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3 US soldiers killed in Jordan drone strike identified: The Morning Rundown, Jan. 30, 2024

Jan 30

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The Defense Department identifies the three U.S. soldiers killed in a drone strike at a base in Jordan as officials investigate how the attack happened. And Elon Musk says his Neuralink startup has successfully implanted a computer chip into a human’s brain for the first time. These stories and more highlight The Morning Rundown for Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024.

3 U.S. soldiers killed in Jordan drone strike identified

The identities of the three U.S. soldiers who were killed in an attack on a military base in Jordan on Sunday, Jan. 28, have been released as the investigation is revealing new details. The Defense Department said 46-year-old Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 23-year-old Spc. Breonna Moffett and 24-year-old Spc. Kennedy Sanders, all from Georgia, were killed by an unmanned aerial drone attack on the troops’ sleeping quarters in the early morning hours.

More than 40 others were injured, and eight were critically wounded. Officials said they are looking into the possibility that American forces may have mistaken the enemy drone for a U.S. one. They cite a preliminary report that said the enemy drone was flying in at a low altitude as a U.S. drone was returning to the base.

The Biden administration blamed an Iranian-backed militia group for the attack, the first in which American soldiers have been killed since the start of the Israel-Hamas war. Iran has denied it was behind the strike. White House National Security spokesperson John Kirby echoed President Joe Biden’s comments a day earlier. Kriby said the U.S. would respond.

“We do not seek another war. We do not seek to escalate,” Kirby said. “But we will absolutely do what is required to protect ourselves, to continue that mission, and to respond appropriately to these attacks.”

All three soldiers who died were part of Operation Inherent Resolve, tasked with defeating ISIS in the region. The strike is believed to be the deadliest attack on U.S. service members since 13 Americans were killed in Afghanistan in 2021.

Six-week pause in war proposed for release of more hostages

Talks of another pause in the war between Israel and Hamas are in the early stages. Still, officials said the framework to deal is expected to be presented to Hamas that would see a six-week stoppage in fighting and the release of more hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.

The terms were drafted by representatives of the United States, Israel, Qatar, and Egypt on Sunday, Jan. 28, in Paris. CIA Director William Burns was among those working on the plan that Qatar would present to Hamas officials, and they would then send back a response.

“We are hoping actually, to relay this proposal to Hamas and to get them to a place where they engage positively and constructively in the process.” Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al Thani said during an Atlantic Council webinar.

Officials told the New York Times the early framework called for Hamas to release elderly hostages as well as any remaining women and children during the pause in fighting. When asked on Monday, Jan. 29, about the plan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken replied, “The less said, the better.” He added the proposal on the table is a “compelling one” and “there is some real hope going forward.”

IRS contractor sentenced to 5 years for leaking Trump’s tax records

The former IRS contractor responsible for leaking former President Donald Trump’s tax information to news outlets has been sentenced to five years in prison. Thirty-eight-year-old Charles Edward Littlejohn, a former Internal Revenue Service contractor, received the maximum sentence on Monday, Jan. 29, handed down by U.S. District Judge Ana Reyes. Reyes, handing down the sentence, said the crime targeted the nation’s democracy.

I acted out of a sincere, if misguided, belief I was serving the public interest.

Charles Edward Littlejohn

Prosecutors said Littlejohn leaked tax data to the New York Times and ProPublica between 2018 and 2020; prosecutors called the leaks “unparalleled in the IRS’s history” and argued that Littlejohn applied to be an IRS contractor to get Trump’s tax returns and figured out how to search for records without sounding alarms.

“I acted out of a sincere, if misguided, belief I was serving the public interest,” Littlejohn said.

Littlejohn was also fined $5,000 and will be under three years of supervised release following his prison sentence. Judge Reyes said the crime was so extraordinary that the punishment must “deter others who might feel an obligation to break the law.”

Cyberattack targets government systems where Trump faces election interference charges

A cyberattack targeted Fulton County, Georgia, government systems, where former President Donald Trump faces election interference charges. According to a Fulton County official, the attack, which is being investigated by law enforcement, targeted devices that use county servers, including those used by District Attorney Fani Willis’ Office.

