Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Vanessa Sauter
Wednesday, May 16, 2018, 1:45 PM

On Tuesday, the White House announced its decision to eliminate the cybersecurity coordinator position, a move perplexing experts and congressmen alike, the New York Times reports. Rob Joyce, the last cyber coordinator who formerly ran the National Security Agency’s Tailored Access Operations unit, returned to Ft. Meade on Friday. An internal memo said the decision to discontinue the position was because lower-level national security staff at the White House already focus on cybersecurity as a “core function.” Some speculated to the Times, however, that Bolton was wary of “competitive power centers” growing within the National Security Council.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has released nearly 2,500 pages of material from its investigation into a 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump campaign aides and Russians, NPR reports. The Times reported last year that members of the Trump campaign, were seeking “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. The recently released transcripts corroborate that report. The committee released transcripts and evidence from interviews with Glenn Simpson, Donald Trump Jr., Robert Goldstone, Rinat Akhmetshin, Anatoli Samochornov, and Irakly Kaveladze, as well as written materials from Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and Natalia Veselnitskaya.

North Korea threatened to withdraw from the planned summit in June, the Times reports. Pyongyang’s disarmament negotiator rejected “unilateral nuclear abandonment” pushed by the Trump administration. North Korean state media issued a warning hours before the government released an official statement that Pyongyang might cancel the planned summit in protest of the U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises occurring this week.

Joshua Adam Schulte, a former CIA employee who helped to develop code used to monitor foreign adversaries, has been identified as the suspect in last year’s leak of the agency’s hacking tools, the Washington Post reports. Federal prosecutors have not yet brought charges against Schulte in connection with the disclosure; he is currently held in a Manhattan jail on child pornography charges, to which he has pleaded not guilty. Schulte allegedly provided the highly classified information regarding the agency’s cyberweapons and spying techniques to Wikileaks in March 2017, which was then published under the name “Vault7.”

The Senate intelligence committee has voted 10-5 to endorse Gina Haspel, President Trump’s nominee to be CIA director, according to NPR. The full Senate must now vote to confirm Haspel.

Separately, the committee announced the conclusion of the committee’s review of the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The committee called the assessment “accurate and on point,” describing the Russian effort as “extensive, sophisticated, and ordered by President Putin himself for the purpose of helping Donald Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton.”

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Paul Rosenzweig addressed the White House decision to eliminate the cybersecurity coordinator position.

Valentin Weber reviewed Tim Maurer’s Cyber Mercenaries: The State, Hackers, and Power.

Sarah Grant provided an update on the military commissions.

Michael Nesbitt evaluated Canada’s proposed information-sharing reforms.

J. Dana Stuster pointed to the Middle East updates you may have missed amid the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal last week.

Jen Patja Howell posted the latest Lawfare Podcast featuring Amanda Tyler on her new book. Stewart Baker published this week’s Cyberlaw Podcast.

Matthew Kahn shared Haspel’s responses to written questions from the Senate intelligence committee.

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