Day 751: "Brazen."
1/ The Chinese spy balloon carried antennas and sensors for collecting intelligence and communications. The Pentagon, State Department, and FBI said China’s military-led spy balloon program was part of an effort to surveil “more than 40 countries across five continents.” While still in the air, American U-2 flybys captured high-resolution images of the Chinese balloon showed is was equipped with “multiple antennas to include an array likely capable of collecting and geolocating communications,” which were “clearly for intelligence surveillance and inconsistent with the equipment on board weather balloons.” The manufacturer of the balloon has a direct relationship with the Chinese military. (Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg)
2/ The House passed a resolution condemning China for its “brazen violation of United States sovereignty.” The resolution passed 419-0, after House Republicans initially tried but failed to symbolically rebuke Biden’s response to the balloon. The measure also calls on the Biden administration to provide additional briefings to members of Congress surrounding the balloon’s entry into U.S. airspace and decision-making process around downing the balloon. (Associated Press / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / Politico)
3/ Russia suggested that its U.S. relations are in a state of “unprecedented crisis.” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov argued that the U.S. supplying Ukraine with weapons leaves no room for diplomacy and “has driven them into a deadlock.” Ryabkov also blamed the U.S. for the explosions that damaged the Nord Stream pipelines, threatening of unspecified “consequences” from Moscow for the “disgusting crime.” An investigation into the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipeline ruptures detected explosive residue and concluded the cause was “grievous sabotage.” (Associated Press / Bloomberg)
4/ North Korea displayed nearly a dozen advanced intercontinental ballistic missiles – reportedly enough to overwhelm U.S. missile defense systems. Images from state-run media show North Korea’s military parading at least 11 Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missiles down the streets of Pyongyang. The weapon is North Korea’s largest intercontinental ballistic missile and has the potential to reach the continental U.S. Pyongyang, however, hasn’t been able to demonstrate the warhead’s ability to survive reentry. A nuclear policy expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace suggested that eleven ICBMs could be enough to overwhelm the 44 ground-based interceptors the U.S. can launch from Alaska and California to destroy an oncoming ICBM in flight. (Politico / Reuters / CNN / Washington Post / ABC News / New York Times)
5/ The Supreme Court discussed, but failed to agree an ethics code of conduct. Although the nine justices say they voluntarily comply with the same guidelines that apply to other federal judges, internal discussions about adopting a formal code of ethics date back at least to 2019 and have failed to produce agreement. The justices have maintained that they can’t be bound by all of the rules that apply to lower court judges because of the unique role the Constitution assigns the Supreme Court. (Washington Post / CNN)
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