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Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Photo: Iranian Leader Press Off./Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

U.S Navy veteran Michael White has been freed by Iran and has left the country on a Swiss government aircraft, AP reports.

Why it matters: White spent 683 days detained by the Iranian government. He was the first American known to be detained by Iran since President Trump took office.

What they're saying:

"For the past 683 days my son, Michael, has been held hostage in Iran by the IRGC and I have been living a nightmare. I am blessed to announce that the nightmare is over, and my son is safely on his way home.
I am incredibly grateful to the Administration, especially the team at the State Department for their work on Michael’s case and I owe the Swiss Diplomats who worked so hard to keep Michael safe a debt I can never repay. Outside of government, I’d like to thank Gov. Bill Richardson for repeatedly raising Michael’s case with Iranian officials and delivering my personal pleas for my son’s freedom."
— Joanne White, Michael's mother

White's release comes a day after the U.S. released Iranian scientist, the New York Times reports. American officials stated the two cases are not linked.

  • White, a cancer patient, also contracted the coronavirus while held in an Iranian prison.
  • At least three other Americans, all with dual U.S.-Iranian citizenship, are known to be in Iranian custody.

Go deeper

Counterintelligence chief: Russia aiming to “denigrate” Biden ahead of election

William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, before Congress in 2018. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina said Friday that the Russian government is "using a range of measures" to "denigrate former Vice President Biden" before the November election.

Why it matters: Evanina warned that some Kremlin-linked actors are trying to support President Trump’s candidacy on social media and Russian television, while others are spreading false claims about corruption to undermine Biden and the Democratic Party.

45 mins ago - Technology

Exclusive: Facebook's blackout didn't dent political ad reach

Photo: Valera Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Americans saw more political ads on Facebook in the week before the 2020 election than they did the prior week despite the company's blackout on new political ads during that period, according to Global Witness, a human rights group that espouses tech regulation.

Why it matters: The presidential election was a key stress test for Facebook and other leading online platforms looking to prove that they can curb misinformation. Critics contend measures like the ad blackout barely made a dent.

Wall Street wonders how bad it has to get

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Wall Street is working out how bad the economy will have to get for Congress to feel motivated to move on economic support.

Why it matters: A pre-Thanksgiving data dump showed more evidence of a floundering economic recovery. But the slow drip of crumbling economic data may not be enough to push Washington past a gridlock to halt the economic backslide.