Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Vishnu Kannan
Friday, June 14, 2019, 12:25 PM

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said U.S. intelligence agencies attributed the recent attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman to Iran, the New York Times reports. A video released Thursday night by U.S. Central Command showing Iranian military units detaching an unexploded mine from the hull of the ship appears to support the allegation, however, the crew of the ship says that it was stuck by a “flying object.” President Trump supported Pompeo’s assessment Friday morning saying, "Well, Iran did do it." The Iranian government released a statement telling the U.S. and its regional allies to “stop warmongering” and end “mischievous plots as well as false flag operations in the region.”

President Trump announced that White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders will resign at the end of June, according to CNN. Her departure marks the longest period without a televised White House press briefing since the custom began more than twenty years ago.

A top advisor to Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam, a member of the Hong Kong legislature and twenty-two former government officials are urging Lam to withdraw a controversial extradition bill from consideration in the Hong Kong legislature. Support for the bill appears to be weakening in the aftermath of protests in Hong Kong which reportedly drew over a million people, Reuters reports.

A U.K. judge has scheduled a full extradition hearing for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Feb. 25, 2020, The Guardian says. Assange has been indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice for violating the Espionage Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

On Thursday evening, Ellen Weintraub, chairwoman of the Federal Election Commission released a statement saying “It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election. This is not a novel concept.” Her statement came hours after President Trump said he would accept derogatory information from foreign nationals on his political opponents if given the opportunity in 2020, Politico writes.

In an effort to counter misinformation and election interference, Twitter removed almost 4800 accounts linked to the Iranian government, The Guardian says. The company has also deleted accounts that spread Russian, Catalonian and Venezuelan propaganda.

Hackers who developed the Triton malware have probed the U.S. electric grid, The Verge reports. Triton was developed in 2017 with the original aim of disabling safety equipment at a Saudi Arabian oil refinery.

More than a dozen companies, including Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and Uber, are investing on Libra, Facebook’s new cryptocurrency, according to The Wall Street Journal.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Dan Efrony argued that U.S. and its allies’s highly ambiguous approach to law and policy in cyberspace undermines attempts to develop clear binding norms for state conduct in cyberspace.

Steven Pifer analyzed the challenges facing Ukraine’s bid for membership in NATO.

Vishnu Kannan shared a livestream of the House Intelligence Committee hearing on the “National Security Challenges of Artificial Intelligence, Manipulated Media and Deepfakes.”

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