Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Victoria Clark
Monday, June 18, 2018, 1:55 PM

FBI director Christopher Wray and Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday afternoon, NPR reports. The two will have to answer difficult questions from both Democrats and Republicans after the inspector general’s office released its June 14 report on the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email investigation. This will be the first time Wray has testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee since his confirmation hearing in July 2017. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.

Former FBI counterintelligence chief Peter Strzok is willing to testify before “any Congressional committee that invites him,” according to CNN. Special Counsel Robert Mueller removed Strzok from the Russia probe after he sent anti-Trump text messages to another FBI colleague on a work phone. The House Judiciary Committee intended to issue a subpoena for Strzok to testify, but his lawyer said that was “wholly unnecessary.”

The Taliban has refused to extend a three-day ceasefire with the Afghan government. The group ordered its fighters to vacate government-controlled areas by Sunday night, after the end of the Eid religious festival. The Afghan government says its security forces will continue the ceasefire for 10 more days, but they are allowed to defend themselves if they come under attack. The three-day agreement saw security forces and Taliban militants hugging and taking selfies together. BBC has the full story.

Maryland police used a controversial facial-recognition program to catch a robbery suspect, according to the Wall Street Journal. The program has sparked furor among privacy advocates who worry about the police’s ability to access large numbers of driver’s license photos, including photos of individuals who have never committed a crime. Law enforcement says that the fact that the databases include photos of first-time offenders makes using those databases a more efficient way to identify a potential suspect. Currently, 31 states allow police to use driver’s license photos in facial recognition programs. According to a 2016 report, 117 million American adults have their photo in a law-enforcement facial-recognition network.

The Israeli military says a Palestinian man was killed on Monday after an Israeli military fortification exploded as the man tampered with it on the Gaza border, reports Reuters. The last two months have seen an escalation in violence along the border after Palestinians launched the “Great March of Return” on March 30. More than 125 people have been killed, all of them Palestinian. The Washington Post reports that Palestinian forces are using incendiary kites to damage large amounts of Israeli land. The Israeli Army says thousands of the kites have been used in the past eight weeks, causing more than $1 million worth of damage.

The Pentagon ordered U.S. Cyber Command to be more aggressive in its efforts to protect the nation from cyber attacks, reports the New York Times. Given Cyber Command’s historically defensive role, current and former officials are concerned this move will bring the U.S. into nearly daily conflict with foreign attackers. The vision statement on the new objective says it will “contest dangerous adversary activity before it impairs our national power.” The White House’s influence on the decision is unclear.

Ivan Duque, a conservative, pro-business candidate, was elected president of Colombia, reports the Journal. Duque won 54 percent of the vote, and his running mate, Marta Lucia Ramirez, will be the country’s first female vice president. Duque will face a range of issues during his presidency including one million Venezuelan migrants, a delicate peace agreement with former FARC militants, and the long-standing crisis over Colombia’s cocaine production. The U.S. is expected to welcome Duque’s presidency, as he has spent a significant portion of his professional life in Washington at the Inter-American Development Bank.

As of June 21, Facebook will stop showing advertisements for gun accessories to children, according to BBC. Facebook’s current policy allows any user to see ads for scopes, holsters, and other gun-related products. The tech company claims this change came after a “regular review” of its policies, but tech news site the Verge argued the shift was in response to the increased number of school shootings in recent years.

ICYMI: Last Weekend on Lawfare

Paul Rosenzweig reflected on his previous assessment of the Manafort witness tampering allegations.`

Peter Margulies reviewed the inspector general’s report on the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email investigation, and highlighted a concerning month-long delay in obtaining a warrant.

Jen Patja Howell posted the latest Lawfare Podcast where Carrie Cordero, Quinta jurecic, Marty Lederman, and Benjamin Wittes discussed the inspector general’s report.

Charlie Dunlap worried about the New York Times’ coverage of the U.S. military.

Lorenzo Vidino and Seamus Hughes analyzed the threat of prison radicalization.

John Bellinger flagged former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh’s op-ed in the Post titled “We Republicans Must All Speak Out to Protect the Mueller Investigation.”

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