It may be months before American intelligence agencies can compare the audacious flight of a Chinese surveillance balloon across the country to other intrusions on America’s national security systems, to determine how it ranks.
After all, there is plenty of competition.
There was the theft of the designs of the F-35 about 15 years ago, enabling the Chinese air force to develop its own look-alike stealth fighter, with Chinese characteristics. There was the case of China’s premier hacking team lifting the security clearance files for 22 million Americans from the barely secured computers of the Office of Personnel Management in 2015. That, combined with stolen medical files from Anthem and travel records from Marriott hotels, has presumably helped the Chinese create a detailed blueprint of America’s national security infrastructure.
But for pure gall, there was something different about the balloon. It became the subject of public fascination as it floated over nuclear silos of Montana, then was spotted near Kansas City and met its cinematic end when a Sidewinder missile took it down over shallow waters off the coast of South Carolina. Not surprisingly, now it is coveted by military and intelligence officials who desperately want to reverse-engineer whatever remains the Coast Guard and the Navy can recover.
Yet beyond the made-for-cable-news spectacle, the entire incident also speaks volumes about how little Washington and Beijing communicate, almost 22 years after the collision of an American spy plane and a Chinese fighter about 70 miles off the coast of Hainan Island led both sides to vow that they would improve their crisis management.
“We don’t know what the intelligence yield was for the Chinese,” said Evan Medeiros, a Georgetown professor who advised President Barack Obama on China and Asia with the National Security Council. “But there is no doubt it was a gross violation of sovereignty,” something the Chinese object to vociferously when the United States flies over and sails through the islands China has built from sandbars in the South China Sea.
“And this made visceral the China challenge,” Mr. Medeiros said, “to look up when you are out walking your dog, and you see a Chinese spy balloon in the sky.”
As it turns out, it was hardly the first time. Hours before the giant balloon met its deflated end, the Pentagon said there was another one in flight, over South America. And it noted a long history of Chinese balloons flying over the United States (which the Pentagon, somehow, never wanted to talk about before, until this incident forced it to).
“Instances of this kind of balloon activity have been observed previously over the past several years,” the Pentagon spokesman, Brig. Gen. Patrick S. Ryder, said in a statement published on Thursday. One senior official said many of those were in the Pacific, some near Hawaii, where the Indo-Pacific Command is based, along with much of the naval capability and surveillance gear of the Pacific Fleet.
General Ryder’s admission raises the question of whether the United States failed to set a red line years ago about the balloon surveillance, essentially encouraging China to grow bolder and bolder. “The fact that they have come into airspace before is not comforting,” said Amy B. Zegart, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author of “Spies, Lies and Algorithms,” a study of new technologies in ubiquitous surveillance. “We should have had a strategy earlier,” she said, and “we should have signaled our limits much earlier.”
Of course, there is nothing new about superpowers spying on one another, even from balloons. President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorized surveillance of the Soviet Union by lofting cameras on balloons in the mid-1950s, flying them “over Soviet bloc countries under the guise of meteorological research,” according to an article published by the National Archives in 2009. It “yielded more protests from the Kremlin than it did useful intelligence,” the author, David Haight, an archivist at the Eisenhower Library, reported.
With the advent of the first spy satellites, the balloons appeared to become obsolete.
Now they are making a comeback, because while spy satellites can see almost everything, balloons equipped with high-tech sensors hover over a site far longer and can pick up radio, cellular and other transmissions that cannot be detected from space. That is why the Montana sighting of the balloon was critical; in recent years, the National Security Agency and United States Strategic Command, which oversees the American nuclear arsenal, have been remaking communications with nuclear weapons sites. That would be one, but only one, of the natural targets for China’s Ministry of State Security, which oversees many of its national security hacks.
The N.S.A. also targets China, of course. From the revelations of Edward Snowden, the former contractor who revealed many of the agency’s operations a decade ago, the world learned that the United States broke into the networks of Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications firm, and also tracked the movements of Chinese leaders and soldiers responsible for moving Chinese nuclear weapons. That is only a small sliver of American surveillance in China.
Such activities add to China’s argument that everyone does it. Because they are largely hidden — save for the occasional revelation of a big hack — they have rarely become wrapped in national politics. That is changing.
The balloon incident came at a moment when Democrats and Republicans are competing to demonstrate who can be stronger on China. And that showed: The new chairman of the House intelligence committee, Representative Michael R. Turner, an Ohio Republican, echoed the many Republicans who argued the balloon needed to come down sooner.
He called the shoot-down “sort of like tackling the quarterback after the game is over. The satellite had completed its mission. It should never have been allowed to enter the United States, and it never should have been allowed to complete its mission.”
It is not yet clear what that “mission” was, or whether the risk of letting it proceed truly outweighed the risk of taking the balloon down over land, as Mr. Turner seemed to imply. It is only a small part of the increasingly aggressive “Spy vs. Spy” moves of superpower competitors. That has only intensified as control of semiconductor production equipment, artificial intelligence tools, 5G telecommunications, quantum computing and biological sciences has become the source of new arms races. And both sides play.
