Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Victoria Clark
Friday, June 8, 2018, 11:55 AM

An ex-Senate staffer is accused of lying to federal agents in leak investigation, reports the New York Times. A D.C. grand jury indicted James Wolfe, the former director of security for the Senate intelligence committee, for making false statements to a government agency about his contact with reporters. During the investigation, the FBI obtained several years of email and telephone records of New York Times reporter Ali Watkins, raising questions about investigators’ ability to collect journalist’s communications.

President Trump called for Russia to be readmitted to the G-7, according to the Times. The G-7, or Group of Seven, is a bloc of the world’s wealthiest nations: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K and the United States. The group meets annually to discuss issues such as security, energy and the health of the global economy. The seven current members, led by the Obama administration, expelled Russia from the group as punishment for Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. Italy’s new prime minister backed Trump’s latest announcement in a Friday morning tweet. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Kremlin “is focused on other formats, apart from the G7.” 

Google’s announced an ethics policy that will prohibit the use of its artificial-intelligence products in military weapons, reports the Wall Street Journal. The company published a new, 8,000-word document outlining how it will oversee the application of AI. Google said they will not pursue “technologies that cause or are likely to cause overall harm.” In the face of internal pressure from employees, Google announced on June 1 that it would not renew a contract with the U.S. military that, according to the Journal,  provided the  Pentagon with image-recognition systems used in drones. But the new document does not limit other types of military partnerships: Google is currently bidding for a multi-billion-dollar contract to transfer the Pentagon’s data to the cloud.

A software bug made 14 million Facebook users’ private information public, according to BBC. The glitch, which was active between May 18 and 22, set users’ posts to be shared with everyone, even if they previously chose to only share information with friends. Facebook’s privacy chief said that they have “fixed they issue” and they “apologize for this mistake.”

The U.S. plans to release an American suspected of fighting for the Islamic State near a Syrian town with $4,210 and a new cellphone, reports the Washington Post. A new filing on Thursday outlined the government’s plan for the detainee, identified as John Doe. A Defense Department official called the release a “traditional military practice.”

The U.S. will intensify military operations against the Islamic State in eastern Afghanistan, according to Reuters. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced a ceasefire with the Taliban on June 7, but the arrangement excludes militant groups like the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the announcement will free up surveillance assets to be “reoriented” to the local Islamic State branch al-Qaeda, and other terrorist groups.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Bruce Schneier considered the implications of the Russian government’s battle with the Telegram encrypted-messaging app.

Richard Fontaine and Vance Serchuk argued Congress needs to exercise oversight over the U.S.’s foreign wars.

Lila Margalit expressed cautious optimism at the Israeli Supreme Court’s affirmation of its  decision to uphold prisoners’ right to personal space.

Matthew Kahn posted the grand jury indictment against former Senate intelligence committee  staffer James Wolfe for making false statements to the FBI about his contacts with reporters.

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