Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Quinta Jurecic
Wednesday, May 24, 2017, 4:58 PM

Britain’s terror alert system has been raised to its highest level, indicating a possible imminent attack, as authorities investigate the “network” of Salman Abedi, the British man who carried out the deadly suicide bombing at a pop concert in Manchester on Monday night. The U.K. Home Secretary indicated that it is “likely, possible” that Abedi was acting with the help of others, and reporting suggests that the technician behind Abedi’s bomb remains at large, the New York Times reports. Police currently have five men in custody, including Abedi’s older brother. Abedi’s father and younger brother have been detained by a militia in Libya, which made a Facebook post declaring that the younger brother was a member of the Islamic State and had been planning an attack in Tripoli. These accusations have not been verified.

Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that U.S. officials leaked Abedi’s name to the press before U.K. officials formally identified him as the bomber. The British government is reportedly frustrated over the leak from within the Trump administration, which came only two weeks after President Trump revealed classified Israeli intelligence to Russian officials in the Oval Office.

Israel has altered its protocols for sharing intelligence with the United States following Trump’s disclosure, VOA News writes. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman stated that, “We did a spot repair … What we had to clarify with our friends in the United States, we did.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee has issued two additional subpoenas to compel Michael Flynn to provide the committee with documents relating to his contacts with Russian officials, following Flynn’s refusal to comply with a previous subpoena, Politico writes. The House Intelligence Committee is also set to issue a subpoena against Flynn.

President Trump will retain Marc Kasowitz, who has represented Trump in several cases, to handle the Russia investigation as Trump’s personal lawyer. The Post has more.

President Trump congratulated Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on his violent anti-drug campaign, according to a transcript of a phone call Trump placed to Duterte last month, the Times reports. Duterte, who yesterday declared martial law in the country’s south, has been harshly criticized by human rights activists for his authoritarian rhetoric and anti-drug effort, which has resulted in thousands of extrajudicial killings. Trump also informed Duterte of the presence of “two nuclear submarines” stationed by the U.S. off the coast of North Korea, which Reuters writes will “likely … raise questions about [Trump’s] handling of sensitive information.” Buzzfeed tells us that “Pentagon officials are in shock” over Trump’s disclosure to Duterte.

Two explosions have killed three police officers and injured 10 additional people in Jakarta, Indonesia, Reuters writes. Authorities suspect that the blasts were carried out by two suicide bombers, though the motive has yet to be uncovered.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed a district court’s dismissal of a challenge to NSA surveillance brought by Wikimedia, holding that the foundation has standing to sue for a Fourth Amendment violation. The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the NSA’s Upstream surveillance program. The Times has more.

Under legislation proposed to Congress by the Trump administration, the federal government would have the power to hack and destroy drones used within the United States which the government determines pose a security threat to areas designated as locations requiring special protection. Courts would not have jurisdiction to hear lawsuits over the government’s tracking and hacking of drones, though the legislation requires that authorities respect “privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties,” the Times reports. The legislation cites concerns over threats posed by drone technology to public safety and homeland security.

 

ICYMI: Yesterday, on Lawfare

Suzanne Vergnolle considered the U.S. and France as a case study in mutual legal assistance challenges.

Bob Bauer pondered the rule of law under the Trump administration.

Peter Swire argued that cross-border requests for data will become more and more important as time goes on.

David Wirth asked what the upcoming G7 and NATO summits can tell us about the face of the Paris Agreement.

Josh Blackman examined whether Trump can remove special counsel Robert Mueller.

J. Dana Stuster updated the Middle East Ticker.

Russell Spivak summarized a recent decision by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York dismissing two complaints against Facebook for its role in providing a platform to Hamas.

Russell and Jordan Brunner gave us an update on what happened at the 9/11 military commission last week.

Daniel Byman wrote that the Manchester attack shows us how the danger posed by terrorism has changed.

I summarized the major takeaways from former CIA Director John Brennan’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee yesterday.

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