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JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday shrugged off police recommendations that he be charged with corruption, calling the allegations “biased, extreme: and “full of holes, like Swiss cheese” and vowing to remain in office.

Speaking at a local government meeting in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu said his government remains stable despite the police announcement, and that “the truth will come to light and nothing will come of this.”

“After I read the recommendations report I can say that this is a biased, extreme document full of holes, like Swiss cheese, and doesn’t hold water,” Netanyahu said.

He contended that the value of the gifts police alleged he received were inflated “beyond recognition,” and accused the report of “trying to create a false impression of exchanges that never existed.”

The police announcement late Tuesday that Netanyahu accepted nearly $300,000 in gifts from two billionaires dealt the embattled prime minister an embarrassing blow after years of investigations, but did not appear to immediately rattle his rule as reaction largely fell along partisan lines.

Nearly all of Netanyahu’s Cabinet ministers issued statements of support and no coalition partners appeared ready to bolt.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, in charge of the police, said the prime minister “deserves the assumption of innocence,” while Netanyahu’s coalition whip, David Amsalem, accused the police of committing “an illegitimate act here to attempt a coup d’etat in Israel.”

Opposition politicians, meanwhile, called for Netanyahu to resign and urged his coalition allies to abandon his government.

Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay said that Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Education Minister Naftali Bennett — leaders of two of the larger parties in Netanyahu’s coalition — need to choose between supporting the prime minister and upholding the rule of law.

“I think it’s clear here that this government needs to go to elections. It can’t be that this government continues as is,” Gabbay told Israel’s Army Radio. “A prime minister that busies himself with attacking his police and law enforcement is simply attacking himself, attacking the country.”

“There’s really a government culture of corruption,” he added.

The police recommendations now go to Attorney General Avihai Mandelblit, who will review the material before deciding whether to file charges. Netanyahu can remain in office during that process, which is expected to drag on for months. Both Kahlon and Bennett said they will await Mandelblit’s decision to decide how to move forward.

On Tuesday night, Netanyahu accused police of being on a witch hunt and vowed to remain in office and even seek re-election. Netanyahu has served as prime minister since 2009, and previously from 1996 to 1999.

“I will continue to lead the state of Israel responsibly and loyally as long as you, the citizens of Israel, choose me to lead you,” an ashen-faced Netanyahu said in a televised address.

The police recommendations marked a dramatic ending to a more than a yearlong investigation into allegations that Netanyahu accepted gifts from Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer, and suspicions that he offered to give preferential treatment to a newspaper publisher in exchange for favorable coverage.

The police statement said their investigation found sufficient evidence to indict Netanyahu in the first case, known as File 1000, for accepting bribes, fraud and breach of trust. It said Netanyahu had accepted gifts valued at 750,000 shekels ($214,000) from Milchan, and 250,000 shekels ($71,000) from Packer. The gifts from Milchan reportedly included expensive cigars and champagne.

Police said that in return, Netanyahu had operated on Milchan’s behalf on U.S. visa matters, legislated a tax break and connected him with an Indian businessman. It said he also helped Milchan, an Israeli producer whose credits include “Pretty Woman,” ”12 Years a Slave” and “JFK,” in the Israeli media market.

In news that send shockwaves through the political system, it emerged that Yair Lapid, leader of the opposition Yesh Atid party, had given testimony about the Netanyahu efforts to benefit Milchan he saw during his term as finance minister.

Key members of Netanyahu’s Likud Party pointed to this as proof that the investigation was politically motivated and Amsalem angrily called Lapid a “snitch.” Netanyahu on Wednesday called into question Lapid’s motives for testifying, noting that Lapid “promised to topple me at any cost.”

Lapid said that as a law abiding citizen he gave a short testimony upon request of the police and he called on Netanyahu to resign.

“Someone with such serious accusations against them, many of which he does not even deny, cannot continue to serve as prime minister with responsibility for the security and well-being of Israel’s citizens,” Lapid said.

During similar circumstances a decade ago, Netanyahu, as opposition leader, urged then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to resign during a police investigation, saying a leader “sunk up to his neck in interrogations” could not govern properly.

But Netanyahu remained defiant. His attorney, Amit Hadad, told Israel Radio Wednesday that the police’s claims against his client were false.

“He didn’t receive bribes at all. Not in a single day, not in a year, not at all,” Hadad said. “The prime minister never acted in Milchan’s benefit on any issue, except for one, that of the visa.”

Netanyahu said he did so because Milchan had done much for Israel and noted that the late Shimon Peres had also been close with Milchan.

In the second case, known as “File 2000,” Netanyahu reportedly was recorded asking Arnon Mozes, the publisher of the Yediot Ahronot daily, for positive coverage in exchange for promoting legislation that would weaken a free newspaper that had cut into Yediot’s business.