Yet it was the obviousness of the balloon that made many in Washington wonder whether the intelligence community and the civilian leadership in Beijing are communicating with each other.
“Whatever the value of what the Chinese might have obtained,” said Gen. Michael Rogers, the former director of the National Security Agency during the Obama and Trump administrations, “what was different here was the visibility. It just has a different feel when it is a physical intrusion on the country.” And once it was detected, China “handled it badly,” he said.
The balloon drifted over the continental United States just days before Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken was supposed to make the first visit of a top American diplomat to Beijing in many years. Chinese officials maintained that it was a weather balloon that had entered U.S. airspace by accident.
Mr. Blinken canceled his trip — a public slap that many American officials believe President Xi Jinping cannot be happy about, at a moment the Chinese leader appears to be trying to stabilize the fast-descending relationship with Washington.
This was hardly a life-threatening crisis. But the fact that Chinese officials, realizing that the balloon had been spotted, did not call to work out a way to deal with it was revealing.
That kind of problem was supposed to be resolved after the 2001 collision of an EP-3 spy plane and a Chinese fighter that brought down both planes. For days after that incident, President George W. Bush could not get Chinese leaders on the phone. Efforts by the secretary of state at the time, Gen. Colin Powell, also failed. “It made you wonder what might happen in a deeper crisis,” General Powell said later.
Afterward, hotlines were set up, and promises made about better communications. Clearly, those failed. When the balloon was shot down, China issued a statement saying “for the United States to insist on using armed forces is clearly an excessive reaction.”
Few experts doubt that had the situation been reversed, China would have used force — it has threatened to do that when it believed outsiders were entering disputed waters, much less established Chinese territory.
“It makes you wonder who was talking to whom in China,” Ms. Zegart said. “This is clearly the greatest unforced error the Chinese have made in some time.”
The balloon, spotted earlier this week over the western United States, was brought down when an F-22 fighter jet fired an air-to-air missile at it off the coast of South Carolina.
WASHINGTON — The United States shot down a Chinese spy balloon on Saturday that had spent the last week traversing the country, an explosive end to a drama that put a diplomatic crisis between the world’s two great powers onto television screens in real time.
The balloon, which spent five days traveling in a diagonal southeast route from Idaho to the Carolinas, had moved off the coast by midday Saturday and was shot down within moments of its arrival over the Atlantic Ocean.
“I told them to shoot it down,” President Biden told reporters in Hagerstown, Md., on his way to Camp David on Saturday afternoon. “They said to me, let’s wait until the safest place to do it.”
That time and place came at 2:39 p.m., Pentagon officials said, some six miles off the coast of South Carolina. The Federal Aviation Administration had paused departures and arrivals at airports in Wilmington, N.C., and in Myrtle Beach and Charleston in South Carolina. One of two F-22 fighter jets from Langley Air Force Base fired a Sidewinder air-to-air missile, downing the balloon, which was flying at an altitude of 60,000 to 65,000 feet. The F-22s were at 58,000 feet, with other American fighters in support.
The Pentagon said that Navy and Coast Guard personnel would conduct a recovery effort to retrieve the debris of the balloon, which had landed in relatively shallow water. American national security agencies hope the material they collect will add value to their database of Chinese intelligence gathering.
The Chinese foreign ministry declared its “strong discontent and protest” about the United States’ downing of the balloon. In a statement, the ministry said that China had told Washington repeatedly that the balloon was a civilian aircraft that had inadvertently flown over the United States and its presence was “totally accidental.”
“In these circumstances, for the United States to insist on using armed force is clearly an excessive reaction that seriously violates international convention,” the statement said. “China will resolutely defend the legitimate rights and interests of the enterprise involved, and retains the right to respond further.”
The president was alerted by the Pentagon on Tuesday that a spy balloon had entered continental American airspace near Idaho, White House officials said, and asked for military options. By Wednesday, the balloon was hovering over Montana and a full-blown diplomatic crisis was underway, puncturing recent efforts in Washington and Beijing to lower U.S.-China tensions.
Pentagon officials advised then against shooting down the balloon, whose belly structure was roughly the size of three buses, because of the possibility of harm to civilians and infrastructure while it was over land. Pentagon officials also said they did not view the intelligence threat from the balloon as any more extensive than what China could glean from a satellite.
But the arrival — and extended stay — of the balloon over American territory prompted furious calls from senior U.S. officials to their Chinese counterparts, criticism from Republican lawmakers of the White House response, and on Friday, the cancellation of a visit to China by Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken. It would have been the first trip by a Biden Cabinet secretary to Beijing. In announcing the cancellation of his trip, Mr. Blinken said the entry of the spy balloon was a “clear violation of U.S. sovereignty and international law.”
U.S. officials conveyed to Chinese officials several times in recent days that the U.S. military might shoot down the spy balloon. Mr. Blinken told a Chinese diplomat in Washington on Wednesday evening that the American government had the right to take any actions to protect its interests, and he said the same thing on a phone call on Friday with Wang Yi, the top Chinese foreign policy official, a senior administration official said.
