan capital 1/…
It's quite the tete-a-tete. Biden’s spymaster is also his most seasoned diplomat. For Baradar, playing counterpart to a CIA director comes with a tinge of irony 11 years after the spy agency arrested him in a joint CIA-Pakistani operation that put him in prison for 8 years 2/
The CIA declined to comment on the secret meeting (as it always does when asked about the director's foreign travel) but the Burns-Baradar chat likely involved the looming deadline for the US to conclude its evacuation. Also a great chance for Burns to size up the Taliban chief
Read 4 tweets
19 Jul
NEW: The phone number of Biden’s Iran deal negotiator Rob Malley was among the list of 50,000 phone numbers obtained by the Pegasus project, which includes journalists and human rights activists infected with spyware by the Israeli firm NSO 1/…
NSO denies that its spyware could be used against Malley and says its technology is only used against bad actors such as criminals and terrorists. But the Pegasus project found that victims of the spyware included journalists, human rights workers, etc 2/
Malley still uses the phone number on the list. He declined to comment. A State Dept official said “We do not discuss security protocols, procedures or capabilities. We cannot comment on the specific details of any threats to our personnel or the steps we take to address them” 3/
Read 5 tweets
21 Jan
SCOOP: Biden will seek a five-year extension with Russia on New START, a critical nuclear arms treaty that expires in 15 days. Biden is also preparing to impose costs on Russia pending an intel community assessment of recent Russian actions 1/…
Biden is ordering DNI Avril Haines to provide a full intelligence assessment of Russia’s alleged interference in the 2020 election, use of chemical weapons against Alexei Navalny, and bounties on US soldiers in Afghanistan, and SolarWinds officials said. 2/
Following the ODNI reports, the Biden team "will use these assessments to inform our response to Russian aggression in the coming weeks,” said a senior U.S. official. 3/
Read 8 tweets
10 Dec 20
Scoop: After coming under heavy fire from Pompeo, the State Department’s watchdog is leaving his job tomorrow, citing the Vacancies Reform Act. His departure is “a little bit earlier than I had anticipated,” he says in memo obtained by @washingtonpost…
The watchdog office has had incredibly strained relations with Pompeo ever since he orchestrated the firing of the office’s longtime leader Steve Linick in mid-May, calling him a “bad actor” who wasn’t a team player ...
Linick was succeeded by Stephen Akard, who served less than three months after coming under congressional scrutiny for alleged conflicts of interest and close ties to Vice President Pence. Klimow’s tenure is now also ending after roughly three months.
Read 6 tweets
2 Dec 20
Scoop: Pompeo and his wife are hosting multiple holiday parties (one on the 8th floor of the State Dept with more than 900 invitees & food & drinks). At the same time, Pompeo’s subordinates are warned against meetings for “non-mission critical events.”…
“I’m flabbergasted,” said Ian Lipkin, director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University. “An indoor event of this kind is dangerous on so many levels.”
A State Department spokesman said “we plan to fully enforce social distancing measures at this reception, and face coverings are mandatory for admittance.” He didn't respond to questions about masks coming off to consume the food/drink that will be served
Read 4 tweets

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