On Tuesday, the USA Freedom Act passed the Senate, was signed by the President, and became law. However, the enactment came almost two full days after key provisions of the USA Patriot Act had expired---the result, as some here at Lawfare termed it, of “dangerous brinksmanship” on the part of the Senate. On Ben's "Dishonor Roll" for his involvement in the process? Senator Rand Paul (R-KY).
Tara Hofbauer previously was an intern with Lawfare. She is majoring in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, with a minor in Legal Studies and History.
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U.S. Senators voted 83 to 14 to close debate on the USA Freedom Act today. The bill, already passed by the House, both authorizes and reforms the National Security Agency’s bulk telephony metadata collection program.
On Monday, the United States celebrated Memorial Day. President Obama marked the holiday by giving an address at Arlington Cemetery. He noted that this was “the first Memorial Day in 14 years that the United States is not engaged in a major ground war.” Cody and Ben pointed out, however, that though the President’s rhetoric has affirmed the end of the war in Afghanistan, the Justice Department continues to argue in court that operations there are ongoing.
In Iraq, Shia militia forces fighting to retake Anbar province and its capital Ramadi have decided to rename their military campaign. Originally, the title referenced a figure holy to Shia Islam, thus exacerbating sectarian tensions, as Anbar province is home to a Sunni Iraqis majority.
Shia militias in Iraq announced today that they have taken control of efforts to reclaim Ramadi, the capital of the country’s Anbar province which fell to the Islamic State about a week ago. Paramilitary troops have advanced to within a few kilometers of the city’s southwestern edge.
Following an American special forces raid on the compound of Islamic State operative Abu Sayyaf, U.S. interrogators, who are part of the High Value Detainee Interrogation Group, have flown to Iraq in order to question Umm Sayyaf, the wife of Abu Sayyaf, who was taken during the operation. Umm Sayyaf was allegedly involved in the workings of the Islamic State and could possibly have played a role in “the enslavement of women in Iraq and Syria.” U.S. interrogators plan to talk to Umm Sayyaf about U.S.
A humanitarian ceasefire is set to begin in Yemen today. Fighting will stop at 11 pm local time so that shipments of food and medicine can be safely transported into the country. Reuters describes the humanitarian aid packages being prepared by the U.N.