Evan Medeiros, a Georgetown University professor who was senior Asia director on President Barack Obama’s National Security Council, said the episode underscored the risks of accidents or miscalculation, as well as “the role of domestic politics in American debates about China — and the role of Congress in interpreting Chinese strategic intentions, including by constraining the administration’s options.”
Pentagon officials said the spy balloon, which was remotely maneuverable to some degree by the Chinese but still dependent on the jet stream for travel, began its controlled drift into American territory on Jan. 28, when it entered Alaskan airspace near the Aleutian Islands. It first appeared to trackers at United States Northern Command to be just another one of China’s probes around the edges of America’s defensive borders.
A senior administration official said that China had developed a fleet of balloons to conduct surveillance operations that have been spotted over countries across five continents. They typically orbit at about 60,000 feet, and have occasionally strayed into American territory. Earlier, a senior defense official said that had happened three times during the Trump administration and one previous time during the Biden administration.
Officials said the most recent balloon, equipped with solar panels to power propulsion and cameras and surveillance technology, exited American territory on Monday and spent the day over Canada’s Northwest Territories. But it was back over the United States on Tuesday after entering through northern Idaho, much to the surprise of officials at Northern Command as well as at the Pentagon.
Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, alerted Mr. Biden.
By Wednesday, when the balloon had made its way to the skies above Billings, Mont., Pentagon officials were alarmed because the state is home to the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, one of three U.S. Air Force bases that operate and maintain intercontinental ballistic missiles. One Pentagon official described shock at what officials viewed as a blatant, and poorly concealed, effort at spying. A senior Biden administration official called the move audacious.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, in the Philippines at the time, called a meeting on Wednesday of senior military and defense officials to review military options, per Mr. Biden’s order. General Milley and Mr. Austin advised against shooting down the balloon while it was over land.
They also did not alert the public, as officials at the Pentagon, the White House, the State Department, along with the intelligence agencies, discussed what to do. Mr. Blinken’s trip to China was scheduled to begin in days, and the administration had decisions to make.
State Department officials began intense discussions on Wednesday about whether Mr. Blinken should make the trip, a senior administration official said.
Later that day, Wendy Sherman, the deputy secretary of state, summoned Zhu Haiquan, a senior Chinese diplomat, to the State Department. He arrived around 6:30 p.m. Ms. Sherman and Mr. Blinken told Mr. Zhu his government’s spying activities were unacceptable and demanded that China remove the balloon from U.S. airspace, American officials said.
Ms. Sherman and Mr. Blinken told Mr. Zhu that the balloon would have a serious impact on Mr. Blinken’s planned trip. Mr. Blinken also said the United States had the right to take action to protect its national interests, alluding to the possibility of shooting down the machine.
In Beijing, the U.S. ambassador, R. Nicholas Burns, also told the Chinese Foreign Ministry that its government had to remove the balloon, officials said. Discussions continued behind closed doors.
But the balloon was hard to hide. By Wednesday afternoon there were eyewitness reports out of Montana and a ground stop at the airport in Billings, Mont. At around the same time, Gen. Glen VanHerck, the commander of Northern Command, abruptly canceled a lunch with reporters only 45 minutes before it was to start, arousing suspicions.
By Thursday afternoon, Courtney Kube of NBC had reported that the military was monitoring a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon over Montana. A short time later, the Pentagon held a news conference confirming that report.
Biden administration officials said they had planned to notify the public regardless. “We acted to notify the public as quickly as possible as to the facts regarding the balloon,” said Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary.
Some Republicans began criticizing the president for not ordering that the balloon be shot down immediately. Then they turned on Mr. Blinken for not canceling his trip.
At a meeting Thursday evening, Mr. Blinken, Mr. Austin, General Milley and Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, decided that the trip did not make sense, officials said. On Friday morning, Mr. Biden affirmed their decision.
The Chinese foreign ministry tried to salvage the situation by issuing its statement expressing regret and asserting that the balloon was an off-course civilian machine. Mr. Blinken called Mr. Wang to tell him the trip was off and admonish his government over what the U.S. secretary called an “irresponsible act.”
By that day, the balloon was over Kansas and heading, helped in part by the jet stream, to the Eastern Seaboard. Pentagon officials were able to gauge its projected path and made plans to shoot it down once it reached the Atlantic. Officials wanted to do it while it was still technically in American airspace.
After the balloon’s first sighting over Montana, some residents in its path had taken to social media to promise they would shoot it down themselves. The threats prompted the York County sheriff’s office in South Carolina on Saturday to post a warning on Twitter: “Don’t try to shoot it!! Your rifle rounds WILL NOT reach it. Be responsible. What goes up will come down, including your bullets.”
Hours later, a Sidewinder missile did the job.
Zolan Kanno-Youngs contributed reporting from Syracuse, N.Y., and Michael Crowley from Washington.
WASHINGTON — A bitterly divided House on Thursday ousted Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota from the Foreign Affairs Committee over past comments about Israel that were widely condemned as antisemitic, as Republicans moved to cater to the demands of right-wing members and mete out punishment to a Democrat their party has demonized for years.