Police said there was sufficient evidence to charge both Milchan and Mozes with bribery.

Channel 10 TV read a statement that it said came from Milchan’s “defense team” saying the bribery charge would not stand. It said his relationship with Netanyahu went back to the early 2000s, before he became prime minister, and that the men and their families were friends.

There was no immediate comment from Packer or Mozes.

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JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police on Tuesday recommended that Benjamin Netanyahu be indicted in a pair of corruption cases, media reported, in an embarrassing blow to the embattled prime minister that is likely to fuel calls for him to step down.

The recommendations marked a dramatic ending to a months-long investigation into allegations that Netanyahu accepted tens of thousands of dollars in lavish gifts from a Hollywood mogul and offered to give preferential treatment to a newspaper publisher in exchange for favorable coverage. Netanyahu has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.

The recommendations now go to Attorney General Avihai Mendelblit, who will review the material before deciding whether to file charges. Netanyahu can remain in office during that process, which could drag on for months.

But with a cloud hanging over his head, he could soon find himself facing calls to step aside. During similar circumstances a decade ago, Netanyahu, as opposition leader, urged then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to resign during a police investigation, saying a leader “sunk up to his neck in interrogations” could not govern properly.

For months, police have been investigating two cases.

In one probe, called File 1000, Netanyahu reportedly received over $100,000 in gifts including champagne and expensive cigars from Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan, Australian billionaire James Packer and other wealthy supporters.

The other is over secret talks with the publisher of Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot. In recordings obtained by police, Netanyahu allegedly requested positive coverage in exchange for reining in a free pro-Netanyahu daily.

Channels 10 and 2 TV and the Jerusalem Post and Haaretz newspapers reported police recommended indictments in both cases. The attorney general will now review their conclusions and decide whether to file charges.

Police were expected to make a formal announcement later Tuesday, and Netanyahu was expected to issue a response.

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LONDON (AP) — A British judge on Tuesday upheld an arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has spent more than five years evading the law inside Ecuador’s London embassy.

Judge Emma Arbuthnot rejected arguments by Assange’s lawyers that it is no longer in the public interest to arrest him for jumping bail in 2012 and seeking shelter in the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden, where prosecutors were investigating allegations of sexual assault and rape made by two women. He has denied the allegations.

Arbuthnot said Assange should come to court and make his case like any other defendant and did not mince words in leveling her decision at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. She said that by jumping bail Assange had made “a determined attempt to avoid the order of the court,” before rejecting each argument made by his attorneys.

“The impression I have … is that he is a man who wants to impose his terms on the course of justice,” she said. “He appears to consider himself above the normal rules of law and wants justice only if it goes in his favor.”

Assange is able to appeal, but his lawyers don’t yet know whether he will.

Swedish prosecutors dropped their investigation last year, saying there was no prospect of bringing Assange to Sweden in the foreseeable future. But the British warrant for violating bail conditions still stands, and Assange faces arrest if he leaves the embassy.

Assange’s lawyers had asked for the warrant to be withdrawn since Sweden no longer wants him extradited, but the judge rejected their request last week.

Assange’s attorney had gone on to argue that arresting him is no longer proportionate or in the public interest. Lawyer Mark Summers said that the 5½ years Assange has spent inside the embassy were “adequate, if not severe” punishment for his actions, and cited a report by a U.N. committee which said the 46-year-old was being arbitrarily detained.

He also claimed the Australian was justified in seeking refuge in the embassy because he has a legitimate fear that U.S. authorities are seeking to arrest him for WikiLeaks’ publication of secret documents.

Summers also argued that Assange’s actions had not stalled Sweden’s legal case, because Assange had offered to be interviewed by Swedish prosecutors at the embassy. He said emails recently released after a freedom of information request showed that a British state prosecutor had advised Sweden “that it would not be prudent for Sweden to try to interview Mr. Assange in the U.K.”

Some lawyers who have followed the case suggest the impasse will continue in the case.

Edward Grange, a partner at law firm Corker Binning, said the fact remained that Assange had chosen to enter the embassy to avoid arrest.

“It would be a dangerous precedent to set if the warrant could just be withdrawn on public interest grounds, because that would be seen as a reward for individuals who decide to avoid administrative justice,” he said.

Assange suspects there is a secret U.S. grand jury indictment against him for WikiLeaks’ publication of classified documents, and that American authorities will seek his extradition. Arbuthnot rejected that contention as well.

“I do not find that Mr. Assange’s fears were reasonable,” Arbuthnot said.

Another Assange lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, said the WikiLeaks chief was willing to face legal proceedings in Britain — if he receives a guarantee that he will not be sent to the U.S. to face prosecution.

