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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri last month in Beirut. Photo: Jim Young/Pool/AFP

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned the Lebanese government during his recent visit to Beirut that Hezbollah and Iran have set up a new covert factory for precision missiles on Lebanese soil, U.S. sources briefed on the matter tell me.

Why it matters: The sources say Pompeo based his warning on intelligence he received from Israel. Israel is greatly concerned about Hezbollah's manufacturing of precision missiles but hasn't responded with military force out of concern that could lead to an all out war.

The backdrop: Last September at the UN, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed satellite imagery of what he claimed were two covert Hezbollah sites for manufacturing precision missiles. A few weeks later, Hezbollah shut down the sites. Now it seems Hezbollah and Iran have opened a new factory.

  • Pompeo visited Jerusalem two weeks ago and met with Netanyahu, who presented him with intelligence which pointed to a new covert facility in Lebanon, the U.S. officials say.
  • From Jerusalem, Pompeo traveled to Beirut. The U.S. sources tell me Pompeo met with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri and warned him that the existence of the new covert missile facility could have consequences for Lebanese security.
  • According to the sources, Pompeo told his Lebanese counterparts that Hezbollah's covert operations in Lebanon raise the risk of a real escalation with Israel. Pompeo wanted to make sure that all the information he had about Hezbollah's activities was also known to the Lebanese government, the sources say.

The State Department told me: "We do not disclose the contents of private diplomatic talks."

Go deeper

DOJ: Capitol rioter threatened to "assassinate" Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Supporters of former President Trump storm the U.S. Captiol on Jan. 6. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A Texas man who has be charged with storming the U.S. Capitol in the deadly Jan. 6 siege posted death threats against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the Department of Justice said.

The big picture: Garret Miller faces five charges in connection to the riot by supporters of former President Trump, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and making threats. According to court documents, Miller posted violent threats online the day of the siege, including tweeting “Assassinate AOC.”

Schumer calls for IG probe into alleged plan by Trump, DOJ lawyer to oust acting AG

Jeffrey Clark speaks next to Deputy US Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen at a news conference in October. Photo: Yuri Gripas/AFP via Getty Images.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Saturday called for the Justice Department inspector general to investigate an alleged plan by former President Trump and a DOJ lawyer to remove the acting attorney general and replace him with someone more willing to investigate unfounded claims of election fraud.

Driving the news: The New York Times first reported Friday that the lawyer, Jeffrey Clark, allegedly devised "ways to cast doubt on the election results and to bolster Mr. Trump’s continuing legal battles and the pressure on Georgia politicians. Because Mr. [Jeffrey] Rosen had refused the president’s entreaties to carry out those plans, Mr. Trump was about to decide whether to fire Mr. Rosen and replace him with Mr. Clark."

4 hours ago - World

Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

Containers carrying doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine arrive in Brazil. Photo: Maurio Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil on Saturday began distributing the 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine that arrived from India Friday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Brazil has the third highest COVID-19 case-count in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The 2 million doses "only scratch the surface of the shortfall," Brazilian public health experts told the AP.