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Editor Daily Rundown: US Drones Zawahiri On His Taliban-Protected Balcony In Downtown Kabul

Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images

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US DRONES ZAWAHIRI ON HIS TALIBAN-PROTECTED BALCONY IN DOWNTOWN KABUL… U.S. kills al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in drone strike in Kabul

The United States has killed Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda and one of the world’s most-wanted terrorists, who, alongside the group’s founder, Osama bin Laden, oversaw the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, President Biden announced Monday evening. […]

The strike occurred at 9:48 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters on the operation. A drone fired two Hellfire missiles at Zawahiri as he stepped onto the balcony of a safe house in Kabul, where he had been living with members of his family, the official said. […]

Shirpur is divided between an older section of modest homes and shops, which is open to traffic, and a high-security section of ornate modern mansions, which is heavily guarded and closed to traffic. The house reportedly occupied by Zawahiri and his family appeared to be located in the secure section, behind a large bank and several guarded alleys lined with government compounds.

The intelligence community had tracked Zawahiri to the safe house and spent months confirming his identity and developing a “pattern of life,” tracking his movements and behavior, the official said. Intelligence personnel also constructed a model of the safe house, which was used to brief Biden on how a strike could be carried out in such a way that it lessened the chances of killing any other occupants or civilians, the official said, adding that intelligence agencies have concluded that Zawahiri was the only person killed in the strike. […]

A former member of al-Qaeda who later joined the Islamic State downplayed the significance of Zawahiri’s death, noting that he was barely visible in recent years.

“I’m sure Biden will try to make it sound as if it’s something big, but actually it’s not significant for us at all,” said the member of the Islamic State who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the al-Qaeda leader. “Ayman al-Zawahiri became the emir after bin Laden, and now he is a shaheed [martyr]. And that’s it for us. The significant question will be: Who will become the new leader now?”

 

TIRED BIDEN READS TELEPROMPTER FROM WHITE HOUSE BALCONY…(VIDEO)

 

LAST YEAR, BIDEN CLAIMED AL QAEDA WAS ‘GONE’ … FLASHBACK… AUGUST… CNN: Fact check: Biden claims al Qaeda is ‘gone’ from Afghanistan. Then the Pentagon confirms it’s still there … WATCH BIDEN CLAIM AL QAEDA IS ‘GONE’ (VIDEO, STARTS AT 11:39)

Defending the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, President Joe Biden said at the White House on Friday: “Look, let’s put this thing in perspective. What interest do we have in Afghanistan at this point, with al Qaeda gone? We went to Afghanistan for the express purpose of getting rid of al Qaeda in Afghanistan as well as — as well as — getting Osama bin Laden. And we did.” […]

Biden’s claim that al Qaeda is “gone” from Afghanistan is false — as his own administration acknowledged soon afterward. Following Biden’s remarks, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters, “We know that al Qaeda is a presence, as well as ISIS, in Afghanistan, and we’ve talked about that for quite some time.”

Biden has correctly said in previous prepared remarks, including a speech on Monday, that al Qaeda has been “degraded” in Afghanistan; the terror group is widely viewed as having been substantially weakened by the 20-year US-led war. But Biden clearly went too far on Friday when he said — while offering impromptu answers to reporters’ questions — that the group does not exist in Afghanistan at all.

 

CHICKITY CHINA THE CHINESE CHICKEN… REUTERS: Chinese warplanes buzz line dividing Taiwan Strait before expected Pelosi visit: Reuters, citing source

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi was expected to arrive in Taipei later on Tuesday, people briefed on the matter said, as several Chinese warplanes flew close to the median line dividing the Taiwan Strait, a source told Reuters. […]

In addition to Chinese planes flying close to the median line of the sensitive waterway on Tuesday morning, several Chinese warships had remained close to the unofficial dividing line since Monday, the source told Reuters.

The source said both Chinese warships and aircraft “squeezed” the median line on Tuesday morning, an unusual move the person described as “very provocative.”

The person said the Chinese aircraft repeatedly conducted tactical moves of briefly “touching” the median line and circling back to the other side of the strait on Tuesday morning, while Taiwanese aircraft were on standby nearby.

 

BIDEN WHITE HOUSE TRIES TO CONVINCE CHINA THAT PELOSI’S VISIT ISN’T IMPORTANT… CNBC: White House struggles to insulate Biden’s China policy from Pelosi’s Taiwan trip

For weeks, American officials from the president on down have tied themselves into knots trying to talk about Pelosi’s choice to visit Taiwan, and stressing that it was her decision, and hers alone. […]

Now, experts say it’s becoming clear that this effort missed the point. That’s because schisms in Washington are effectively meaningless to the rest of the world, which has learned to view American presidents and their top allies in Congress as interchangeable stand-ins for one another on foreign policy matters. […]

“I want to reaffirm that the Speaker has not confirmed any travel plans,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters Monday, “So we won’t be commenting or speculating about the stops on her trip.”