“Mr. Assange remains ready to face British justice and to resolve any outstanding matters related to his seeking protection in the Ecuadorean embassy — but not at the risk of being forced to face American injustice for exercising the freedom to publish,” Robinson said.

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LONDON (AP) — All flights in and out of London City Airport were canceled Monday after a 500-kilogram (1,100-pound) unexploded World War II-era bomb was found nearby in the River Thames.

The Metropolitan Police service cleared an area within 214 meters (700 feet) of the bomb, including several residential streets, as officers worked with specialists from the Royal Navy to remove the device.

Local officials offered emergency accommodations to residents, as the Newham Council local authority said work to remove the bomb would continue into Tuesday.

Police said the bomb was discovered Sunday at the George V Dock during pre-planned work at City Airport.

Airport CEO Robert Sinclair said he recognizes that passengers will be inconvenienced but said the airport is cooperating fully with authorities “to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.”

London City, the smallest of London’s international airports, handled 4.5 million passengers last year. It’s located in east London’s docklands, an area that was heavily bombed during World War II.

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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — A rare invitation to Pyongyang for South Korea’s president marked Day Two of the North Korean Kim dynasty’s southern road tour Saturday, part of an accelerating diplomatic thaw that included some Korean liquor over lunch and the shared joy of watching a “unified” Korea team play hockey at the Olympics.

Nothing has been settled on any trip north by South Korean President Moon Jae-in. But the verbal message to come at a “convenient time” from dictator Kim Jong Un, delivered by his visiting younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, is part of a sudden rush of improving feelings between the rivals during the Pyeongchang Olympics. The result: a heady, sometimes surreal, state of affairs in a South Korea that has seen far more threat than charm out of the North.

Still, it wouldn’t be South Korea if people weren’t asking the perennial question when it comes to North Korea changing gears and showering its rival with apparent affection: What’s in it for Pyongyang?

Past “charm offensives” have been interpreted as North Korea trying to recoup from crippling sanctions on their nuclear program, or trying to drive a wedge between Seoul and its U.S. ally.

A massive military parade in Pyongyang on the eve of the just-opened Pyeongchang Games has been used as Exhibit A by skeptics. In it, Kim Jong Un highlighted several huge intercontinental ballistic missiles, which were successfully flight tested three times last year and could reach deep into the U.S. mainland when perfected.

Even so, there’s also cautious optimism, or curiosity at least. If peace isn’t imminent, a summit in Pyongyang between Moon and Kim Jong Un seems preferable to recent months’ threats.

Moon told Kim Yo Jong that the North and South should continue to build conditions for a summit, Moon spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said. The U.S. and the North should quickly resume dialogue, he said.

The lunch Saturday at Seoul’s presidential mansion between Moon and Kim Yo Jong was the most significant diplomatic encounter between the rivals in years. The night before, Kim and other North Korean delegates attended the opening ceremony of the Olympics, watching a “unified” Korean team march under a banner showing an undivided Korean Peninsula.

In a surreal mixture of dignitaries, the Olympic Stadium’s VIP box included Kim Yo Jong and North Korea’s nominal head of state, Kim Yong Nam, sitting above and behind U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and fellow hard-liner Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister. Pence and the Kims seemed to go out of their way not to acknowledge each other.

That was not the case with Moon — either at the games, when he enthusiastically reached up to shake Kim Yo Jong’s hand, or at the lunch the next day. South Korean television showed its smiling president entering a reception room Saturday and shaking hands with the North Koreans.

The opening part of the talks was mostly about the weather: Pyeongchang was colder than Seoul, it was agreed.

“You went through a lot of trouble braving the cold until late” last night, Moon told the North Koreans, referring to their attendance at the frigid opening ceremonies.

At the luncheon, Moon proposed a toast, calling for peace and “mutual prosperity” for the two Koreas. He then recalled his past visit to the North’s Diamond Mountain resort, where he and his mother met his North Korean aunt during a temporary reunion of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

He also talked about visiting the North Korean border town of Kaesong, where the countries operated a joint factory park that had been a symbol of rapprochement before South Korea shut it down in 2016, after North Korea’s fourth nuclear test.

“But I haven’t been to Pyongyang,” Moon said, according to comments provided by his office.

Kim Yo Jong said she hopes to see Moon in Pyongyang soon so that he and her brother could “exchange views over many issues,” which she said would make “North-South relations develop like yesterday was a long time ago.”

“We hope that President (Moon) could leave a legacy that would last over generations by leading the way in opening a new era of unification,” she said.

After sitting at a table, Kim Yo Jong placed a blue document folder in front of her. She later gave that folder to Moon, and Moon’s office said it was a personal letter from her brother. Officials didn’t reveal what was written in it.

