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Rep. John Katko warns of heightened threat to homeland amid Afghanistan crisis

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Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), the top Republican on the House Committee on Homeland Security, is warning that the collapse of the Afghan government into Taliban control has led to an increased threat of an attack on U.S. soil. 

The New York Republican said that the Biden administration’s handling of the withdrawal of troops — which led to the rapid Taliban takeover in the region — has put the U.S. in a more vulnerable position, restricting its access to intel and providing a “safe haven” for terrorists. 

“I guess the best way to describe it is that the United States is in a much more difficult posture today than it was even two days ago,” he told The Post in an interview. “And because we are going back to our pre-9/11 footing, Afghanistan is going to provide a breeding ground once again for terrorists, and that has profound implications for the homeland.” 

Katko noted the fall of the allied Afghan government in conjunction with the release of thousands of prisoners, including senior al Qaeda operatives, after the Taliban captured Bagram Air Base on Sunday heightens the risk for a 9/11-style attack. He cautioned that vulnerabilities at the southern border could become increasingly problematic, and called on the administration to implement stronger policies to reduce the possibility of terrorists entering the country. 

Taliban members are seen near Hamid Karzai International Airport as thousands of Afghans rush to flee the Afghan capital.
Taliban members are seen near Hamid Karzai International Airport as thousands of Afghans rush to flee the Afghan capital.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

“Let’s not forget that  is where the 9/11 attacks emanated from, in Afghanistan, and the terror training camps they had there. So you have that and you have 5,000 prisoners, many of whom are the worst of the worst among the terror community, that were released into the population the last couple of days, and they have the ability to set up camp and start their operations once again in Afghanistan,” he continued. 

“You couple that with the open borders that we have in the southern border that we have on the southern border of the United States, and the fact that we’ve already seen a significant uptick in the number of known or suspected terrorists coming across the border this year, it’s a recipe for disaster.” 

Katko added that the Taliban’s increasing power also creates the capacity for terrorists ability to recruit homegrown radicals. 

“The final piece of the puzzle is that they will also have a base from which they can really, in a more sophisticated manner,  foment the homegrown violent extremism in the United States like ISIS was pretty adept at doing when they were in their prime and have a territory,” he said 

Katko said that by leaving the region the U.S. has surrendered part of its ability to collect critical intel from adversaries that could help prevent a terrorist attack in the homeland.

People gather around a Taliban flag as they wait for relatives released from jail in Afghanistan following an 'amnesty' by the Taliban.
People gather around a Taliban flag as they wait for relatives released from jail in Afghanistan following an ‘amnesty’ by the Taliban.
AFP via Getty Images

It’s gonna be very difficult to prevent it now, not impossible but much more difficult, because we don’t have boots on the ground there, and we don’t have intel gathering opportunities there. So that’s a real real concern, and we are going to be kind of flying blind trying to anticipate what’s going on with terror networks who can operate in the dark web and everything else so it’s gonna be very difficult,” he said. “I don’t think, not America has a stomach to try and go back in now and put the genie back in the bottle because to do so they have to spend a tremendous amount of bloodshed again and treasure and I don’t think the American people are willing to do that nor do I think we should do that.” 

The New York Republican said that the administration will need to “redouble our intel community efforts” moving forward.

“There’s no question that our presence over there was, it was at a great tremendous cost to American soldiers and to the American people. But there’s also no question that their presence made us safer and kept our country safer back home,” he said. 

A Taliban fighter holds RPG as he stands guard with others at an entrance gate outside the Interior Ministry in Kabul.
A Taliban fighter holds RPG as he stands guard with others at an entrance gate outside the Interior Ministry in Kabul.
AFP via Getty Images

“There’s no question that if we even kept at 2500 at Bagram Airbase, and just had  basically a security posture, or a defensive posture, and continued to interact with the Afghan army and have our drones, which are terrifying to the bad guys, have them there in a meaningful operate with efficiency, we would be in a much better position there.” 

In addition to the increased threat from terrorist groups including Taliban, al Qaeda and ISIS, Katkop said that China’s decision to recognize the Taliban as Afghanistan’s official government could prove to be detrimental for the nation’s security. 

“It’s a tremendous threat because China now has a proxy, that being the Taliban ,and again the terrorists are sure to flourish there, they have a proxy to do their dirty work for them. And China would love nothing more, and so would Russian, would love nothing more to see mayhem and discord in the United State,” he said. 

“There’s no better way to do that and to have Afghanistan the way it is and to n folks from Afghanistan, creating mayhem in the United States, and you know China doesn’t have to have fingerprints on it.” 

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What Time Will ‘Riverdale’ Season 6 Be on Netflix?

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The season finale of Riverdale aired in late July on The CW. Notice we said season finale? Thankfully, the beloved series will return for a seventh season, but, unfortunately, Season 7 will be the final installment of Riverdale.

If you already streamed the current season, make sure to read Alex Zalben’s interview with Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa on Decider. If you’re waiting to binge Season 6 on Netflix, well, you better clear your calendar because all 22 episodes are about to drop on the streamer. What time will the sixth season of Riverdale debut on Netflix? What time does Netflix release shows? Here’s everything you need to know.

