Latest in Trump
Uncomfortable Questions in the Wake of Russia Indictment 2.0 and Trump’s Press Conference With Putin
What the Mueller indictment means for blowback against U.S. officials, reciprocal interference by the United States, the state of U.S. preparation against renewed adversary electoral operations, and the practices of U.S. journalists.
Two weeks ago, the U.S. military received custody of an as-yet unnamed American citizen who had been captured in Syria by a Syrian Defense Force (SDF) fighter. The Pentagon soon confirmed that the person is being held in military detention as an enemy combatant, somewhere in theater, on the basis that he was a fighter for the Islamic State. Many days had gone by without further information, until today.
Are we about to see a significant shift in U.S. government policy relating to the use of targeted lethal force for counterterrorism purposes?
Maybe, according to an important article by Charlie Savage and Eric Schmitt in the New York Times. Here’s what you need to know:
In a scathing New York Times op-ed today, Micah Zenko lays into the Trump administration both for maintaining the “counterproductive” and “immoral” counterterrorism policies of its predecessors (particularly those involving the use of military force), and for making the situation worse for noncombatants.
The Intelligence Studies Essay: "After you, Alphonse," or Why Two Different Intelligence Agencies Now Attend National Security Council Meetings, Whether It Matters, and How to Mitigate the Potential Hazards
Steve Slick is a clinical professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and directs the Intelligence Studies Project at the University of Texas-Austin. He was a member of CIA’s clandestine service, and served as a special assistant to President George W. Bush and the NSC’s Senior Director for Intelligence Programs and Reform. This essay was reviewed and approved by the CIA’s Publications Review Board.
Yesterday U.S. News ran an article titled “‘Areas of Active Hostilities’: Trump’s Troubling Increases to Obama’s Wars.” As the title suggests, the thrust of the article is that there is something wrong with the Obama administration’s “areas of active hostilities” concept—or at least there’s something wrong with it now that it is in the hands of a different president.
I thought a brief backgrounder on the power of the President to appoint and to remove the FBI Director might be in order this morning...
The Power to Appoint
Earlier today, HPSCI Chair Devin Nunes announced he will “temporarily” recuse himself from his committee’s Trump/Russia/Surveillance investigation (in his stead, Representative Conaway will take the helm, with support from Representatives Gowdy and Rooney).
The indispensable Charlie Savage has just posted the latest iteration of the Trump Administration’s planned Executive Order on detention issues, along with an article placing that draft in context (including helpful insights from Jack Goldsmith and Ryan Goodman).