After meeting with Moon, the North Korean delegates boarded a bullet train to Gangneung, a coastal city hosting some Olympic events. Later Saturday night, they all joined the chief of the International Olympic Committee to watch the debut of the inter-Korean team in the women’s ice hockey tournament. The Koreans were crushed by Switzerland, 8-0.

Pence’s office didn’t directly address Kim’s invitation to Moon. “The vice president is grateful that President Moon reaffirmed his strong commitment to the global maximum pressure campaign and for his support for continued sanctions,” Pence spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said when asked about the developments.

But Pence said that Moon shared “a bit” about his meeting with the North Koreans, and that he “appreciated him sharing his perspective on that.”

“I leave here very confident that we are going to continue to do the things we’ve known have to be done to continue to pressure North Korea to abandon their nuclear ambitions,” Pence said.

Moon is eager to use Kim Yo Jong’s presence at the games to restore regular communication with North Korea and eventually pull it into nuclear talks. Many in Seoul, however, while interested in the warming high-level contacts, are also tempering expectations for a real breakthrough.

There’s worry, too, that the proposed summit Pyongyang may come with preconditions — a North Korean specialty. A big one could be a demand to cease the U.S.-South Korean war games that North Korea claims are preparation for invasion.

But Moon, a liberal who has always wanted to engage the North, will also have to convince a good portion of his own people who are deeply wary about North Korean intentions.

Throw in there the accusations that South Korea has had to arrange huge payouts for past meetings, and that these earlier encounters, while producing indelible images, have done little to slow North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Even if there are more meetings between the rivals after the Games, accomplishing something is another matter. South Korea wants a northern neighbor without nukes; North Korea vows to keep its weapons until the United States discards its “hostile” policies against the country.

Hours before Friday’s opening ceremony in Pyeongchang, Japan’s Abe warned Moon not to fall for North Korea’s “smile diplomacy” during the Olympics, according to Moon’s office. Pence carried a similar message.

They seem to have gone unheeded.

“Kim Jong Un is clearly serious about reviving talks with the South to improve relations,” said Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul’s Dongguk University and a security adviser to Moon.

“It seems clear,” he said, “that the countries have entered a phase of restoring a regular level of contact.”

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Foster Klug is South Korea bureau chief for The Associated Press. Follow him on Twitter at @apklug. Kim reported from Seoul.

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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — It was a historic moment, and it happened even before the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics had officially begun.

As South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his wife greeted VIPs in their dignitary box to watch the opening ceremony, they turned to shake hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s younger sister, who arrived earlier in the day on an unprecedented visit to the South by a member of the North’s ruling Kim family.

All broke out in broad smiles.

Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, was at the opening ceremony with North Korea’s nominal head of state, 90-year-old Kim Yong Nam. They are part of an extraordinary diplomatic push by the North aimed at using the Olympics to ease tensions with Seoul and bolster unity between the two Koreas after a year that has been marked by escalating fears of war and increasing angry rhetoric between Pyongyang and Washington.

As they shook hands, the North and South Koreans spoke briefly. It was not immediately known what they said, but all of them were smiling.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife arrived after the handshakes. They were seated beside the Moons and next to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife. His office said he did not interact with the North Koreans.

The Moons, Nam and Kim all stood again as athletes from both Koreas marched together behind a blue-and-white “unification” flag for the first time since 2007. There was another handshake.

The Pences did not stand for the unified Korean team’s entrance. During the parade of nations, they stood only for the U.S. team.

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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s younger sister took her place among dignitaries from around the world, including U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, at the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on Friday in an unprecedented visit to South Korea.

The trip by Kim Yo Jong is the latest move in an extraordinary show of Olympic diplomacy with Seoul that could prove to be a major challenge to the Trump administration’s hard-line Korea policies.

As the opening ceremony began, she and South Korean President Moon Jae-in exchanged a historic handshake and spoke briefly. They smiled broadly, though it was not immediately known what they said.

She and Kim Yong Nam, the North’s 90-year-old nominal head of state, were seated behind Moon and his wife, while Pence and his wife were seated beside the Moons and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

At the age of 30, Kim Yo Jong is quite possibly the most powerful woman in North Korea. Just a few years younger than her brother, she is believed to be his closest confidant and is a senior cadre in North Korea’s ruling party.

Her arrival on Kim Jong Un’s private jet with a coterie of 22 officials was broadcast live on South Korean television.

Looking confident and relaxed, she had a brief meeting at the airport with South Korean officials, including Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, before being whisked away in a black limousine and catching the high-speed train to the mountains of Pyeongchang. As a sign of her status, the elder Kim Yong Nam offered her the seat of honor at the airport meeting, but she politely declined.