A county commissioner said there is no indication that any sensitive information about employees or citizens has been leaked, and there is no timeline for when the threat will end and when systems will be restored.

The attack comes as Willis faces filing deadlines in the election interference case against Trump. This week, Willis will be heard in front of a judge as to why she should not be disqualified from prosecuting the case following allegations that she had a relationship with the special prosecutor she hired to work on the Trump case.

Elon Musk says Neuralink has implanted computer chip in first human

Startup firm Neuralink has successfully implanted a computer chip into a human brain for the first time, according to the company’s founder, Elon Musk. Posting on “X,” another of his properties, the tech billionaire said the patient received the implant on Sunday, Jan. 28, and is “recovering well.”

Musk said initial results showed “promising neuron spike detection” but gave no further details on the procedure or the patient. In May of 2023, Neuralink announced it received approval from the FDA to conduct its first-in-human clinical study.

In a follow-up post, Musk said the first Neuralink product called “telepathy” will enable the patient to use a phone or computer to control any device just by thinking. Musk said initial users will be those who have lost the use of their limbs.

Pilot believes he may have found Amelia Earhart’s long-lost plane

It’s one of the greatest mysteries of all time that many thought may never be solved. Whatever happened to Amelia Earhart’s lost plane? Now one pilot believes he has found the answer at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

Tony Romeo, a former Air Force intelligence officer, said he and his crew at Deep Sea Vision may have discovered the long-lost wreckage of Earhart’s twin-engine aircraft after scanning more than 5,200 square miles of ocean floor.

The $11 million expedition used an underwater drone to capture a sonar image resembling the shape of an airplane near Howland Island, halfway between Australia and Hawaii. Earhart was set to land on the island for refueling during her 1937 flight, in which she had hoped to be the first pilot to circumnavigate the globe.

Because the images are blurry, Romeo said his team will return to the site later this year to take clearer photos to confirm if it is indeed the long-lost plane.

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THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT IDENTIFIES THE THREE U.S. SOLDIERS KILLED IN JORDAN AS OFFICIALS INVESTIGATE HOW THE ATTACK HAPPENED

AND — ELON MUSK SAYS HIS NEURALINK STARTUP HAS SUCCESSFULLY IMPLANTED A COMPUTER CHIP INTO A HUMAN’S BRAIN FOR THE FIRST TIME

THE MORNING RUNDOWN STARTS NOW.

TODAY IS TUESDAY, JANUARY 30TH.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

I’M KARAH RUCKER.

WE NOW KNOW THE IDENTITIES OF THE THREE U.S. SOLDIERS WHO WERE KILLED IN AN ATTACK ON A MILITARY BASE IN JORDAN

AND A POSSIBLE EXPLANATION AS TO HOW A DRONE WAS ABLE TO PASS THROUGH U.S. AIR DEFENSE SYSTEMS.

THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT SAYS 46-YEAR-OLD SERGEANT WILLIAM RIVERS, 23-YEAR-OLD SPECIALIST BREONNA MOFFETT (MAH-FIT), AND 24-YEAR-OLD SPECIALIST KENNEDY SANDERS – ALL FROM GEORGIA — WERE KILLED IN A DRONE ATTACK —

STRIKING TROOPS’ SLEEPING QUARTERS IN THE EARLY MORNING HOURS.

MORE THAN 40 OTHER SERVICE MEMBERS WERE INJURED – EIGHT OF THEM CRITICALLY WOUNDED.

OFFICIALS SAY THEY ARE LOOKING INTO THE POSSIBILITY THAT AMERICAN FORCES MAY HAVE MISTAKEN THE ENEMY DRONE FOR A U.S. DRONE THAT WAS RETURNING TO BASE AROUND THE SAME TIME.

THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION BLAMES AN IRANIAN-BACKED MILITIA GROUP FOR THE ATTACK  —

IRAN HAS DENIED THE ALLEGATION.

WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY SPOKESPERSON JOHN KIRBY ECHOING PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN’S COMMENTS A DAY EARLIER – SAYING THE U.S. WILL RESPOND.

JOHN KIRBY | WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY SPOKESPERSON: “We do not seek another war. We do not seek to escalate. But we will absolutely do what is required to protect ourselves, to continue that mission and to respond appropriately to these attacks.”

ALL THREE SOLDIERS WHO DIED WERE PART OF OPERATION INHERENT RESOLVE – TASKED WITH DEFEATING ISIS IN THE REGION.

THE STRIKE IS BELIEVED TO BE THE DEADLIEST ATTACK ON U.S. SERVICE MEMBERS SINCE 13 AMERICANS WERE KILLED IN AFGHANISTAN IN 2021.

NEGOTIATIONS FOR ANOTHER TEMPORARY CEASEFIRE IN GAZA HAVE BEEN STALLED FOR MONTHS.

NOW — ANOTHER PROPOSAL FOR HAMAS TO CONSIDER.

A SIX-WEEK PAUSE IN FIGHTING FOR THE RELEASE OF HOSTAGES.

THE TERMS OF THIS POTENTIAL DEAL WERE DRAFTED BY THE U-S, ISRAEL, QATAR AND EGYPT.

QATAR WILL PRESENT THE OFFER TO HAMAS OFFICIALS – WHO HAVE REJECTED OTHER SIMILAR DEALS BECAUSE THEY WANT AN **END TO THE WAR — NOT ANOTHER TEMPORARY PAUSE.

SOMETHING ISRAEL HAS BEEN FIRMLY AGAINST.

OFFICIALS TELL THE NEW YORK TIMES — THIS PROPOSAL WOULD CALL FOR HAMAS TO RELEASE ELDERLY HOSTAGES AND ANY REMAINING WOMEN AND CHILDREN.

WHEN SECRETARY OF STATE ANTONY BLINKEN  WAS ASKED ABOUT THE DEAL — HE REPLIED “THE LESS SAID THE BETTER.”

BUT DID SAY THE PROPOSAL ON THE TABLE IS A “COMPELLING ONE” AND “THERE IS REAL HOPE GOING FORWARD.”

THE FORMER I-R-S CONTRACTOR RESPONSIBLE FOR LEAKING FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP’S TAX INFORMATION HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO FIVE YEARS IN PRISON.

THIRTY-EIGHT YEAR-OLD CHARLES EDWARD LITTLEJOHN RECEIVED THE MAXIMUM SENTENCE ON MONDAY.

THE U-S DISTRICT JUDGE SAYING THE CRIME TARGETED THE NATION’S DEMOCRACY.

PROSECUTORS ARGUED THE MAN APPLIED TO BE AN I-R-S CONTRACTOR TO GET TRUMP’S TAX RETURNS AND FIGURED OUT HOW TO SEARCH FOR THEM WITHOUT SOUNDING ALARMS.

HE THEN LEAKED THE TAX DATA TO THE NEW YORK TIMES AND PRO-PUBLICA BETWEEN 20-18 AND 20-20.

IN THE COURTROOM — LITTLEJOHN APOLOGIZED FOR HIS ACTIONS SAYING HE BELIEVED HE WAS serving the public interest.”

HE WAS ALSO FINED 5-THOUSAND DOLLARS AND WILL BE UNDER THREE-YEARS OF SUPERVISED RELEASE FOLLOWING HIS 5 YEAR SENTENCE.

A CYBERATTACK TARGETED GOVERNMENT SYSTEMS IN FULTON COUNTY GEORGIA WHERE FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP FACES ELECTION INTERFERENCE CHARGES.

ACCORDING TO A FULTON COUNTY OFFICIAL, THE ATTACK TARGETED COUNTY SERVERS, INCLUDING THOSE USED BY DISTRICT ATTORNEY FANI WILLIS.

A COUNTY COMMISSIONER SAYS THERE IS NO INDICATION THAT ANY SENSITIVE INFORMATION HAS BEEN LEAKED AND THERE IS NO TIMELINE FOR WHEN SYSTEMS WILL BE RESTORED.

