Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Hadley Baker, Vishnu Kannan
Thursday, June 20, 2019, 11:19 AM

The Iranian military shot down a U.S. surveillance drone this morning, according to both countries. The U.S. and Iran disagree as to whether the drone was in international or Iranian airspace. U.S. Central Command has called the incident “an unprovoked attack.” The commander-in-chief of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps was quoted saying crossing the Iranian border was “our red line” and that this is “how Iran deals with its enemies,” the New York Times reports.

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in North Korea for a state visit, making this the first visit by a Chinese leader to the country in 14 years. Analysts say that the visit could help restart negotiations over the North Korean nuclear weapons program. The talks have stalled since the February 2019 summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un, which ended abruptly and without an agreement between the two sides, according to CNN.

Paul Whelan, a former Marine who was detained by Russian authorities on espionage charges in December, asked President Trump to intervene in his case following a Moscow court ruling that extends his incarceration for six months. His court-appointed lawyer said that a flash drive containing “state secrets” was planted in his pocket by a friend tied to Russian security services. If found guilty, Whelan could face prison for up to 20 years, the Washington Post writes.

A U.K. court ruled that British arms sales to Saudi Arabia are unlawful because government ministers failed to properly consider their contribution to civilian casualties in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. The decision does not withdraw previous licenses to export arms to the kingdom, but does prevent the government from granting new licenses until a court-mandated review is completed, the Guardian reports.

According to Putin, the U.S. ban on Huawei and the imposition of tariffs seek to weaken China and hold back its economy, Reuters says.

The Federal Trade Commission is in the late stages of an investigation into YouTube’s handling of videos directed at children and the collection of their data, according to the Times.

Britain's parliamentary committee on human rights began its enquiry into the right to privacy and the digital revolution, The Guardian reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Ashley Deeks analyzed the question of the use of force and the right of self-defense regarding the U.S. response to Iran, following the attack of two oil tankers earlier in June.

Bobby Chesney and Steve Vladeck shared the latest episode of the National Security Law Podcast, in which they discussed military force against Iran, the Supreme Court, the recent hacking of the Russian grid and more.

Rachel Brown and Preston Lim shared the latest in U.S.-China technology news, involving the growing tension between the two countries ahead of the G20 summit.

Nicholas Weaver explored concerns over Facebook’s new cryptocurrency, arguing that government regulators should take action against the project in order to limit cybercriminals.

Jen Patja Howell shared the latest episode of Rational Security, in which contributors discussed the acting secretary of defense, U.S. hacking and recent tension between the White House and Congress.

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