The trip comes amid a flurry of activity following Kim Jong Un’s surprise proposal on New Year’s Day to send a delegation of athletes, officials, entertainers and cheering groups to the Olympics.

His decision to dispatch his sister to the games is all the more significant since Kim Jong Un himself hasn’t set foot outside North Korea or met a single head of state since he assumed power upon the death of their father, Kim Jong Il, in late 2011. His single-minded pursuit of a nuclear arsenal to counter what he sees as the threat of invasion by the United States has ratcheted up tensions not only with his rivals but also with primary trading partner China and with Russia, once a key benefactor.

The North’s Olympic “detente” is a striking shift in tactics.

This is the first time a member of the Kim dynasty has traveled to South Korea, though their grandfather, Kim Il Sung, went to areas occupied by his troops south of what is now the Demilitarized Zone during the 1950-53 Korean War.

Kim Yo Jong has been rapidly rising within the North’s power structure and is believed to be in charge of shaping her brother’s public persona. But she has generally remained safely cloaked in her brother’s shadow. This is her first high-profile international appearance at center stage, though she is technically just a member of a delegation headed by Kim Yong Nam.

Just before the opening ceremony, Kim Yong Nam attended a dinner for visiting foreign dignitaries hosted by Moon. Pence was also at the dinner and reportedly refused to shake the elderly North Korean’s hand.

For security reasons, few details of Kim Yo Jong’s three-day itinerary have been made public.

After arriving at the South’s ultramodern Incheon International Airport— the North’s flagship airline is subject to sanctions — she traveled to Pyeongchang for the opening ceremony, where the North and South Korean athletes marched together behind a blue-and-white “unification” flag for the first time in more than a decade.

It was an emotionally charged moment.

The two Koreas, which remain technically at war, have cycled through countless periods of chill and thaw since their division 70 years ago. North Korea boycotted the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul and blew up a South Korean commercial airliner the year before. The past year has been particularly acrimonious as the North has accelerated its nuclear weapons development and test launches of missiles that are now believed to be able to reach most or all of the United States, South Korea’s most important ally.

The delegation’s most substantive event may come outside of the Olympic ambit on Saturday.

Along with the rest of the North’s senior delegation, Kim Yo Jong was to have lunch with Moon at the presidential Blue House. The meeting could turn out to be just a lunch, a photo op or a nicety. But it is so unprecedented, and its announcement on Thursday was so sudden, that rumors are already swirling it could open the door to much more — perhaps even an offer for Moon to travel to Pyongyang, the North’s capital.

The North and South held summits in Pyongyang in 2000 and 2007, both hosted by Kim Jong Il.

Considering the depth and complexity of the problems that keep the Koreas apart, it’s highly unlikely a luncheon would lead to an immediate breakthrough on something like the North’s nuclear weapons development. Pence, who is using his visit to South Korea to underscore the Trump administration’s policy of maximum pressure on the North, has publicly and repeatedly warned Seoul not to let down its guard to a North Korean charm offensive.

But during her stay, Kim Yo Jong will have ample opportunity to play up the feel-good side of her country’s participation in the games.

The first hockey match featuring the joint North-South women’s ice hockey will be held Saturday night — they play Switzerland, where both Kim Jong Un and his sister went to school when they were children — and that would be an event she might want to see. The North has also sent a several hundred women-strong cheering squad, an orchestra with singers and dancers and a demonstration taekwondo team that will perform in Seoul and places near the Olympic venues.

Security for anything involving the North Koreans has been exceptionally tight.

The North’s participation has been generally welcomed, but right-wing protesters have shown up at several venues to burn North Korean flags and tear up portraits of Kim’s brother. The group is fringe, but their demonstrations have generated irate reactions in North Korea’s state-run media and could potentially spin out into a major incident if they ever manage to get closer to the North Koreans themselves — or especially Kim and her entourage.

So far, police have kept the two at a safe distance.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Russian cyberspies pursuing the secrets of military drones and other sensitive U.S. defense technology tricked key contract workers into exposing their email to theft, an Associated Press investigation has found.

What ultimately may have been stolen is uncertain, but the hackers clearly exploited a national vulnerability in cybersecurity: poorly protected email and barely any direct notification to victims.

The hackers known as Fancy Bear, who also intruded in the U.S. election, went after at least 87 people working on militarized drones, missiles, rockets, stealth fighter jets, cloud-computing platforms or other sensitive activities, the AP found.

Employees at both small companies and defense giants like Lockheed Martin Corp., Raytheon Co., Boeing Co., Airbus Group and General Atomics were targeted by the hackers. A handful of people in Fancy Bear’s sights also worked for trade groups, contractors in U.S.-allied countries or on corporate boards.