The 218-to-211 party-line vote, with one member voting “present,” settled a partisan score that has been festering since 2021, when the House, then controlled by Democrats, stripped Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona of their committee assignments for social media posts in which they endorsed violence against Democrats.
The removal of Ms. Omar delivered on a threat that Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California made at the time to retaliate if his party took the House majority by removing Democrats whom Republicans regarded as unfit to serve on committees. Last week, he unilaterally removed Representatives Adam B. Schiff and Eric Swalwell, both of California, from the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where membership is appointed and thus not subject to a vote.
Mr. McCarthy’s decision to force the removal of Ms. Omar, a step that some of his rank-and-file members resisted, in the earliest days of his new majority demonstrated his determination to ingratiate himself with the hard-right Republican base, which has made the Somali-born Ms. Omar a target for some of its most vicious attacks. Former President Donald J. Trump famously said in 2019 that Ms. Omar and three other progressive women of color should “go back” to their countries, though she was the only one not born in the United States.
The vote on Thursday was also a bid by Mr. McCarthy to curry favor with pro-Israel groups and evangelical voters and to drive a wedge among Democrats, many of whom had condemned Ms. Omar’s statements about Israel.
In 2019, Ms. Omar drew criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike for tweeting that certain pro-Israel groups were “all about the Benjamins, baby,” appearing to refer to hundred-dollar bills in what was seen as invoking an antisemitic trope about Jews and money. She later apologized for the comment. Two years later, Ms. Omar seemingly equated “atrocities” carried out by the U.S. military to those committed by terrorist groups like the Taliban and Hamas; she later said she had not meant to compare them.
Yet during an unusually raw debate on the House floor on Thursday, prominent Democrats, including many Jewish members, stood alongside Ms. Omar’s closest friends in Congress to defend her in passionate and at times emotional speeches. They accused Republicans of hypocrisy, xenophobia and racism for targeting her while saying nothing about antisemitic remarks by members of their own party, some of whom have associated with Holocaust deniers.
“A blatant double standard is being applied here,” said Representative Gregory W. Meeks of New York, the top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee. “Something just doesn’t add up. And what is the difference between Representative Omar and these members? Could it be the way that she looks? Could it be her religious practices?”
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, was more direct about the exiling of Ms. Omar, who is Black and one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress. “This is about targeting women of color in the United States of America,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said.
Republicans were comparatively sober as they made the case for removing Ms. Omar.
“Individuals who hold such hateful views should rightly be barred from that type of committee,” said Representative Mike Lawler of New York. “Words matter. Rhetoric matters. It leads to harm, and so the congresswoman is being held accountable for her words and her actions.”
Mr. McCarthy and the members of his leadership team were nowhere to be seen during the floor debate, during which the number of Democrats speaking on behalf of Ms. Omar outnumbered Republicans two to one. After the vote, Mr. McCarthy defended the decision to remove Ms. Omar, telling reporters that it was “not tit for tat,” but based on her statements.
“I’m not removing people from all committees,” Mr. McCarthy said, pointing out that Ms. Omar had been excised from just one panel, unlike Ms. Greene and Mr. Gosar.
But his effort to oust Ms. Omar stalled and nearly faltered in recent weeks, highlighting the challenges Mr. McCarthy faces as he tries to make good on his promised agenda with a razor-thin majority that has already proved to be unruly. Some Republicans were concerned about being seen as hypocritical after they had railed against the removals of Ms. Greene and Mr. Gosar, and about the precedent set by expelling a lawmaker for her views and statements, particularly by a party that routinely condemns “cancel culture.”
In the end, after days of haggling by Mr. McCarthy, all but one Republican fell in line, with Representative David Joyce of Ohio voting “present,” as he did on Democrats’ resolution to expel Mr. Gosar.
Debate over the move turned raucous, particularly after Ms. Omar made a defiant speech defending herself. She drew cheers and applause from her colleagues as she declared, “Take your vote or not — I am here to stay.”
Shortly before members cast their ballots, Ms. Omar charged that the move to expel her was an inevitable extension of the false “birther” conspiracy theory, promoted by Mr. Trump, that former President Barack Obama, the first Black occupant of the Oval Office, was secretly an African-born Muslim.
“I am Muslim. I am an immigrant. And interestingly, from Africa,” Ms. Omar said on the House floor. “Is anyone surprised that I am being targeted? Is anyone surprised that I am somehow deemed unworthy to speak about American foreign policy?”
Ms. Omar’s ouster capped off an opening month in the House that has been defined by political jockeying and messaging far more than serious policy ventures. During a history-making struggle to claim the speaker’s gavel, Mr. McCarthy provided a raft of concessions to his hard-right detractors to win their votes. He has spent the weeks since paying off those debts, including by placing ultraconservative members on powerful committees and forming a new panel to investigate the “weaponization of government.”
The House has also passed an array of legislation — all doomed in the Senate — that would defund I.R.S. enforcement against tax cheats, prosecute some abortion providers and end federal coronavirus vaccine mandates and precautions.
The stage was set this week for Ms. Omar’s expulsion when Representative George Santos of New York — the embattled Republican freshman who has admitted to having misrepresented his background and is facing multiple fraud investigations — announced that he would temporarily remove himself from his House committees until his name was cleared. Mr. Santos had become a lightning rod for accusations of a double standard, as Democrats scorned Mr. McCarthy for protecting him while targeting Ms. Omar, Mr. Schiff and Mr. Swalwell.
But some Republicans were still uncomfortable with the move, holding out until Mr. McCarthy agreed to add language to the measure citing lawmakers’ right to appeal such decisions to the Ethics Committee, a mechanism that was already available to them.
“He added explicitly to this resolution to make sure that we apply the same standard not just to Democrats, but to Republicans,” Representative Victoria Spartz of Indiana said of Mr. McCarthy during the floor debate, explaining her decision to back the measure.
That gesture was not enough for some other Republicans. Representative Ken Buck of Colorado, one of the more conservative naysayers, exacted a pledge from Mr. McCarthy to strengthen the appeals process for members facing punitive actions in the future, a commitment that won over most of the remaining holdouts.
WASHINGTON, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley will kick off her campaign for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination this month, squaring off against her one-time boss, Donald Trump, two sources familiar with her plans said on Wednesday.
The move would make her just the second declared Republican candidate and could set the stage for a more combative phase of the campaign, potentially putting her in the sights of the pugnacious former U.S. president.
Haley's campaign sent an email to supporters on Wednesday inviting them to a Feb. 15 event in Charleston. There she will declare her candidacy, the sources said.
South Carolina is expected to host one of the first Republican nominating primaries in 2024 and will play an important role in picking the eventual candidate.
The daughter of two Indian immigrants who ran a successful clothing store in a rural part of the state, Haley has gained a reputation in the Republican Party as a solid conservative who has the ability to address issues of gender and race in a more credible fashion than many of her peers.
She has also pitched herself as a stalwart defender of American interests abroad, having served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under Trump from 2017 to 2018. During that time, the United States pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, which was inked under Democratic President Barack Obama and was highly unpopular among Republicans.
One Haley associate said she chose to launch her campaign this early to try to grab voters' attention and shake up a race that had so far been dominated by Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has not yet declared whether he will run.
Many key Republican donors and elected officials in South Carolina have been looking for alternatives to Trump amid concerns about his electability, according to conversations in recent weeks with more than a dozen party officials and strategists.
Several prominent Republicans, including Haley and U.S. Senator Tim Scott, opted to skip a Trump campaign appearance in Columbia on Saturday, which was intended to showcase his support in the state.
Scott, often considered a presidential contender himself, will kick off a "listening tour focused on Faith in America" in Charleston a day after Haley's event, according to a campaign advisory. He will then swing through Iowa, another key early voting state.
Trump told reporters on Saturday that Haley had called him to say she was considering a run and that he told her "go by your heart if you want to run," according to multiple media reports.
Haley received national attention in 2015 when, as governor, she signed a bill into law removing the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol, following the murder of nine black churchgoers by white supremacist Dylann Roof.
If she were to win the nomination, Haley would be the first woman at the top of the Republican presidential ticket in history, as well as the party's first non-white nominee.
Among her major challenges will be nailing down a consistent message. Even in a field where most candidates have changed their mind about key issues multiple times, Haley is particularly chameleonic.
She has distanced herself from Trump several times, only to later soften her rhetoric, saying he has an important role to play in the Republican Party.
While she has criticized Republicans for baselessly casting doubt on the results of the 2020 presidential election, she campaigned on behalf of multiple candidates who supported Trump's false election fraud claims during the 2022 midterms.
Even as she has at times adopted a conciliatory message on racial issues, she often opts for a less measured tone. In November, she said at a campaign rally that Democratic Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock, a Black man born in Savannah, should be "deported."
South Carolina is historically the third state to host the Republican nominating contest, and it often plays an outsized role in the race. Haley, who governed the state from 2011 to 2017, is popular there, polls show.
Trump and DeSantis have both been active in the state.
While Haley comes into the race as an underdog - most national polls show her support in the single digits - she is used to running from behind, having gained a reputation in political circles for coming out on top in tough-to-win races.
A spokesperson for Haley declined to comment on Wednesday.
A spokesperson for Scott did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Washington-based correspondent covering campaigns and Congress. Previously posted in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Santiago, Chile, and has reported extensively throughout Latin America. Co-winner of the 2021 Reuters Journalist of the Year Award in the business coverage category for a series on corruption and fraud in the oil industry. He was born in Massachusetts and graduated from Harvard College.
Roseanne Barr is making her return to comedy in a new special on Fox Nation which will debut on Monday, Feb. 13. A teaser for Roseanne Barr: Cancel This! was dropped during the NFC Championship Game between the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers. Watch the preview in the video posted above!
“Has anybody been fired recently?” Barr is heard asking in the teaser before her characteristic laugh takes over.
Additionally, Fox Nation will release Who Is Roseanne Barr?, an in-depth look inside the life and career of Ms. Barr.
