Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Officials who have held America’s top national security positions tell "Axios on HBO" that the nation has never before faced such a tangled web of threats.

The bottom line: They worry about the government's capacity to confront them.

  • David Petraeus, former CIA director and retired four-star general, and H.R. McMaster, former national security adviser, both name the rivalries with Russia and China as the greatest threats of our time.
  • Janet Napolitano, former Homeland Security secretary, lists climate change, cyberattacks and gun violence.
  • Leon Panetta, former CIA director and Defense secretary, is most concerned about cyber threats.
  • Lisa Monaco, former White House homeland security adviser, says her biggest fear is a deadly pandemic.

The big picture: The last time the global threat picture was this crowded and combustible was in the lead-up to World War I, Panetta says.

  • Between the lines: Some of the threats are familiar: Russia, nukes, terrorism. But many are exacerbated by new technologies — from AI-powered weapons to viral hatred on social media — and by climate change.

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Supreme Court rejects GOP push to cut absentee ballot deadline in N.C.

Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an attempt by conservatives to shorten North Carolina's deadline for mail-in ballots from nine to three days.

The big picture: This is the latest of a series of decisions over mail-in ballot deadlines in various states.

Hurricane Zeta makes landfall on Louisiana coast as Category 2 storm

A satellite image of Hurricane Zeta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Hurricane Zeta made landfall along the southeastern coast of Louisiana as a Category 2 storm on Wednesday, bringing with it "life-threatening storm surge and strong winds," per the National Hurricane Center.

What's happening: The hurricane was producing maximum sustained winds of nearly 110 mph and stronger gusts.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Biden ahead in Wisconsin, Michigan as cases surge in the Midwest.
  2. Health: Surge "is real" and not just caused by more tests, Trump's testing czar saysMask mandates help control rise in hospitalizations Some coronavirus survivors have "autoantibodies."
  3. Business: Surge is sinking consumer confidence Testing is a windfall.
  4. World: Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" coronavirus wave France imposes lockdown as Macron warns of overwhelming second COVID wave Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  5. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed as COVID-19 surges MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.