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NATO Summit in Washington, DC shields world leaders from crime threats in nation's capital

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NATO Summit in Washington, DC shields world leaders from crime threats in nation's capital


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Washington, D.C., has implemented heightened security measures in and around government buildings to shield world leaders visiting the nation’s capital for the 2024 NATO Summit this week from potential crime threats.

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Fencing, barricades and road closures have cordoned off parts of the city. Homicides and carjackings have dipped so far in 2024, but violent crime spiked in the capital last year and remains a top issue in the nation’s capital.

Mike Verden, former Secret Service agent and founder and CEO of security firm Lake Forest Group, says Washington, D.C., is likely the best-equipped city in the United States to handle security for the international event, because the capital has a range of city and federal agencies that handle both local crime and coordinated threats.

“With Washington, D.C., you have a number of different local and federal law enforcement agencies. It is like no other place in the world, really. … You have the U.S. Capitol Police, you have the U.S. Marshals, you have the Metro Police for the city of Washington,” he told Fox News Digital.

NATO SUMMIT IN DC IS ‘PIVOTAL’ MAKE-OR-BREAK MOMENT FOR BIDEN AS SCRUTINY OVER FITNESS FOR OFFICE INTENSIFIES

Units from the Washington, D.C., National Guard are being deployed to assist with security for the NATO Summit in Washington, D.C. (Andrew Leyden/NurPhoto)

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Verden, who helped plan security for the NATO Summit in Chicago in 2021, said the conference would be designated as a National Special Security Event (NSSE), which involves three primary federal agencies responsible for safety, security and emergency management for the event. These agencies include the Secret Service, the FBI and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“In my experience, I think Washington, D.C., is better equipped to handle this scale with respect to the NSSE classification that any other city in the world,” he told Fox News Digital.

Representatives from 32 different countries, including new members Finland and Sweden, will be convening in Washinton, D.C., between Wednesday and Friday to mark the 75th anniversary of NATO. Physical security in downtown includes fencing, barricades, special ID badge checks and military vehicles blocking access to certain roads.

NATO leaders pose for a family photo during the NATO 75th anniversary celebration at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, DC.

NATO leaders pose for a family photo during the NATO 75th anniversary celebration at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C., on July 9, 2024. (SAUL LOEB / AFP)

“There’s 30-some countries in NATO, and all of those heads of state are protected by the Secret Service,” Verden explained. “We actually assign a dignitary protective detail to the visiting head of state. In addition to that — this is applicable to Washington, D.C. — you have TFRs, which are temporary flight restrictions, and … you have the Coast Guard on the water.”

Former Washinton, D.C., homicide detective and Fox News contributor Ted Williams called the heightened security measures this week a “necessary minor inconvenience to keep world leaders visiting D.C. safe.”

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DC OFFICIAL USED RESTORATIVE JUSTICE FOR YOUNG CRIMINALS OF STABBINGS, HATE CRIMES TO AVOID JAIL TIME

Units from the Washington DC National Guard are being deployed to assist with security for the NATO Summit in Washington DC

Units from the Washington, D.C., National Guard are being deployed to assist with security for the NATO Summit in Washington, D.C. (Andrew Leyden/NurPhoto)

“The last thing we need is an international incident that embarrasses our country hosting the NATO convention here in the District of Columbia,” Williams told Fox News Digital.

While local crime is taken into consideration, “intelligence is a key component” in assessing risk during the summit, Verden explained. “Based on the intelligence, they’re going to come up with a risk profile. Based on the risk profile, they may ask for additional assets such as National Guard or more manpower or stricter flight restrictions. It’s driven by intelligence.”

D.C.'s road closures during the 2024 NATO Summit.

Washington, D.C.’s Metro closures during the 2024 NATO Summit. (MPD)

D.C.'s road closures during the 2024 NATO Summit.

Washinton, D.C.’s road closures during the 2024 NATO Summit. (MPD)

He added that the “emerging threat” that is “top of mind” for most security officials currently are demonstrations, specifically those regarding war between Israel and Hamas, as well as Ukraine and Russia.

WOULD-BE CARJACKER TARGETS SUPREME COURT JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR SECURITY DETAIL OFFICER, SUSPECT SHOT

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Ukrainians and supporters attend solidarity with Ukraine demonstration in front of the Washington Monument during the 75th NATO Summit in Washington, DC.

Ukrainians and supporters attend a solidarity with Ukraine demonstration in front of the Washington Monument during the 75th NATO Summit in Washington, D.C. on July 9. (Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto)

Williams said law enforcement downtown will be “prepared” for demonstrations that could turn violent, noting that the last time Washington, D.C., put up similar fencing was after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. 

The heightened security also comes as the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) works to curb juvenile crime. Earlier this month, the police department implemented a youth curfew that will last until August, meaning juveniles will face disciplinary consequences if they are seen out and about unsupervised between midnight and 6 a.m. for the next two months.

