Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Matthew Kahn
Tuesday, January 16, 2018, 12:15 PM

In the coming days, the Senate is expected to take up S.139, the bill to reauthorize Title XII of the FISA Amendments Act that the House passed last week, says the Hill. The Senate debate is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. EST on Tuesday. The Senate moved quickly to begin debate on the bill, which includes provisions to reauthorize the Section 702 foreign surveillance program, in a 69-26 vote late last week. S.139 passed the House after Twitter comments from President Donald Trump, which he walked back within a few hours, threatened to sink the bill. Lawfare will provide continuing coverage of the developments on our resource page.

North Korean musicians will perform in South Korea during next month’s Winter Olympics, the New York Times reports. In a meeting on Monday to negotiate terms of Pyongyang’s participation, the two sides agreed that 80 orchestra musicians and 60 singers and dancers—members of the Samjiyon Band, an orchestra—will travel throughout the country. North Korea had already agreed to send athletes, cheerleaders, an art troupe, and journalists to the Olympics last week.

The Supreme Court is hearing oral argument in Dalmazzi v. United States, reports SCOTUSblog. The case concerns the effect of a ban on active-duty military officers concurrently holding certain other government jobs on military judges serving on the Court of Military Commissions Review (CMCR). Three servicemembers that received judgments from military appellate court panels that included CMCR judges each sued, arguing that those judges’ dual-service is unlawful and that the servicemembers are therefore entitled to new trials. The court is hearing those three cases jointly. Lawfare contributing editor Steve Vladeck is arguing for Dalmazzi.

Hackers linked to North Korea are mounting an offensive on cryptocurrency investors using malware similar to that involved in the 2014 incident at Sony Pictures and the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack, says the Wall Street Journal. A cybersecurity firm released a report Tuesday morning saying the Lazarus hacking group, which has connections to the Kim regime, has been targeting users on a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange. The amount of money that the hackers have stolen remains unclear.

The Pentagon has plans to develop new sea-based nuclear weapons, according to the Journal. The two planned systems are a small-yield warhead to be affixed to Trident missiles and a nuclear sea-launched cruise missile, a type of system that the military retired in 2010. A Defense Department Nuclear Posture Review that Trump commissioned last year recommends the development of both systems. Some critics are concerned that possessing more flexible nuclear weapons could reduce the threshold for using them.

At least 38 people died in a suicide attack in the center of Baghdad, says the Journal. The attacks, which are the most deadly in Iraq since the government claimed victory over the Islamic State last year, break a period of relative peace that Baghdad’s residents had enjoyed for several months. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

ICYMI: Last weekend on Lawfare

Vanessa Sauter posted this week’s Lawfare Podcast, featuring a conversation with David Anderson on the U.K.'s intelligence policies.

Bob Litt responded to the president’s allegation that Peter Strzok committed treason.

Alex Thurston listed five myths that some experts believe about Boko Haram.

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