Still, Kirby confirmed moments later that Biden had specifically raised the topic of Pelosi’s unconfirmed trip with Chinese President Xi Jinping last week, during a video call that lasted more than two hours.

Biden “made clear that Congress is an independent branch of government and that Speaker Pelosi makes her own decisions, as other members of Congress do, about their overseas travel,” said Kirby. “That was made clear.”

 

MEANWHILE, THE WHITE HOUSE REPORTEDLY HAS ‘DEEP MISTRUST’ IN UKRAINE’S ZELENSKY … TOM FRIEDMAN: Why Pelosi’s Visit to Taiwan Is Utterly Reckless

The timing could not be worse. Dear reader: The Ukraine war is not over. And privately, U.S. officials are a lot more concerned about Ukraine’s leadership than they are letting on. There is deep mistrust between the White House and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky — considerably more than has been reported.

And there is funny business going on in Kyiv. On July 17, Zelensky fired his country’s prosecutor general and the leader of its domestic intelligence agency — the most significant shake-up in his government since the Russian invasion in February. It would be the equivalent of Biden firing Merrick Garland and Bill Burns on the same day. But I have still not seen any reporting that convincingly explains what that was all about. It is as if we don’t want to look too closely under the hood in Kyiv for fear of what corruption or antics we might see, when we have invested so much there. (More on the dangers of that another day.)

 

TAX AND SPIN… ‘That Is Incorrect’: Jean-Pierre And Doocy Spar Over Tax Increases (VIDEO)

Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy pressed White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about the raise in taxes in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

Doocy asked Monday if President Joe Biden will rescind his support for the Inflation Reduction Act, a budget reconciliation bill proposed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, given that Biden promised not to raise taxes on anyone making $400,000 a year.

The press secretary confirmed the president’s continuing support for the bill.

“He promised it wasn’t going to raise taxes on anybody making less than $400,000 a year, but the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) says that is not true,” Doocy said.

“Well, that is incorrect,” Jean-Pierre said.

 

DID A ‘STUN GUN’ SQUABBLE START THE BABY FORMULA SHORTAGE? … Baby Formula Shortage May Have Been Caused By Factory Employee Playing With Stun Gun: Report

The ongoing national baby formula shortage might have been triggered, at least in part, by a factory employee playing with a stun gun while he was on the clock.

An employee in the quality services department at Abbott Laboratories’ formula plant in Michigan triggered a whistleblower report to regulators by playing with a stun gun at the facility, according to a report by The Detroit News. The whistleblower report ultimately led to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommending a shutdown of the plant, which cut off a major supply of American baby formula.

The stun gun incident occurred in May 2020, and the employee in question said he had a bug zapper, not a stun gun, according to the News. “It’s definitely a stun gun and not a bug zapper,” another employee said in internal communications obtained by the News.

 

TEXAS GOV INVITES NYC, DC MAYORS TO VISIT BORDER… GREG ABBOTT: Governor Abbott Invites Mayors Of NYC, DC To Texas Border

“As law enforcement agents along the Texas-Mexico border respond to thousands of illegal crossings each and every day, putting their lives on the line for Texans and for all Americans, the crisis demands the attention of not only the Biden Administration, which is responsible for securing the border, but of leaders across the country,” reads the letter. “As Governor, I invite you to visit our border region to see firsthand the dire situation that only grows more urgent with each passing day, and to meet with the local officials, who like yourselves, realize this matter deserves immediate federal action.”

 

AN UPDATE TO THAT BIZARRE SECRET SERVICE GIFT & SURVEILLANCE OPERATION… Man Who Posed As Federal Agent Pleads Guilty In Scheme To Build Relationships With Secret Service Agents

A Washington, D.C. man pleaded guilty Monday for charges related to a scheme where he allegedly bought off Secret Service agents, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s D.C. Office.

Arian Taherzadeh, 40, was charged with federal conspiracy offense and two D.C. offenses of unlawful possession of a large-capacity ammunition feeding device and voyeurism, according to plea documents.

Between December 2018 and April 2022, Taherzadeh allegedly pretended to be a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) special agent, a member of a federal task force, a former United States Air Marshal, and a former Army Ranger, according to the plea documents. In his alleged scheme, Taherzadeh allegedly created the United States Special Police LLC (USSP), a business he used to supposedly establish credibility with actual law enforcement officers.

Taherzadeh allegedly used the fake persona and business to lease apartments in three Washington apartment buildings, which resulted in $800,000 in unpaid rent and other fees, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. In one of the apartments, Taherzadeh allegedly had an unlicensed gun with five fully loaded large-capacity ammunition feeding devices, containing 61 rounds of ammunition.

Some of the apartments, among other lavish items, were gifted to Secret Service agents in an attempt to win their trust, according to the plea documents.