Barr’s stand-up special title refers to her getting canceled in 2018 after she posted racist tweets saying former President Barack Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett was an offspring of the “Muslim Brotherhood & Planet of the Apes.”
Following the hateful tweet, ABC canceled the Roseanne revival and would later bring it back as The Conners and killing off Barr’s character.
As Barr was getting backlash on Twitter she apologized for her tweets saying, “I apologize to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans,” Barr tweeted. “I am truly sorry for making a bad joke about her politics and her looks. I should have known better. Forgive me-my joke was in bad taste.”
Subscribe to Deadline Alerts and keep your inbox happy.
Award-winning journalist Barbara Walters had to break many glass ceilings to become one of the best-known faces on American television news. Walters, who died at 93, began her career in the 1960s when the prevailing attitude among television executives was that viewers would not take seriously women reporting on politics, war or other important issues. .
Through a combination of talent and drive, Walters went on to make television history in 1974 as the first female co-anchor of NBC's Today morning news show. Two years later, she moved to ABC for an even more prestigious job: the first female co-anchor of the evening news at any network.
At the time, the three networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC, were a primary source of information for many Americans. Her success paved the way for subsequent generations of women television journalists.
In addition to this pioneering role, his reputation rests on the hundreds of high-profile interviews he conducted over five decades. They included every US president, from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama (he did interview Donald Trump, but just before he became president). The interviewees were an eclectic mix, from other world leaders to Hollywood stars, from sports celebrities to assassins.Barbara Walters with her ABC co-host Harry Reasoner in 1976. Photograph: ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content/Getty Images
Walters was very much an establishment insider, close to elites in Washington and New York, and faced criticism throughout her career for being too welcoming to some of her interviewees, too fawning.
Other American journalists accused her of blurring the line between journalism and entertainment. Her trademark became finding an interviewee's vulnerable spot and making them cry, which she says made for great television.
She was also criticized for letting her own views intrude, as she did when she spoke in 1999 with Monica Lewinsky, the former White House intern with whom Bill Clinton said he had a relationship "that was not appropriate." It was one of the most watched news interviews in American television history.
Walters asked, "What will you tell your children when you have them?"
Lewinsky: "Mommy made a big mistake."
Walters: "And that's the understatement of the year."
Walters was born in Boston in 1929, though he occasionally claimed to be two years younger, to Louis Walters, a theatrical promoter who was born and raised in London before immigrating to the US, and Dena Seletsky, who was born in Lithuania earlier as well. . emigrating to the United States, where he worked in a men's clothing store.
Barbara was initially raised in Boston, but moved her family to Miami and then New York, where her father ran nightclubs. She often brought her daughter backstage to mingle with can-can dancers and other acts.Barbara Walters interviewing President Barack Obama on The View, 2010. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
With that background, she chose theater as her major at Sarah Lawrence University in upstate New York. She got her start in television as a publicity assistant at an NBC affiliate in New York City and made her first screen appearance when she was producing a children's show, Ask the Camera. Lacking a question, she dispensed with her ethical considerations and wrote her own: "I've always wondered: how does a hippopotamus eat?" – And she answered her.
She briefly left television and the United States for Europe, where she worked as a model in Paris.
Back in the US, she became a writer in 1961 for NBC Today and three years later became an on-screen regular as a reporter. Such was the scarcity of women in high-profile television reporting positions that she earned a New York Times profile in 1965, a sympathetic article by Gloria Steinem. The casual sexism of the time was reflected in the headline: “Nylons in the Newsroom”.
Sexism was also evident when working with the press, such as Nixon's historic trip to China in 1972, where she was largely shunned by male journalists who considered her a lightweight. But the viewers liked her and the TV executives, in turn, liked the ratings. Two years later, she was named co-anchor of Today, making official a role she had been playing informally for years.
When she switched to ABC in 1976, she made headlines not only because she became the first woman to co-anchor an evening news program for the network, but also because of the size of her salary, $1 million a year.Barbara Walters covering the Democratic National Convention Today in 1972. Early in her career, she was treated as a lightweight by some male journalists, but viewers liked her. Photo: NBC Universal/Getty Images
The move was initially a disaster. His male co-host, veteran Harry Reasoner, couldn't hide his disdain for working with a woman he considered frivolous. He solved the problem by staying out of the studio as much as possible, doing his own interviews, his Specials. The first, in 1976, included President-elect Jimmy Carter and Barbra Streisand.
He remembered those years in the second half of the 1970s as the high point of his career. He got a rare interview with Fidel Castro in 1977. Later that year, he did the first joint interview with Egyptian and Israeli leaders Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin, a highly symbolic moment in the Middle East. "From that point on I was more or less accepted as a member of the old men's club," she wrote in her autobiography, Audition, published in 2009.
She was the creator of The View, which started in 1997, a popular talk show on politics and other topics. The co-hosts were all women, from different generations and backgrounds. She was one of the co-hosts from 1997 to 2014.
At the end of Audition, he devoted eight pages to listing some of the hundreds of interviews he had conducted. Among them were Margaret Thatcher, Michael Jackson, Muammar Gaddafi, David Beckham, Truman Capote, Judy Garland, Bashar al-Assad, Prince Charles and Vladimir Putin. Her favorite interviewees included Cher and Tom Hanks: her worst was Warren Beatty, and she told him so on air.