The map shows a map of NATO members

The map shows a map of NATO members. (Fox News)

While curfews are not new in Washington, D.C., MPD has experienced staffing shortages over the last few years, which may make it difficult for the department to enforce the curfew, Williams noted.

“There is a law enforcement shortage not only in Washington, D.C., but all over the country … and that’s going to be one of the most difficult problems … because there are many exceptions to the D.C. curfew,” Williams said. “For instance, person, a young person under the age of 17 can be out with his parents or guardians during the time of the curfew. Young people are permitted to be in the front of their homes during the time of the curfew and not be in violation. … Young people are permitted to go back and forth to work during the curfew.”

The skyline of Washington, D.C., including the U.S. Capitol building, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial. and National Mall, is seen from the air, Jan. 29, 2010.

The skyline of Washington, D.C., including the U.S. Capitol building, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and National Mall, is seen from the air on Jan. 29, 2010. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Juveniles make up a large portion of criminal suspects tied to certain violent crimes, such as carjackings. The curfew is supposed to help curb those numbers while kids are out of school for the summer.

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“But curfews can work if they can be enforced. As it stands right now, it may be more smoke and mirror than reality because you are limited in the amount of law enforcement officers that are on the street at any given time,” Williams said. “And when you think about a law enforcement officer having to specifically deal with crime on the street and also trying to enforce a curfew, that’s an insurmountable task.”

Violent and property crime has decreased in Washington, D.C., since last year, while all crime across the capital is down 17%, according to MPD statistics.



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Washington

Washington Post branded ‘thoughtless’ over tweet on hostage’s parents

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Washington Post branded ‘thoughtless’ over tweet on hostage’s parents


Jewish organizations and figures slammed the Washington Post on Friday for an X post, and accompanying article, on the parents of hostage Omer Neutra.

In a social media post sharing an article on Neutra’s parents, the Washington Post wrote “Omer Neutra has been missing since the Oct. 7 attack on Israel. When his parents speak publicly, they don’t talk about Israel’s assault on Gaza that has killed over 38,000 Palestinians according to local officials. Experts have warned of looming famine.”

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The Washington Post later deleted the post, sharing “A previous post referencing the below story was unacceptable and did not meet our editorial standards, and The Post has deleted it. The reporter of the story was not involved in crafting the tweet. We have taken the appropriate action regarding this incident. https://wapo.st/3zZ6Lwz”

The site posted about the article again, this time writing “Omer Neutra, an American hostage in the Israel-Hamas war, has been missing since the Oct. 7 attack on Israel.   His parents have mounted a relentless effort to get him released, speaking to anyone who might be able to support their cause.”

Parents of New York born hostage Omer Neutra fear threat of Iranian attack will draw focus away from hostages (13/4/2024) (credit: families hillary clinton, families white house, Orna Daniel Neutra DC rally, RONEN AND ORNA NEUTRA, WHITE HOUSE/POLLY IRUNGU)
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They added, “We’ve deleted a previous tweet for this story that mischaracterized the efforts of Neutra’s parents.”

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, sharing a screenshot of the post, wrote “Are you kidding me, @washingtonpost? You may have deleted the post, but the thoughtless characterization of Omer Neutra’s parents – who have spent the last 287 days not knowing the fate of their son after he was kidnapped by terrorists on Oct 7 – remains in your article.

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“In what world did anyone find it acceptable to publish in the first place?

“And to add insult to injury, the article cites “local officials,” aka the Gaza Health Ministry, which is run by Hamas – the terror organization that launched the barbaric 10/7 massacre that led to the ongoing war.”

The American Jewish Committee also commented on the X post, stating “The parents of Israeli-American hostage Omer Neutra have one goal: TRYING TO FREE THEIR SON from Hamas captivity. That’s all they need to say. How could this tweet have been posted? Shame on @WashingtonPost  for calling the Neutra’s morality into question.”

Israel’s embassy to the United States also took issue with the post, sharing on X “Even after updating their offensively misleading tweet, @washingtonpost still insisted on saying that 22-year-old American hostage, Omer Neutra, has been “MISSING” since October 7th.  This isn’t a game of hide and seek. Omer was KIDNAPPED to GAZA by HAMAS TERRORISTS and has been held captive in unimaginable conditions for over 9 months.”

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About the Washington Post article

While the social media post claimed that Neutra is “missing,” the article did acknowledge that he was taken hostage but did not mention that it was Hamas terrorists who abducted him.

The article explicitly mentioned Neutra’s parents, Orna and Ronen, “The couple declined to discuss their own political affiliations, saying it’s irrelevant.”