“The programs that they appear to target and the people who work on those programs are some of the most forward-leaning, advanced technologies,” said Charles Sowell, a former senior adviser to the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence, who reviewed the list of names for the AP. “And if those programs are compromised in any way, then our competitive advantage and our defense is compromised.”

“That’s what’s really scary,” added Sowell, who was one of the hacking targets.

The AP identified the defense and security targets from about 19,000 lines of email phishing data created by hackers and collected by the U.S.-based cybersecurity company Secureworks, which calls the hackers Iron Twilight. The data is partial and extends only from March 2015 to May 2016. Of 87 scientists, engineers, managers and others, 31 agreed to be interviewed by the AP.

Most of the targets’ work was classified. Yet as many as 40 percent of them clicked on the hackers’ phishing links, the AP analysis indicates. That was the first step in potentially opening their personal email accounts or computer files to data theft by the digital spies.

James Poss, who ran a partnership doing drone research for the Federal Aviation Administration, was about to catch a taxi to the 2015 Paris Air Show when what appeared to be a Google security alert materialized in his inbox. Distracted, he moved his cursor to the blue prompt on his laptop.

“I clicked on it and instantly knew that I had been had,” the retired Air Force major general said. Poss says he realized his mistake before entering his credentials, which would have exposed his email to the hackers.

Hackers predominantly targeted personal Gmail, with a few corporate accounts mixed in.

Personal accounts can convey snippets of classified information, whether through carelessness or expediency. They also can lead to other more valuable targets or carry embarrassing personal details that can be used for blackmail or to recruit spies.

Drone consultant Keven Gambold, a hacking target himself, said the espionage could help Russia catch up with the Americans. “This would allow them to leapfrog years of hard-won experience,” he said.

He said his own company is so worried about hacking that “we’ve almost gone back in time to use stand-alone systems if we’re processing client proprietary data — we’re FedEx’ing hard drives around.”

The AP has previously reported on Fancy Bear’s attempts to break into the Gmail accounts of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, American national security officials, journalists, and Kremlin critics and adversaries around the world. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded the hackers worked for the Kremlin and stole U.S. campaign email to tilt the 2016 election toward Donald Trump.

But the hackers clearly had broader aims. Fifteen of the targets identified by the AP worked on drones — the single largest group of weapons specialists.

Countries like Russia are racing to make better drones as the remote-control aircraft have moved to the forefront of modern warfare. They can fire missiles, hunt down adversaries, or secretly monitor targets for days — all while keeping human pilots safely behind computer controls.

The U.S. Air Force now needs more pilots for drones than for any other single type of aircraft, a training official said last year. Drones will lead growth in the aerospace industry over the next decade, with military uses driving the boom, the Teal Group predicted in November. Production was expected to balloon from $4.2 billion to $10.3 billion.

So far, though, Russia has nothing that compares with the new-generation U.S. Reaper, which has been called “the most feared” U.S. drone. General Atomics’ 5,000-pound mega-drone can fly more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) to deliver Hellfire missiles and smart bombs. It has seen action in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

The hackers went after General Atomics, targeting a drone sensor specialist. He did not respond to requests for comment.

They also made a run at the Gmail account of Michael Buet, an electronics engineer who has worked on ultra-durable batteries and high-altitude drones for SunCondor, a small South Carolina company owned by Star Technology and Research. Such machines could be a useful surveillance tool for a country like Russia, with its global military engagements and vast domestic border frontier.

“This bird is quite unique,” said Buet. “It can fly at 62,000 feet (18,600 meters) and doesn’t land for five years.”

The Russians also appeared eager to catch up in space, once an arena for Cold War competition in the race for the moon. They seemed to be carefully eyeing the X-37B, an American unmanned space plane that looks like a miniature shuttle but is shrouded in secrecy.

In a reference to an X-37B flight in May 2015, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin invoked the vehicle as evidence that his country’s space program was faltering. “The United States is pushing ahead,” he warned Russian lawmakers.

Less than two weeks later, Fancy Bear tried to penetrate the Gmail account of a senior engineer on the X-37B project at Boeing.

Fancy Bear has also tried to hack into the emails of several members of the Arlington, Virginia-based Aerospace Industries Association, including its president, former Army Secretary Eric Fanning. It went after Lt. Gen. Mark Shackelford, who has served in the military and aerospace industry as a corporate board member. He has been involved with major weapons and space programs like SpaceX, the reusable orbital rocket company founded by billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk.

Along another path, the hackers chased people who work on cloud-based services, the off-site computer networks that enable collaborators to easily access and juggle data.

In 2013, the CIA signed a $600 million deal with web giant Amazon to build a system to share secure data across the U.S. intelligence community. Other spy services followed, and the government cleared them last year to move classified data to the cloud at the “secret” level — a step below the nation’s most sensitive information.

