National security adviser John Bolton is pushing to eliminate the cybersecurity coordinator in the White House, according to Politico. The position leads National Security Council staffers who manage interagency cooperation and strategy-making on cyber policy. Bolton’s motives seem mixed: He supports a more aggressive cybersecurity posture and is looking to reorganized the entire NSC. Deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel may pick up the roles of the cybersecurity coordinator herself. Several former government workers and academics expressed concern that this move indicated that the United States was not prioritizing cybersecurity.
Israel attacked a dozen Iranian military targets in Syria, according to the New York Times. Israel was responding to 20 rockets that Iran fired at Israeli-held territory. However, none of those rockets met its target. Israel claims to have destroyed “nearly all” remnants of Iran’s military infrastructure in Syria.
Five members of the Islamic State were arrested in Iraq by Iraqi forces, according to the Washington Post. One of those five is a top aide to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State. Hisham al-Hashimi, an adviser to the Iraqi government, said, “[t]his is the operation that broke the skull of the Islamic State. Other operations were just breaking bones.” Iraq has already used information gleaned from Ithawi in two airstrikes in Syria. The operation, which, led to the five arrests, benefitted from both U.S and Turkish intelligence support.
The Pentagon released an executive summary on its investigation into the 2017 ambush of U.S. forces in Niger, according to the Post. The report blamed the ambush on a series of both individual and institutional failures. A separate and ongoing review will make recommendations on possible disciplinary action. According to Marine Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, “[U.S. Africa Command is] now far more prudent. The missions we actually accompany on have to have some type of strategic value in terms of the enemy we're going against. Do they have a strategic threat to the United States.”
Pakatan Harapan prevailed in the Malaysian election, ousting Barisan Nasional, the ruling party that has dominated Malaysia since the 1950s, according to the New York Times. Mahathir Mohamad, the new prime minister, previously served as prime minister for 20 years in the 1980s and 90s. He replaces Najib Razak, who is accused of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars. Mohamad said of Razak, “[w]e don't want to punish people because they disagree with us, but the law will be fully implemented in this country. Before, there was no rule of law.”
ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare
Bobby Chesney wrote two pieces about Doe v. Mattis: an overview of the majority opinion and an analysis of whether prosecuting Doe is a viable option.
Matthew Kahn posted the D.C. federal district court’s denial of Khalid Ahmed Qassim’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus.
Steve Vladeck analyzed the dissent in Doe v. Mattis and found four main problems with it.
Paul Rosenzweig and Megan Reiss wrote on the implications if John Bolton eliminated the White House cybersecurity coordinator position.
Stephen Rickard and Elisa Massimino wrote on how Gina Hapsel’s involvement with and support for torture is central to why they do not support her nomination for CIA director.
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