She was ridiculed for outlandish questions, such as asking Katharine Hepburn, “What kind of tree are you? If you think you are a tree? She was satirized in the mid-1970s on Saturday Night Live, pictured pronouncing "r" and "l" as "w": in the US, overnight she became "Baba Wawa" .
He won several Emmy and other awards and in 2007 received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
His first two marriages ended in divorce. The third, to a television executive, Merv Adelson, in 1981, ended in divorce in 1984. She remarried him in 1986, only to divorce again in 1992. Walters is survived by his daughter, Jacqueline, from his second marriage. , with Lee Guber. .
Barbara Jill Walters, television journalist, born September 25, 1929; died on December 30, 2022Credit: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2022/dec/31/barbara-walters-obituary
45 leaders confirm attendance
Forty-five African heads of state and government have confirmed attendance at the U.
S. Africa Leaders’ Summit, held in Washington D.
C. next month.
United States President, Joseph Biden, had extended an invitation to 49 African leaders.
Dana Banks, the Special Assistant to the President and National Security Council Senior Advisor for the U.
S.-Africa Leaders Summit, confirmed this, yesterday, via a teleconference on the upcoming Summit’s agenda to strengthen U.
S.-Africa relations and highlight U.
S. commitment to the African continent.
Banks noted that Biden invited 49 African leaders, excluding those from Burkina Faso, Guinea, Sudan, and Mali – four countries currently suspended by the African Union (AU).
All four countries are currently run by strong men who took power with guns.
The White House official said Biden used three criteria to invite African governments to the Summit.
“President Biden invited all sub-Saharan and North African governments that have not been suspended by AU, states the U.
S. government recognises, and states with which we exchange Ambassadors.
” Banks added that Biden looks forward to hosting leaders from across the African continent.
The Summit, only the second such event of its kind, will be the biggest U.
S.-Africa engagement in Washington D.
C., since former President Barack Obama hosted African leaders in 2014.
The gathering aims to advance shared priorities and foster stronger ties between the United States and Africa.
It will also provide an opportunity to advance the Biden administration’s focus on trade and investment in Africa, highlight America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and its people, as well as emphasise the depth and breadth of the United States’ commitment to the African continent.
“Africa will shape the future — not just the future of the African people, but of the world.
Africa will make the difference in tackling the most urgent challenges and seizing the opportunities we all face,” she said.
The Summit will be focused on nine pillars: economic engagement, peace, security and governance, democracy, human rights and governance, global health, food security, climate change, diaspora engagement, education and youth leadership and amplifying African voices.
The Senior Advisor noted that the Summit aims to amplify African voices to tackle global challenges collaboratively.
“The goal of the Summit is rooted in recognition of the continent as a global player and how it will shape, not just the future of the continent, but also the world.
The breadth and depth of American partnership with African partners are based upon dialogue, respect, and shared values.
” Also speaking, yesterday, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the U.
S. Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs, Robert Scott, said: “The U.
S. knows that, on most of the urgent challenges and opportunities we face, Africa will make the difference.
We can’t achieve our goals around the world without the leadership of African governments, institutions and citizens.
“Issues that affect the globe are, in large, going to be solved by Africans.
Furthermore, there is an added element to the Summit: There will be a U.
S.-Africa Civil and Commercial Space Forum.
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has urged the House of Representatives to allow state governments have input into the Electricity Bill 2022 by allowing them to generate electricity and develop at their pace.
Sanwo-Olu stated this, yesterday, during the handover ceremony of the Lagos State Integrated Energy Resource Plan (IRP), which was done by the Lagos State Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, in collaboration with America through the USAID and Power Africa Nigeria Power Sector Programme (PA-NPSP).
He said: “This is about power partnership, which started eight years ago by the Barack Obama administration.
“Lagos State needs to increase its electricity generation capacity to help develop small businesses and grow the GDP of the state and Nigeria.
“I also call on the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, to join us to resolve all the issues in the electricity bill.
” In his remarks, the state’s Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Olalere Odusote, said the initiative was a 20-year partnership that would also involve the two electricity distribution companies in Lagos, Ikeja and Eko Discos, adding that it would transform the power deficiencies in Africa.
Odusote further noted that the plan was aimed at identifying infrastructure requirements and bridging gaps, as well as bringing needed investments in the electricity sector.
The Consul-General of, American Consulate in Lagos, Williams Stevens, described electricity as the basis of economic growth, trade and investments and expressed the American government’s excitement at partnering with the state.
He said: “This is the main dream of former President Barack Obama for Africa’s development, which started in 2014 and I am glad that eight years after, it has come to full circle.
The Borno Government is committed to the Open Government Partnership (OGP), to strengthen accountability, transparency, and citizens’ participation in governance.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that President Barack Obama launched the OGP, a multilateral initiative that empowers citizens and encourages governments to be open and responsive in 2011 at the UN General Assembly meeting.