WHEN IS THE RIVERDALE SEASON 6 NETFLIX RELEASE DATE?

Riverdale Season 6 premieres Sunday, August 7 on Netflix.

HOW MANY EPISODES ARE IN RIVERDALE SEASON 6?

The sixth season of Riverdale consists of 22 episodes.

WHAT TIME DOES NETFLIX RELEASE NEW SHOWS?

Netflix releases new episodes at 3:00 a.m. ET/12:00 a.m. PT.

WHAT TIME WILL RIVERDALE SEASON 6 BE ON NETFLIX?

Netflix is based out of California, so Riverdale Season 6 will be available to stream at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (3:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) beginning Sunday, August 7. If the clock strikes 12:00 (or 3:00 a.m. for folks on the East Coast) and you don’t see the new episodes, give it a moment, hit refresh, and then enjoy the show!

WILL THERE BE A SEASON 7 OF RIVERDALE?

Yes! Decider recently covered that very topic.

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Actress Anne Heche Suffers Severe Burns After Crashing Car Into Los Angeles Home

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Actress Anne Heche, known for her roles in such films as Donnie Brasco, Volcano and I Know What You Did Last Summer, was involved in a fiery car crash in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles on Friday.

According to TMZ, Heche was driving a blue Mini Cooper and had first crashed into the garage of an apartment complex. Residents of the apartment complex tried to get her out of the vehicle but she backed up and sped off.

Footage of Heche speeding down the streets of her neighborhood had been obtained by TMZ as well as her initial encounter at the apartment complex.

In the first clip, you can hear her car crash towards the end. It has been reported that the actress crashed into someone’s home, causing her vehicle and the house to erupt into flames. Heche suffered severe burns and was resisting being taken away in a stretcher. You can also view footage of this via the TMZ article.

It has not been confirmed whether alcohol has been involved in the incident since her condition prevents doctors from performing any tests to determine if she was driving under the influence. She is currently intubated in the hospital but expected to live.

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These are the vulgar license-plate requests the DMV has rejected

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Stay CL4SSY, New York!

The state Department of Motor Vehicles nixed 3,752 requests for vanity license plates in the last three years because it deemed them too raunchy, radical or simply ridiculous.

New York’s personalized plates go for $60 initially, and then $31.25 annually for renewal. You can get any plate as long as no one else has it and it’s not offensive.

Odds are a request for a plate that marks a wedding anniversary or shows your allegiance to a team — like METS86 — will pass muster with the DMV gatekeepers.

Vulgarity won’t get you to first base.

So plates with the phrase LFGM — the acronym for Pete Alonso’s “Let’s F–king Go Mets” rallying cry — did not make the cut.

And you won’t see anyone driving around with the custom plates MILFDAD, AS5M4N and WLHUNG.

Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
New York DMV
NYC123
New York state Department of Motor Vehicles denied more than 3.5 thousand requests for license plates deemed inappropriate.
New York DMV
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
New York DMV

The DMV also put NICEBUNS, FATFANNY, GOTAPOOP and BENDOVER in the rear-view mirror.

One player unsuccessfully tried to score the plate YESDADDY, to no avail.

The DMV also shot down such dark requests as DEADGIRL, GENOC1DE, S8TAN, DETONATE and MURDERM3.

“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
New York DMV
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
New York DMV
BOOBIE is prohibited.
BOOBIE is prohibited.
New York DMV

Getting political is a dead end too — FJOEBIDN, FDTRUMP and CNNLIES were nixed.

LUDEDUDE, NARCO, GOT METH and BLUNT also went up in smoke.

Staten Island attorney Bill Dertinger said his blue 1995 Jaguar SJS was tagged with ESQLTD after his company and his 2014 Porsche had the plate GHOSTGTS because the sleek sportscar was white.

“The plates can make you stand out — which can be a curse or a blessing,” the 54-year-old Dertinger said. “Make sure you don’t cut anybody off.”

A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
New York DMV
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
New York DMV
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
New York DMV

There must be a New York Jets fan playing referee at the DMV because a request for the seemingly innocent plate GASE was sidelined. Ex-Jets head coach Adam Gase had an offensive 9-23 win-loss record during his forgettable two-year tenure.

The DMV would not reveal who gives the final yea or nay.

“The DMV reviews all custom license plate requests and works hard to ensure that any combinations that may be considered objectionable are rejected,” said agency spokesman Tim O’Brien.

“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
New York DMV
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
New York DMV

He said guidelines on what plate combinations are restricted can be found on the DMV website: https://dmv.ny.gov/learn-about-personalized-plates. Approximately 50,000 personalized and custom plates are sold per year, O’Brien said.

Bagged Tags

The state DMV has rejected 3,752 requests for custom license plates in the last three years because it deemed them potentially offensive. Here are some:

YESDADDY

FJOEBIDN

FDTRUMP

GLOCKS

FLYMOFO

BOOBIE

AS5M4N

BUDLIGHT

DEADGIRL

SUM8ITCH

GENOC1DE

S8TAN

CNNLIES

DETONATE

MURDERM3

MILFDAD

WLHUNG

Source: NYS DMV

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