Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Stephanie Zable
Thursday, August 16, 2018, 3:22 PM

President Trump revoked the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan, according to the New York Times. This was the first time a president had ever revoked a clearance outside of the established process. The president called Brennan “erratic,” but many are concerned that the decision was made in retaliation for Brennan’s outspoken opposition to the president’s policies. Brennan wrote an op-ed responding to the revocation, in which he called Trump’s claims of no collusion with Russia “hogwash.” Read the president’s full statement on Lawfare).

The CIA’s botched use of systems for communicating with sources contributed to China’s discovery and execution of about 30 CIA assets, according to Foreign Policy. The CIA had successfully used the system, which was meant to bifurcate communication networks for vetted and unvetted sources, in Middle Eastern countries, but it underestimated China’s ability to penetrate it. The failure of the system for unvetted sources let Chinese intelligence see communications on both networks. China also shared its findings with the Kremlin.

The Boston Globe, in concert with hundreds of newspapers around the country, published an editorial responding to the president’s constant attacks on the free press. The Globe’s editorial board observed that Trump’s public insistence that the media is the “enemy of the people” runs counter to American values and endangers journalists around the world.

In Foreign Policy, Micah Zenko argued that the United States’ support of the Saudi Arabia-led bombing campaign in r Yemen amounts to a war crime, and that the U.S. has no good explanation for why it’s involved in the first place.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell posted this week’s episode of Rational Security, the “frenzied commentary” edition.

Robert Chesney and Steve Vladeck released the latest episode of the National Security Law Podcast.

Matthew Kahn posted the president’s statement revoking former CIA director John Brennan’s security clearance.

Jim Baker provided an overview of counterintelligence and AI, in the first of what will be a series of articles on the counterintelligence risks posed by the rise of AI.

Ingrid Wuerth questioned whether the federal common law of foreign relations still has value.

Nathan J. Brown responded to Ben Wittes’ proposal for a federalist Israel as part of the week-long series on the topic.

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