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News Wrap: U.S. must do more to halt another Russian attack, says Adm. Mike Rogers

In our news wrap Tuesday, Admiral Mike Rogers, head of the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command, said he has not received orders to strike directly against Russian cyber attackers accused of meddling in the last election. Also, there's word that North Korea may be helping Syria's government make chemical weapons. The New York Times reported a UN investigation found suspect shipments sent from the North.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    And in the day's other news- The head of U.S. Cyber Command says that country will have to do more to deter Russian interference in future elections.

    Admiral Mike Rogers also leads the National Security Agency. At a U.S. Senate hearing today, Rogers told Rhode Island Democrat Jack Reed that he would first need orders to strike back directly at Russian cyber-attackers.

  • Sen. Jack Reed:

    Have you been directed to do so, given the strategic threat that faces the United States and the significant consequences you recognize already?

  • Adm. Mike Rogers:

    No, I have not.

  • Sen. Jack Reed:

    But you need the direct authority of the president through the secretary of defense?

  • Adm. Mike Rogers:

    To do some specific things.

  • Sen. Jack Reed:

    Some specific things.

  • Adm. Mike Rogers:

    There are some things I have under my authority, and I am acting within that authority now, not waiting.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Rogers also warned that in the absence of stronger U.S. action — quote — "President Putin has clearly come to the conclusion there's little price to pay here."

    But White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said later that — quote — "Nobody is denying Rogers the authority to act."

    There's word that North Korea may be helping Syria's government make chemical weapons. The New York Times reports a U.N. investigation found 40 suspect shipments from the North to Syria. It also said that North Korean missile technicians were spotted at Syrian chemical weapons sites. In turn, Pyongyang could get cash for its nuclear and missile programs.

    Meanwhile, the U.S. special representative on North Korea, Joseph Yun, made a surprise announcement that he's retiring after 30 years in the Foreign Service. He cited personal reasons.

    In Syria, Russia's call for a daily five-hour truce collapsed today in rebel-held suburbs east of Damascus. War monitors and witnesses reported the government kept up its airstrikes and artillery assault on Eastern Ghouta. Some 400,000 civilians are caught in the onslaught.

  • Man (through interpreter):

    They are targeting us, but we are not with a faction or group. We are all civilians. Why are they dropping the barrels on us? They terrified the children, destroyed homes. God, bring an end to this. What kind of a cease-fire is this? A plane has been circling all night.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The Syrians and their Russian allies blamed the rebels for the continued fighting.

    The king of Saudi Arabia fired his military chief of staff and other top defense officials overnight. It came in the face of a stalemated war in Yemen. In turn, younger officials were elevated in the shakeup, including the rare naming of a woman to a high-level post as deputy labor minister.

    Rare public dissent has surfaced in China against letting President Xi Jinping rule indefinitely. Open letters appeared overnight on social media, urging Chinese lawmakers to reject the proposal. One called it a return to an imperial regime. And in Hong Kong today, dozens of demonstrators held signs of Xi depicted as an emperor and a monarch to protest the changes.

    Back in this country, West Virginia public schools stayed closed in the fourth day of a statewide teachers strike. They say they're protesting low wages and rising health care costs. This afternoon, strikers were out in full force as union leaders met with the governor at the state capitol building in Charleston.

    The new chair of the Federal Reserve offered an optimistic view of the U.S. economy today. Jay Powell wouldn't say if that means another interest rate hike is coming this year, beyond the three already projected. Instead, Powell told a House hearing that his personal outlook of the economy has improved.

  • Jerome Powell:

    We have seen continuing strength in the labor market. We have seen some data that will, in my case, add some confidence to my view that inflation is moving up to target. We have also seen continued strength around the globe. And we have seen fiscal policy become more stimulative.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    That policy stimulation includes the new tax overhaul and greatly increased government spending in the budget deal.

    On Wall Street, the Feds shared testimony that revived fears that any interest rate hikes will hurt stock prices. The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 299 points to close at 25,410. The Nasdaq fell 91 points, and the S&P 500 lost 35.

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