Fancy Bear’s target list suggests the Russians have noticed these developments.

The hackers tried to get into the Gmail accounts of a cloud compliance officer at Palantir and a manager of cloud platform operations at SAP National Security Services, two companies that do extensive government work. Another target was at Mellanox Federal Systems, which helps the government with high-speed storage networks, data analysis and cloud computing. Its clients include the FBI and other intelligence agencies.

Yet of the 31 targets reached by the AP, just one got any warning from U.S. officials.

“They said we have a Fancy Bear issue we need to talk about,” said security consultant Bill Davidson. He said an Air Force cybersecurity investigator inspected his computer shortly after the 2015 phishing attempt but found no sign that it succeeded. He believes he was contacted because his name was recognized at the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, where he used to work.

The FBI declined to give on-the-record details of its response to this Russian operation. Agency spokeswoman Jillian Stickels said the FBI does sometimes notify individual targets. “The FBI takes … all potential threats to public and private sector systems very seriously,” she said in an email.

However, three people familiar with the matter — including a current and a former government official — previously told the AP that the FBI knew the details of Fancy Bear’s phishing campaign for more than a year.

Pressed about notification in that case, a senior FBI official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the hacking operation because of its sensitivity, said the bureau was overwhelmed by the sheer number of attempted hacks. “It’s a matter of triaging to the best of our ability the volume of the targets who are out there,” he said.

A Pentagon spokeswoman, Heather Babb, said she could release no details about any Defense Department response, citing “operational security reasons.” But she said the department recognizes the evolving cyber threat and continues to update training and technology. “This extends to all of our workforce — military, civilian and contractor,” she added.

The Defense Security Service, which protects classified U.S. technology and trains industry in computer security, focuses on safeguarding corporate computer networks. “We simply have no insight into or oversight of anyone’s personal email accounts or how they are protected or notified when something is amiss,” spokeswoman Cynthia McGovern said in an email.

Contacted by the AP, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, Airbus and General Atomics did not respond to requests for comment.

Jerome Pearson, a space system and drone developer, acknowledged that he has not focused on security training at his company, Star Technology, where Buet has consulted. “No, we really haven’t done that,” he said with a nervous laugh. “We may be a little bit remiss in that area.” He said they may do training for future contracts.

Cybersecurity experts say it’s no surprise that spies go after less secure personal email as an opening to more protected systems. “For a good operator, it’s like hammering a wedge,” said Richard Ford, chief scientist at the Forcepoint cybersecurity company. “Private email is the soft target.”

Some officials were particularly upset by the failure to notify employees of cloud computing companies that handle data for intelligence agencies. The cloud is a “huge target for foreign intelligence services in general — they love to get into that shared environment,” said Sowell, the former adviser to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

“At some point, wouldn’t someone who’s responsible for the defense contractor base be aware of this and try to reach out?” he asked.

Even successful hacks might not translate into new weapons for Russia, where the economy is weighed down by corruption and international sanctions.

However, experts say Russia, while still behind the U.S., has been making more advanced drones in recent years. Russian officials have recently been bragging as their increasingly sophisticated drones are spotted over war zones in Ukraine and Syria.

At a 2017 air show outside Moscow, plans were announced for a new generation of Russian combat drones.

Rogozin, the deputy prime minister, boasted that the technological gap between Russia and the United States “has been sharply reduced and will be completely eliminated in the near future.”

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RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — A former Palestinian intelligence chief and the head of the West Bank bar association are suing the Palestinian self-rule government after a purported whistleblower alleged the two were targeted, along with many other allies and rivals of President Mahmoud Abbas, in a large-scale CIA-backed wiretapping operation.

Allegations of continued intelligence-sharing with the United States could prove embarrassing for Abbas who has been on a political collision course with Washington since President Donald Trump’s recognition in December of contested city of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The claims are contained in a 37-page anonymous document that was been shared widely among Palestinians, mostly on WhatsApp. The document alleges that three of the Palestinian security services set up a joint electronic surveillance unit in mid-2014 and monitored the phone calls of thousands of Palestinians, from senior figures in militant groups to judges, lawyers, civic leaders and political allies of Abbas.

The author describes himself as a former member of the surveillance unit who quit “this dirty job” several months ago because of his growing opposition to Palestinian government practices, including intelligence-sharing with the United States. He wrote that Trump’s policy shift on Jerusalem provided another impetus to go public.

Bar association head Jawad Obeidat told The Associated Press on Monday that transcripts of his phone conversations, as published in the document, were accurate.

“I made these phone calls and this is evidence that the leaked report is true,” said Obeidat, who spearheaded recent protests by lawyers after one of them was arrested from a court room during a legal case against the government.

“This is a blatant violation of human rights,” he said.