The FBI arrested Taherzadeh and Haider Ali, 36, both of whom allegedly pretended to be federal agents, on April 6. A federal judge granted bail for both of the accused on April 12, allowing them to stay with relatives in the area under GPS monitoring.

 

7 YEARS FOR J6 SUSPECT WHO DIDN’T ASSAULT ANYONE OR ENTER CAPITOL… AP: Man who stormed Capitol with gun gets longest prison term

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Texas man convicted of storming the U.S. Capitol with a holstered handgun, helmet and body armor was sentenced Monday to more than seven years in prison, the longest sentence imposed so far among hundreds of Capitol riot cases.

Prosecutors said Guy Reffitt told fellow members of the Texas Three Percenters militia group that he planned to drag House Speaker Nancy Pelosi out of the Capitol building by her ankles, “with her head hitting every step on the way down,” according to a court filing.

Reffitt’s prison sentence — seven years and three months — is two years more than the previous longest prison sentence for a Capitol riot defendant. But it’s less than half the length of the 15-year prison term requested by a federal prosecutor, who called Reffitt a domestic terrorist and said he wanted to physically remove and replace members of Congress. […]

Defense attorney Clinton Broden asked for Reffitt to be sentenced to no more than two years in prison. Broden noted that Reffitt didn’t assault any law enforcement officers or enter the Capitol building.

 

EXPERTS DESCRIBE ‘GROOMING’… AND IT’S WHAT’S HAPPENING IN CLASSROOMS … The Clinical Steps To Grooming Kids Match Exactly How They’re Being Taught In Schools

The steps predators take to groom children for sexual abuse bear a remarkable resemblance to some modern lesson plans in American elementary schools, according to descriptions clinical experts provided to the Daily Caller.

Proponents of introducing Critical Gender Theory curricula and graphic sexual education to young children in schools have rejected the “groomer” pejorative critics recently began lobbing at them. Still, the grooming methods that experts outlined for the Caller bear a striking resemblance to some of the newer sexual education lessons the fringe political left is pushing into classrooms.

The most common tactics groomers employ are cultivating a positive reputation within a community, introducing sexualized topics or imagery to kids, isolating them from their parents, and encouraging them to keep secrets, experts told the Daily Caller. Each of these red flags have manifested themselves in classroom policies or public programs for children across America in recent years.

“I can’t think of too many times where I would think that an unrelated person should say, ‘Don’t say this to your parents,’” Daniel Pollack, professor at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University, told the Daily Caller.

“[Parents] should be informed [about sex education], especially the younger kids are,” Chris Newlin, executive director of the National Children’s Advocacy Center, said. “I’m just not a fan of things being held secret from parents, and kids being told not to tell.”

 

THE WAR ON MINIMUM WAGE MASCOTS CONTINUES… NY POST: Chuck E. Cheese character now accused of ignoring black child: ‘Infuriating’ (VIDEO)

Chuck E. Cheese is the latest costumed character to be accused of racial discrimination.

A mother from New Jersey posted a video to Twitter of the restaurant’s mouse mascot high-fiving numerous white kids that were standing on a stage but seemingly ignoring her black daughter dancing around him on the floor.

“On July 30 at Chuck E Cheese in Wayne, NJ, my 2yo was racially discriminated against. As you can see, he gives all of the yt kids hi-5s & PURPOSELY ignored my black baby,” user belllahijabi wrote in the post that has since been retweeted more than 32,000 times. “When confronted, he ignored me as well.”

According to the mom, the manager “made excuses” for the costumed worker.

“Saying she’s ‘sorry I feel that way’ but he didn’t see her, even after showing her the PROOF in the video,” she said in a separate tweet, adding, “This is getting out of hand!!!”

 

TIGER WOODS TURNED DOWN JAW-DROPPING OFFER TO JOIN SAUDI GOLF LEAGUE… NY POST: Greg Norman: Tiger Woods turned down LIV Golf’s $700 million-$800 million offer

LIV Golf offered a figure between $700 million-$800 million to Tiger Woods in an attempt to lure the 15-time major winner away from the PGA Tour, according to LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman.

“The number has been out there, yes,” Norman said on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Monday night. “Tiger is a needle mover. So of course you got to look at the best of the best. They originally approached Tiger before I became CEO, so yes, that number is somewhere in that neighborhood.”

The Saudi Arabia-backed golf league has grown notorious for offering audacious sums of money to pry golfers from the PGA Tour, with Woods’ offer being the most-lucrative total known to date. Norman had previously hinted at the offer, noting that the money was ‘mind-blowingly enormous.’

 

Calling all Patriots!

The People’s Liberation Army said Monday that they “won’t sit idly by” should Pelosi visit Taiwan during her tour of Asia, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. Patriots, how do you think China will respond if Pelosi visits? Do you think it’s bluster, or will the Chinese military intervene? Let us know in the form.