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The author also charged that both Orna and Ronen “don’t talk about the ferocity of Israel’s counterattack, which has killed more than 38,000 Palestinians and left nearly 90,000 injured” when they speak publicly. The author attributed this figure to the Gaza health ministry, failing to mention its affiliation with Hamas. 

What’s happening in Gaza is “horrible,” Orna told the Washington Post, while asserting that Hamas could end it by releasing the hostages. Ronen shared Orna’s belief, telling the Post Hamas is “not only holding hostage our son, they’re also holding hostage the people of Gaza.”

Omer Neutra

Neutra, 22, is an American-Israeli who deferred his college admission to Binghamton University to join the IDF.

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Neutra was working as a tank commander on October 7, and his family had not heard from him since the day before the attack.

Born in New York only a month after September 11, Orna told Republican National Conference attendees how, during her pregnancy, she was “just trying to get him out of harm’s way. And it’s just insane that 23 years later, he was caught in this vile terrorist attack.” 





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Analysis | What Families USA’s new boss brings to the table

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Analysis | What Families USA’s new boss brings to the table


Good morning, and TGIF. Mississippi ranks last in women’s health and reproductive care outcomes across the United States, according to a new Commonwealth Fund scorecard, which places Massachusetts at the top. Find out how your state ranks here. Got tips? Send them to mckenzie.beard@washpost.com.

Today’s edition: Two top senators want to haul the leader of embattled Steward Health Care to Capitol Hill. Federal regulators approved a best selling e-cigarette — but only in tobacco flavor. But first …

Q&A: Where Anthony Wright wants to lead Families USA

Anthony Wright, the new executive director of Families USA, is hitting the ground running.

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Last week, Wright started his new role in Washington after 22 years as executive director of Health Access California. I caught up with him to discuss his vision for one of the nation’s leading health-care advocacy organizations. Our conversation has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Health brief: Are there lessons you learned at Health Access California that you think will be helpful in Washington?

Wright: One lesson is to make sure that there’s a strong consumer voice in the crafting of health-care policy. Patients and the public are sometimes left out of these discussions, but they are the point of the health-care system and should be at the center of the conversation.

Health brief: What health policy issues do you intend to prioritize early in your tenure?

Wright: Right now, we have a government guarantee that nobody has to spend more than 8.5 percent of their income on health coverage, but that’s set to expire in the next year.

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If those tax credits are allowed to expire, that would mean a spike in premiums of hundreds of dollars per month on average and potentially around 5 million Americans losing coverage. That’s a crucial policy that we need to get lawmakers on the record about as we go into this fall.

Health brief: How are you preparing for 2025 and the election aftermath?

Wright: We need to be very clear that our health care is on the ballot. There are stark differences on health care that we need to hear from our policymakers on, whether it’s reproductive health, the ACA and its future, the [expanded tax credits] or prescription drug prices.

On prescription drug prices, we could see [the federal government] either expanding both the number of drugs that we negotiate over and having those discounted prices be extended to a much broader set of payers and patients. Or we could see that power be repealed.

In terms of the ACA, it’s not just the 5 million people who could lose coverage under the expiration of those subsidies. It’s the 20 million-plus folks that might lose coverage under a total repeal … [which would bring on] spiking premiums leading the market into a death spiral.

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Health brief: Is there anything you achieved in California that you’d like to see replicated on a national scale?

Wright: In California, we worked a lot on the issues of cost and value, and Families USA has also been a leader in that. We created an Office of Health Care Affordability that set a goal for health growth, which a number of states are following.

Given my background growing up in the Bronx in the poorest congressional district in the country, being a son of an immigrant from Ecuador and the grandson of immigrants from Ireland and China, and actually even being uninsured for parts of my childhood, issues of access, economic security and equity are a personal passion for me. That’s something I was happy to work on in California and want to continue doing so with this national cap.

On the Hill

Sanders, Cassidy seek subpoena vote for Steward Health CEO

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is launching an investigation into the bankruptcy of Steward Health Care, a Dallas-based company with private equity ties that owns 31 hospitals across eight states.

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Chair Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and ranking member Bill Cassidy (R-La.) announced that the panel will vote on July 25 to subpoena Steward’s CEO, Ralph de la Torre, to testify at a Sept. 12 hearing on the health system’s financial decisions leading up to its May bankruptcy filing.

Key context: Steward is selling all of its U.S. hospitals to help offload its $9 billion debt, which includes $1.2 billion in loans, $6.6 billion in unpaid rent, nearly $1 billion in unpaid bills from medical vendors and suppliers, and $290 million in unpaid employee wages and benefits.

Steward has blamed rising interest rates, labor costs and insufficient government health insurance reimbursement rates for its bankruptcy. Newly released court documents also show that in the months leading up to the filing, top executives awarded themselves multimillion dollar payouts.