Tawfiq Tirawi, an outspoken Abbas critic and West Bank intelligence chief from 1994 to 2008, said he checked with his contacts and believes the document is authentic.

The CIA declined comment.

In mid-January, when the document first surfaced, Palestinian security services said in a joint statement that it was part of a “plot” seeking to harm the political and security establishments.

Adnan Damiri, the spokesman of the security services, dismissed the document Monday as “nonsense.”

The allegations come at a low point in Palestinian relations with the United States, following Trump’s policy pivot on Jerusalem, whose Israeli-annexed eastern sector the Palestinians seek as a future capital.

Abbas said at the time that he was suspending contacts with U.S. officials dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The U.S. shift on Jerusalem angered many Palestinians, and in this context, allegations of continued intelligence-sharing with the U.S. could pose a domestic political problem for Abbas.

The 82-year-old has also faced pushback from critics who say his rule has become increasingly authoritarian.

Elected in 2005, Abbas has ruled by decree since 2007, when the Islamic militant Hamas overran Gaza, leaving him with autonomous enclaves in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The territorial split and deep animosity between the Abbas- and Hamas-led camps paralyzed political institutions, including parliament, and prevented new elections.

Last week, Tirawi and Obeidat filed a complaint over the alleged wire-tapping against the Palestinian self-rule government, calling for a criminal investigation. The lawsuit asked that those who ordered the monitoring of their phones be punished and demanded an end to all wiretapping as a violation of privacy.

Attorney General Ahmed Barrak confirmed that he received the complaint, but declined further comment.

Separately, the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq demanded an investigation of the extent of the wiretapping and an explanation from the government. The head of Al-Haq, Shahwan Jabareen, said he has not received a response from the attorney general or the office of Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.

Jabareen said an investigation must determine if the wiretapping went beyond monitoring militants who pose an immediate security threat. If the bar association was targeted, he said, the government might also be spying on other civil society organizations and ordinary people.

“We are not against security, but it has to be legal,” he said.

The document alleged that thousands of phones are being monitored without legal authorization, including those of leaders and senior operatives in Hamas, the militant group Islamic Jihad and other factions.

Others being monitored include members of Abbas’ inner circle, such as the No. 2 in his Fatah movement and members of the decision-making body of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the document said. Abbas rivals are also on the list, including the family of imprisoned uprising leader Marwan Barghouti and supporters of Abbas’ former top aide-turned-nemesis, the exiled Mohammed Dahlan, according to the document.

It said that in 2013, the then-head of the Palestinian Preventive Security Service asked the CIA for help with wiretapping and that the CIA agreed, in exchange for oversight.

The document said the equipment was provided by ISS World, a company based in Virginia.

Jerry Lucas, the president of the ISS World parent company, TeleStrategies, declined comment when contacted by email Monday by The Associated Press.

The document said members of the Palestinian surveillance unit were trained on the new equipment on the sidelines of an ISS World conference in Dubai.

The document included a copy of an invitation letter purportedly issued by TeleStrategies to two senior Palestinian security officers to attend an “ISS World Middle East Intelligence Support Systems Conference” at the Dubai Marriott from March 3-5, 2014.

The date and venue of the conference in the invitation match those on the ISS website.

Palestinian security officials acknowledged in the past, in private conservations, that they were engaged in domestic phone monitoring and other types of surveillance, going back to the 1990s.

However, the latest allegations, if confirmed, suggest spying has become more sophisticated and broader in scope.

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LONDON (AP) — A British judge on Tuesday upheld a U.K. arrest warrant for the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, leaving his legal position unchanged after more than five years inside the Ecuadorean Embassy.

Judge Emma Arbuthnot rejected a call from Assange’s lawyers for the warrant to be revoked because he is no longer wanted for questioning in Sweden.

“I am not persuaded the warrant should be withdrawn,” Arbuthnot told lawyers, journalists and Assange supporters gathered at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

Assange has been holed up in the Ecuador’s embassy in London since he took refuge there in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden. Swedish prosecutors were investigating allegations of sexual assault and rape made by two women in 2010.

Swedish prosecutors dropped the case last year, but Assange was still subject to a British arrest warrant for jumping bail in 2012.

Had the judge ruled in Assange’s favor, he would have been free to leave the embassy without being arrested on the British warrant.

However, Assange suspects there is a secret U.S. indictment against him for WikiLeaks’ publication of leaked classified American documents, and that the U.S. authorities will seek his extradition.

Earlier this month, Ecuador said it had granted the Australian-born hacker citizenship, as the South American country tried to unblock the stalemate that has kept Assange as its houseguest for five-and-a-half years.

Ecuador also asked Britain to grant him diplomatic status. Britain refused, saying “the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice.”

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