THIS WEEK — WILLIS WILL EXPLAIN TO A JUDGE WHY SHE SHOULD NOT BE DISQUALIFIED FROM PROSECUTING THE ELECTION INTERFERENCE CASE — FOLLOWING ALLEGATIONS THAT SHE HAD AN IMPROPER RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR SHE HIRED TO HELP WITH THE CASE.

ELON MUSK IS TOUTING NEW ADVANCEMENTS MADE BY ONE OF HIS COMPANIES.

NOT TESLA OR SPACE X —

BUT AT “NEURALINK.”

MUSK SAYS THE NEURO-TECH COMPANY HAS SUCCESSFULLY IMPLANTED A COMPUTER CHIP INTO A HUMAN BRAIN FOR THE FIRST TIME.

POSTING ON X – ANOTHER ONE  OF HIS PROPERTIES – MUSK SAYS THE PATIENT RECEIVED THE IMPLANT ON SUNDAY AND IS “RECOVERING WELL.”

MUSK SAID INITIAL RESULTS SHOW “PROMISING NEURON SPIKE DETECTION” – BUT GAVE NO FURTHER DETAILS.

LAST MAY – NEURALINK RECEIVED APPROVAL FROM THE FDA TO CONDUCT ITS FIRST IN-HUMAN CLINICAL STUDY.

MUSK ALSO ANNOUNCED THE FIRST NEURALINK PRODUCT WILL BE CALLED “TELEPATHY” — AND WILL ALLOW A PATIENT TO USE A PHONE OR COMPUTER TO CONTROL ANY DEVICE – JUST BY THINKING.

MUSK SAID INITIAL USERS WILL BE THOSE WHO HAVE LOST THE USE OF THEIR LIMBS.

FINALLY THIS MORNING – IT’S ONE OF THE GREATEST MYSTERIES OF ALL TIME — ONE THAT MANY THOUGHT MAY NEVER BE SOLVED.

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO AMELIA EARHART’S LOST PLANE?

NOW ONE PILOT BELIEVES HE HAS FOUND THE ANSWER – AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PACIFIC OCEAN.

TONY ROMEO, A FORMER AIR FORCE INTELLIGENCE OFFICER, SAYS HE AND HIS CREW AT “DEEP SEA VISION” MAY HAVE DISCOVERED THE LONG-LOST WRECKAGE OF EARHART’S TWIN ENGINE AIRCRAFT – AFTER SCANNING MORE THAN 5 THOUSAND SQUARE MILES OF OCEAN FLOOR.

THE 11 MILLION DOLLAR EXPEDITION USED AN UNDERWATER DRONE TO CAPTURE A SONAR IMAGE RESEMBLING THE SHAPE OF AN AIRPLANE NEAR HOWLAND (HOW-LIND) ISLAND – HALFWAY BETWEEN AUSTRALIA AND HAWAII.

EARHART WAS SET TO LAND ON THE ISLAND TO REFUEL DURING HER 1937 FLIGHT – IN WHICH SHE HAD HOPED TO BE THE FIRST PILOT TO FLY AROUND THE WORLD.

BECAUSE THE IMAGES ARE BLURRY – ROMEO SAYS HIS TEAM WILL RETURN TO THE SITE LATER THIS YEAR TO TAKE CLEARER PHOTOS TO CONFIRM IF IT IS INDEED THE LONG-LOST PLANE.

THESE ARE YOUR TOP STORIES FOR THIS TUESDAY.

YOU CAN NOW CONNECT WITH THE MORNING RUNDOWN IN A VARIETY OF WAYS — INCLUDING SUBSCRIBING TO OUR PODCAST OR SIGNING UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER.

JUST GO TO SAN DOT COM SLASH RUNDOWN FOR MORE DETAILS.

UNBIASED. STRAIGHT FACTS. THAT’S STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS.

WE’LL SEE YOU BACK HERE TOMORROW.

UNTIL THEN I’M KARAH RUCKER. HAVE A GREAT DAY!

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