Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Vanessa Sauter
Thursday, November 16, 2017, 1:10 PM

The White House released an unclassified charter on its vulnerabilities equities process (VEP) on Wednesday, disclosing for the first time the rules under which the government chooses which software flaws it will disclose or retain for national security purposes, according to the Washington Post. The is a move toward greater transparency following years of criticism against the opaque process and the National Security Agency’s purported hoarding of zero-day vulnerabilities. Rob Joyce, the White House cybersecurity coordinator, stated in a blog post that the charter was intended “to demonstrate to the American people that the federal government is carefully weighing the risks and benefits” of the VEP.

On Wednesday, Rep. Steve Cohen introduced fives articles of impeachment President Donald Trump, including obstruction of justice, emoluments clause violations, and undermining federal judiciary independence and press freedom, CNN reports. Cohen, a member of the House Judiciary and its subcommittee on the Constitution, admitted that he doesn’t “expect the House [J]udiciary [C]ommittee, which is operated like a branch of the administration, to take up hearings.” Sarah Sanders, White House press secretary, rebuffed the calls for impeachment and urged for a greater focus on tax reform instead.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai called on Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe to resign after ruling the country for 37 years, according to CNN. Longstanding allies and members of Mugabe’s own party are now joining the opposition leader’s calls for Mugabe’s resignation. The military placed the president under house arrest and took control of state institutions Wednesday in an effort to stop “criminals” close to the 93-year-old president. The military stated its efforts are not a coup.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, asked for documents related to any possible participation of Jared Kushner in the dismissals of former FBI Director James Comey and former national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the Hill reports. On Wednesday, Feinstein sent the request to Donald McGahn, the White House counsel, following the Senate Judiciary Committee’s request to meet with Jared Kushner, which is not yet scheduled. Feinstein has also requested that informal Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone and real-estate developer Felix Sater meet with the committee as well.

New York U.S. District Judge Gregory H. Wood rejected a Hofstra law professor’s bid to stop a subpoena in the USS Cole case, the Miami Herald reports. Chief war court prosecutor Brig. Gen. Mark Martins ordered legal ethics expert Ellen Yaroshefsky to report to the military commissions headquarters on Friday. She is expected to give testimony related to an opinion she gave to a defense attorney in the Cole case, who has since resigned.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson faces growing bipartisan concern over his management of the State Department, according to Foreign Policy. Sens. Bob Corker, John McCain, Jeanne Shaheen and Ben Cardin are among a number of lawmakers who have expressed reservations about the secretary of state. Tillerson initiated an ambitious redesign process earlier this year that has resulted in substantial staff departure and diminishing morale.

ICYMI, Yesterday on Lawfare

Scott R. Anderson reviewed some of the key provisions in the proposed 2018 NDAA.

Kate Charlet, Sasha Romanosky and Bert Thompson underscored the importance of international dialogue on vulnerability equities.

Adel Abdel Ghafar discussed Mohammed bin Salman’s effort to establish a new Saudi political order.

Sarah Grant provided an update on the United States v. al-Nashiri proceedings.

Vanessa Sauter posted the White House VEP statement and charter.

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