Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Victoria Clark
Wednesday, June 13, 2018, 1:18 PM

The Saudi-led coalition launched an assault on the Yemen port city of Hodeidah, reports CNN. Despite the U.N.’s attempts to broker a peace agreement between the Iran-backed Houthi rebels who hold the city and the Saudi-backed coalition forces, the offensive began early Wednesday morning. Humanitarian groups say this latest offensive could be ‘catastrophic’ if the port’s operations stop for any amount of time. About 90 percent of Yemen’s food is imported, and 70 percent of those imports travels through Hodeidah. The U.S. agreed to provide intelligence to coalition forces for airstrike targets.

A Customs and Border Protection agent contacted New York Times reporter Ali Watkins to discuss her confidential sources, even though the agent was not a part of the official FBI leak investigation, according to the Washington Post. Watkins received classified information from ex-Senate staffer James Wolfe, who was charged last week with three counts of lying to FBI agents. The CBP agent is under investigation by the CBP Office of Professional Responsibility for contacting Watkins using his personal email, meeting with her on multiple occasions, and using his position to access her travel records.

Trump claims North Korea is “no longer a Nuclear Threat,” reports the Post. After the historic meeting on Tuesday, discrepancies remain about what the summit actually accomplished. Korean Central News Agency reported the leaders agreed to “step-by-step” denuclearization. Trump tweeted the world has already taken a “big step back from potential Nuclear catastrophe!” Meanwhile, South Korea is quietly purchasing new military equipment after Trump’s promise to end joint military exercises with the nation.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller requested that a judge limit the amount of evidence provided to a Russian defendant, according to the Hill. Yevgeny Prigozhin, a wealthy Russian businessman, is accused of aiding Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 elections. In a Tuesday filing, Mueller’s team argued the information, if provided to Prigozhin, could be used by Russian intelligence in their “continuing” efforts to sabotage the United States.

Two companies won a $45 million contract to protect more than 600 U.S. dams from IT risks, reports Defense One. In 2016, Iranian hackers attempted to gain access to both the Arthur R. Bowman Dam in Oregon and the Bowman Avenue Dam in Rye Brook, New York. The Interior Department’s latest move recognizes cybersecurity protection for U.S. infrastructure as an important national security issue.

Macedonia will change its name to placate Greece after a 27-year disagreement, according the New York Times. Greece has historically been opposed to the nation’s name, citing fears that it represents Macedonia’s intentions to seize land in northern Greece with the same name. After the announcement, Greek officials promised to withdraw formal objections to Macedonia’s membership in both NATO and the European Union. The nation will now be called the Republic of North Macedonia.

China will install a tracking chip on all registered cars beginning July 1, reports the Wall Street Journal. Chinese authorities say the plan will help address concerns over public safety and traffic congestion. Compliance with the program will be mandatory beginning in 2019.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Mieke Eoyang, Ben Freeman, Ryan Pougiales, and Benjamin Wittes posted the results of their May survey of public confidence on national security issues.

Sen. Mark Warner shared his speech from the National Security Agency’s 29th annual Law Day.

Matthew Kahn uploaded the joint statement from President Trump and Kim Jong Un.

Matthew Kahn also shared the U.K. Investigatory Powers Codes of Practice.

Eliot Kim summarized the latest Foreign Intelligence Sovereign Immunities Act case: Jam v. International Finance Corporation.

In this week’s Middle East Ticker, J. Dana Stuster warned about reports of an impending attack on the key Yemen port city of Hodeidah and other news from the region.

Mira Rapp-Hooper and Steph Haggard analyzed the Trump-Kim summit on the latest episode of the Lawfare Podcast.

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