US intelligence has recordings of Russian officials giving orders to operatives in the Ukraine, proving that Russia is indeed behind the forces destabilizing Eastern Ukraine, John Kerry told Trilateral Commission leaders Friday, in a closed-door meeting that, ironically enough, was recorded and leaked to the Daily Beast. "Everybody can tell the difference in the accents, in the idioms, in the language. We know exactly who’s giving those orders," Kerry said. "This is insulting to everybody's intelligence, let alone to our nations and how we ought to be behaving in the 21st century. It's thuggism."
Kerry spent yesterday apologizing for the last revelation to come from the Beast's recording—that he'd suggested Israel could become "an apartheid state," the New York Times reports. "If I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word," Kerry said in a statement, noting his long record of support for Israel. "I do not believe, nor have I ever stated, publicly or privately, that Israel is an apartheid state or that it intends to become one." A range of groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, US Jewish organizations, and Republicans in Congress, had criticized his initial remarks, Politico notes.