Alhaji Bum Munguno, Executive Secretary, Agency for Coordination of Sustainable Development and Humanitarian Response, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Kaduna on Thursday.
Munguno, who led the state delegation on a learning visit to Kaduna State, told NAN that subscribing to the OGP was very crucial for the state rebuilding efforts, after years of insurgency by Boko Haram.
NAN reports that OGP is a platform where government and citizens co-create and implement policies and programmes together in an accountable and transparent manner to serve the citizens better.
“Signing onto the OGP is very critical for us because you cannot preach and practice good governance without the voice of the people.
“However, the voice of the people can only be captured when you have open governance.
We have seen OGP in practice in Kaduna state and we want to key-in to change our approach to governance.
“The OGP principle of co-creation and co-implementation of programmes by the government and the citizens will significantly catch the aspiration and voices of the people in Borno.
“This will entrench the needed citizens’ participation in the governance process in the state,” he said.
Munguno, who noted government was about the people, said that the delegation would go back and initiate the process of joining the global platform to improve the governance in the state.
The executive secretary also said that he was fascinated by the Kaduna State Eyes and Eyes project, a digital platform where citizens and government monitor and evaluate delivery of government projects.
“This also stood out for me because it will keep implementation of activities on track due to the close monitoring and evaluation by both the government and the citizens.
“It will also entrench accountability, transparency and delivery of quality services to the people,” he said.
Munguno explained that the learning visit was very important for a state that was coming out of a 15-year insurgency being perpetrated by Boko Haram.
“We are now recovering and rebuilding and so we are going to places where we think we can learn a few things to help our rebuilding process.
“We are in Kaduna State because the state has implemented a number of successful reforms that we can learn from.
“Also, very fundamental to the visit is to the ongoing implementation of the Borno State 25 Development Plan. “The plan has made a provision for a Delivery Support Unit to support the implementation of the plan and so we felt we will learn good governance practices, accountability and other reforms from Kaduna state.
“ Also speaking, Mr Bashir Mohammed, Permanent Secretary Planning and Budget Commission, who facilitated the learning process told NAN that a lot of states have been coming to learn from the Kaduna example.
Mohammed, who described Kaduna State as a model of “good governance and best practices”, attributed the milestones to the good will of Gov. Nasir El-Rufai in driving the state Revitalisation and Renewal Project.
Earlier, Mr Adejor Abel, State Lead Facilitator, Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), said that the governance programme would continue to bring citizens and government together, to plan and implement citizens-oriented programmes together.
An NGO, Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), says it has concluded plans to invest in 3,000 youths to promote economic growth and enhance entrepreneurship.
The Coordinator, YALI Network, Mr Innocent Okafor, who made this known at a news conference in Abuja on Wednesday, said that the empowerment would enhance the growth of the nation’s economy.
”The YALI Network empowerment will enable the 3,000 youth to be self-reliant, proffer solutions to business challenges and entrepreneurship, public management and civic engagement as well as enhance nation building,” he said.
Okafor said that the YALI 2022 National Summit would hold on Thursday and Friday in Abuja, with the theme: ”Change the Narratives: A Call to Take Responsibility, Taking Bold Steps Now for our Desired Future.
” He described YALI was a flagship programme of the U.
S, launched by former President Barack Obama in 2010. Okafor said that the programme was aimed at investing in the next generation of African leaders as well as supporting them to advance democratic governance, promote economic growth and fortify civil society institutions for the continent to advance and prosper.
“This is an annual event designed to bring young Nigerian leaders and partners together in order to dialogue on the issues confronting the country and proffer sustainable solutions.
“It will also hold capacity-building sessions, aimed at equipping the youth with skills relevant to their specific tracks, allowing them to effectively lead and bringing about social change and national development.
“This year’s summit, which is the fourth edition, is scheduled to hold on Sept. 29 and Sept. 30 at Merit House, Maitama, Abuja.
“Through a hybrid approach, the forum hopes to reach 3,000 young people who will gain different skills to make a difference in Nigeria,” he said.
The coordinator further said that the issue of national development had always proven to be a sensitive one when raised within the Nigerian space.
He noted that people from different social, religious, economic and ethnic backgrounds always shared different approaches to achieving the peak of a nationally-developed economy.
He added that the summit had, over the years, become a platform for re-orientation, patriotic education and leadership skill-up and technical empowerment for young African leaders.
Okafor said that the theme for this year’s summit was intentionally crafted and developed to sharpen the perspectives and redirect the positive energy of participants toward a collective growth through innovative approaches to the nation’s challenges.
“These are challenges of business and entrepreneurship, public management and civic engagement,” he said.
Okafor further said that the objectives were to provide a forum to educate, equip, increase youth awareness and participation in nation-building and create opportunities and platforms for them.
He said that the summit would encourage open dialogue, constructive critique and self-reflection, with discussants drawn from related sectors to deliberate extensively on the assigned topics.
Okafor listed some of the topics for discussion as: Developing a better food systems value chain;, Ending Hunger; Promoting Youth Engagement in Climate Action; Achieving desired future through technological and vocational skills advancement and 2023 Bold Steps: My Vote, My Future.