Zooming out: Steward’s bankruptcy is being probed in several states, including Massachusetts and Arizona. The health system is also under scrutiny by the Justice Department, which recently launched a criminal investigation into the company over allegations of fraud and corruption, according to Michael Kaplan of CBS News.

Steward didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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Agency alert

FDA allows sales of more tobacco-flavored vapes

The Food and Drug Administration is allowing R.J. Reynolds to keep several e-cigarette products on the market, my colleague Rachel Roubein reports.

Federal health officials authorized sales of seven of the company’s Vuse Alto vaping products, but only for tobacco-flavored pods.

The agency stressed the move “does not mean these tobacco products are safe.” In a statement, the FDA said the company showed the products have the potential to provide a benefit to adults who smoke cigarettes, adding that kids are less likely to use tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes compared to other flavors.

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The background: Last year, the FDA denied R.J. Reynolds’s application for several menthol-flavored products, a decision the company has challenged in court. But last month, the agency authorized the first menthol-flavored e-cigarette products, manufactured by NJOY, which drew swift criticism from some public health advocates.

A government watchdog found compliance issues with federal Medicaid eligibility redetermination requirements in nearly all states, including with long-standing requirements.

Key context: A pandemic-era policy prevented Americans from being dropped from Medicaid until it expired in April 2023. This prompted states to review their ballooning rolls and remove those no longer eligible for the safety net program.

The Government Accountability Office identified several compliance issues during the so-called “unwinding.” For instance, about 420,000 eligible individuals, including children, lost coverage because states assessed household, not individual, eligibility, according to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services.

  • The watchdog recommended that CMS document and implement oversight practices to prevent and detect state compliance issues with redeterminations. The agency agreed with the GAO’s recommendation.

In other health news

On the move: Joel McElvain is now acting deputy general counsel at HHS, overseeing matters related to CMS. McElvain, a longtime Justice Department official, had previously been serving as HHS special counsel, working on drug-price negotiation.

Quote of the week

“I shouldn’t have to go into medical debt just to be able to live.”

— Virginia Beach resident Robyn DeChabert on a pharmacy charging her $1,700 for a Paxlovid prescription.

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Health reads

At RNC convention, Republicans differ on how much to focus on abortion (By Meryl Kornfield and Hannah Knowles | The Washington Post)

What to know about cheaper, imitation weight-loss drugs (By Daniel Gilbert and Teddy Amenabar | The Washington Post)

Covid summer wave spreads across U.S., even infecting Biden (By Fenit Nirappil and Lizette Ortega | The Washington Post)

Sugar rush

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Washington

Christian homeless shelter challenges Washington state law prohibiting anti-LGBTQ+ hiring practices

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Christian homeless shelter challenges Washington state law prohibiting anti-LGBTQ+ hiring practices


SAN FRANCISCO — Lawyers for a Christian homeless shelter are scheduled to be in a federal appeals court Friday to challenge a Washington state anti-discrimination law that would require the charity to hire LGBTQ+ people and others who do not share its religious beliefs, including those on sexuality and marriage.

Union Gospel Mission in Yakima, about 150 miles (240 kilometers) southeast of Seattle, is asking the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to revive a lawsuit dismissed by a lower court. The Alliance Defending Freedom, a global legal organization, is assisting the mission.

Ryan Tucker, senior counsel with the alliance, said the mission faces prosecution for engaging in its “constitutionally protected freedom to hire fellow believers who share the mission’s calling to spread the gospel and care for vulnerable people” in the community.

But U.S. District Judge Mary K. Dimke dismissed the case last year, agreeing with attorneys for the state that the lawsuit filed by Yakima’s mission was a prohibited appeal of another case decided by the Washington Supreme Court.

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The current case arises out of a 2017 lawsuit filed by Matt Woods, a bisexual Christian man who was denied a job as an attorney at a legal aid clinic operated by the Union Gospel Mission in Seattle. Washington’s Law Against Discrimination exempts religious nonprofits, but in 2021 the state Supreme Court held that the religious hiring exemption should only apply to ministerial positions.

The case was sent back to trial to determine if the role of legal aid attorney would fall under the exemption but Woods said he dismissed the case because he had gotten the ruling he sought and did not want to pursue monetary damages from a homeless shelter.

“I’m confident that the trial court would have found that a staff attorney position with a legal aid clinic is not a ministerial position,” he said in an email to The Associated Press.

The Union Gospel Mission in Yakima says its policy is to hire only co-religionists who adhere to its religious beliefs and expects “employees to abstain from sexual immorality, including adultery, nonmarried cohabitation, and homosexual conduct,” according to court documents.

The mission has held off on hiring an IT consultant and operations assistant.

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The U.S. Supreme Court in 2022 denied review of the Woods decision, but Justice Samuel Alito said “the day may soon come when we must decide whether the autonomy guaranteed by the First Amendment protects religious organizations’ freedom to hire co-religionists without state or judicial interference.”



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