Pro-Palestine student activists arrested during Senate intelligence hearing on global threats

Washington DC - Several student activists were arrested for standing up for Palestinian freedom during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on global threats to US national security.

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines testifies during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on worldwide threats to American security.
Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines testifies during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on worldwide threats to American security.  © REUTERS

"Today, the United States faces a complex and interconnected threat," Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines testified during the hearing.

The stated challenges covered a wide range of topics, from narcotics trafficking at the Southern border to climate change, tensions with China, Russia's war with Ukraine, cybercrime, and more.

"The threat of malign actors exploiting these tools and technology to undercut US interests and democracy is particularly potent as voters go to the polls in more than 60 elections around the globe this year," Haines said.

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Viral Video of the Day Viral Video of the Day for May 19, 2024: Son accidentally runs straight at mom's butt in hilarious clip!

Later in the hearing, FBI Director Christopher Wray claimed TikTok is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party and poses significant concerns to Americans.

Wray also emphasized drug trafficking at the US-Mexico border, saying, "The FBI alone seized enough fentanyl in the last two years to kill 270 million people."

The potential spread of regional conflicts was another central point of discussion. Haines warned that Iranian-backed terrorist groups are directing supporters to attack US and Israeli interests amid the ongoing Gaza assault, while CIA Director Bill Burns stressed the importance of continuing US military aid to Ukraine.

"The Ukrainians are not running out of courage and tenacity. They're running out of ammunition," Burns testified before the committee.

The hearing followed the release of the 2024 Annual Threat Assessment, which details the most pressing national security threats according to US intelligence agencies.

Palestinian rights activists disrupt Senate Intelligence Committee hearing

Palestinian-American activist Moataz Salim raises a sign reading "Stop Killing My People" as he disrupts a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.
Palestinian-American activist Moataz Salim raises a sign reading "Stop Killing My People" as he disrupts a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.  © Chip Somodevilla / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

But not everyone at the hearing agreed with the intelligence officials' portrayal of the greatest worldwide security threats.

Frustrated by lack of attention to the genocide in Gaza, three student activists with CODEPINK spoke out about the dangers posed by the US' continued support for Israel's bombardment and ground invasion.

Palestinian-American activist Moataz Salim stood up and said, "Stop killing my people in Gaza. Israel is the biggest threat to national security at the moment."

Israel bombs south and north of Gaza amid mass Palestinian exodus from Rafah
Israel-Gaza War Israel bombs south and north of Gaza amid mass Palestinian exodus from Rafah

"All other actors have said an immediate and permanent ceasefire will lead to the cessation of any threat," Salim continued as he was dragged from the room by security.

Graduate student Julia Norman and environmental advocate Yosi Zelalem also raised their voices in protest. All three activists were arrested and detained.

"This meeting omitted any discussion of Israel's conduct and its blatant disregard for any international law, such as not only going forward with the Rafah offensive but also continuing to bomb deeper into Lebanon to try and ignite a widespread conflict in the Middle East. Israel's actions do more to destabilize the Middle East than any other actor in the region," Salim said in a press release.

The action reflects growing opposition from everyday Americans to US government policy toward Israel. In addition to billions in military funding the US government provides Israel each year, the Biden administration has reportedly approved over 100 arms sales since the assault on Gaza began.

The weapons transfers have earned the president widespread accusations of complicity in genocide.

Cover photo: Collage: CHIP SOMODEVILLA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

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