Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

CIA director Bill Burns to visit Israel, Palestinian Authority

CIA director Bill Burns will visit Israel on Tuesday for the first time since assuming office for talks that are expected to focus on Iran, Israeli officials tell me. He's also expected to meet Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah.

Why it matters: Burns will arrive in Jerusalem with tensions running hot between Israel and Iran over an alleged Iranian attack on an Israeli-linked oil tanker and amid escalation between Israel and Hezbollah on the Israeli-Lebanese border.

  • He'll meet David Barnea, director of the Mossad intelligence agency, and is expected to meet Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and other senior defense and intelligence officials.
  • Israeli officials say the talks will focus on Iran's nuclear program and regional activity, and that Israel hopes to hear more about U.S. policy toward the new Iranian government and a possible return to the 2015 nuclear deal.

Burns is also expected to visit Ramallah to meet Palestinian intelligence chief Majed Faraj.

  • He's also expected to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the Israeli officials say.
  • A spokesperson for the CIA declined to comment on Burns’ trip.

The big picture: Apart from the Five Eyes intelligence allies — Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K. and U.S. — Mossad is the foreign intelligence service with the closest ties to the CIA. During the Trump presidency, the CIA and Mossad worked jointly on many operations against Iran.

  • The CIA also has very close cooperation with the Palestinian intelligence service on counterterrorism, which the agency maintained even after all other communications between the Trump and Abbas governments broke down.

Flashback: Burns developed close relationships with many Israeli and Palestinian officials — including new Israeli ambassador to Washington Mike Herzog — during his long State Department career.

  • In 2013, Burns and national security advisor Jake Sullivan led the backchannel talks with Iran that preceded the nuclear deal, flying secretly to Oman to meet their Iranian counterparts without notifying Israel or other allies.
  • News of the talks sparked a deep crisis between the Obama and Netanyahu administrations.

Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

Keep reading... Show less

Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

Keep reading... Show less

"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

Keep reading... Show less

What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

Keep reading... Show less



Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories