Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Garrett Hinck
Tuesday, October 24, 2017, 2:12 PM

The Trump administration will allow refugee admissions from all countries to resume and will put in place stricter screening measures, the Wall Street Journal reported. The refugee program was put on hold this summer as part of the administration’s travel ban for a 120-day period that expires on Tuesday. The increased vetting measures will include more extensive collection of biographical data and investigation into applicants’ social media history.

Senator John McCain called for a new congressional authorization for the use of military force for U.S. military operations overseas, Politico reported. McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, said the recent deaths of four U.S. soldiers in Niger called into question the extent of U.S. military operations around the globe. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis will testify at a Senate hearing on the authorization for the use of military force next week.

Pakistan’s prime minister pledged to support U.S. counterrorism efforts during a meeting on Tuesday with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Reuters reported. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi affirmed Pakistan’s continued support for “the war against terror” and said the country had “produced results” in efforts against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

The State Department warned Myanmar’s military leadership that it held them accountable for atrocities committed against the Rohingya ethnic minority, Reuters reported. A spokesperson for the State Department said on Monday it is considering targeted sanctions measures against officials that have facilitated human rights abuses. More than 600,000 Rohingya have left Myanmar as refugees since the crisis began.

Michael Cohen, a former attorney for President Trump, will speak with congressional investigators from the House and Senate intelligence committees this week, NBC News reported. In August, NPR reported that Cohen contacted Russian government officials to get assistance with a permit for a Trump real estate deal in Moscow.

The U.S.-led coalition in Syria denied striking Syrian-government held positions in Deir al-Zour city, according to Reuters reported.  Syrian state television accused the coalition of carrying out airstrikes that killed at least 14 people on Monday. A coalition spokesperson said its air forces had not conducted any strikes in the Syrian-government held parts of the city.

The Department of Justice will allow tech companies to alert their customers to law enforcement requests for their personal data, Ars Technica reported. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a memo last week that the department would drop its practice of requiring gag orders for companies that surrender customer data to legal authorities. In response, Microsoft dropped a lawsuit against the Department of Justice challenging the gag orders.

British lawmakers asked Facebook for information about Russia-linked advertisements on its platform during the Brexit vote and 2017 parliamentary elections, Reuters reported on Tuesday.  Damian Collins, the head of a parliamentary inquiry into false and misleading news stories, made the request as part of an effort to understand the impact of foreign actors on social media.

A military judge ordered the civilian defense team for Rahim al-Nashiri back to the military court after the lawyers quit last week over ethical conflicts, the Miami Herald reported. Judge Vance Spath contradicted military’s chief defense counsel Gen. John Baker’s order to dismiss the civilian members of al-Nashiri’s defense team. Baker had dismissed the lawyers after they brought up an ethical conflict of interest over a classified matter. Judge Spath ordered the attorneys to appear at the next court hearing in two weeks.

Iraqi militias launched an offensive against a Kurdish-held oil pipeline hub near the Turkish border on Tuesday, Reuters reported. Kurdish forces pledged to defend the area, which is a conduit for oil exports that provide vital revenue to the Kurdish Regional Government.

A bipartisan group of senators will introduce a bill that would require the FBI to obtain warrants to search data collected under the authority of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Reuters reported. Senators Ron Wyden and Rand Paul said their bill to reauthorize the intelligence community’s surveillance authorities under Section 702 would include more transparency and oversight mechanisms. It would allow individuals to more easily challenge surveillance in court and would expand the role of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.

 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Matthew Kahn analyzed the legislative history behind the 25th Amendment and its applications in cases of presidential disability.

Josh Blackman argued that the Hawaii District Court’s injunction against the most recent travel ban order does pass the “rational basis” test.

Vanessa Sauter posted a letter from a group of former national security officials urging the reauthorization of FISA Section 702 surveillance authorities.

Sabrina McCubbin summarized pre-trial motions in Smith v. Trump, a case challenging the application of the 2001 AUMF to the Islamic State.

Rick Ledgett argued that the only way for Kasperksy to regain users’ trust would be for it allow independent monitoring of all its anti-virus activities.

Matthew Kahn flagged a draft Section 702 reauthorization bill from the Senate intelligence committee.

Garrett Hinck described a strange sequence of events related to exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui and the Trump administration.

 

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