Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Vishnu Kannan
Thursday, August 1, 2019, 2:01 PM

U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said that North Korea’s recent test of two short-range ballistic missiles “[does not] violate the pledge that Kim Jong Un made to the president about intercontinental-range ballistic missiles,” Reuters reports. “But you have to ask when the real diplomacy is going to begin, when the working-level discussions on denuclearization will begin,” he said.

For the first time, the FBI has identified “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists” as a growing terrorist threat, Yahoo News reports. An unpublicized FBI intelligence bulletin from the agency’s Phoenix office says, “The FBI assesses these conspiracy theories very likely will emerge, spread, and evolve in the modern information marketplace, occasionally driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts.”

Former top staffers to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell lobbied Congress on behalf of a $200 million project in Kentucky backed by Rusal, one of Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska’s aluminium companies, Politico reports. Rusal was only able to make the investment after the Treasury Department alleviated sanctions on the company in December 2018.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA)’s top commander in Hong Kong called the region’s recent protests “absolutely intolerable” in a speech at the same time as the Hong Kong garrison of the PLA released a video of Chinese soldiers practicing firing warning shots towards protestors and carrying red banners which read, “Stop charging, or we use force,” the Washington Post reports.

As part of an effort to fight disinformation, the British army will reorganize its 6th Division, consolidating hackers and propaganda specialists, the Guardian says. Considering that “the character of warfare continues to change,” one of the division’s tasks will be to improve the response to fake news, particularly when emerging from foreign actors.

Cisco will pay $8.6 million to settle government claims that it sold surveillance technology to federal, state and local entities that it knew to be vulnerable to hacking, the Times informs. One of the company’s subcontractors identified the flaw in 2008; in 2010, after realizing Cisco had failed to fix it, he contacted the FBI.

A hack targeting Pearson, an educational software company, has affected more than 13,000 schools and universities mainly in the U.S., the Wall Street Journal writes. The FBI notified the British firm in March about a cyberattack that had exposed the personal information of thousands of students.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Henry Farrell and Abraham L. Newman introduced a new paper on “weaponized interdependence” and the intersection of national security and economic policy.

Rachel Brown and Preston Lim shared the most recent edition of SinoTech, in which they analyze the resumption of trade talks between the U.S. and China, President Trump calling on WTO to stop treating China as a “developing economy” and more.

Jen Patja Howell shared the most recent episode of Rational Security, the “The ‘You Too Can Be DNI!’ Edition,” in which Shane Harris, Susan Hennessey and David Priess discuss the anticipated appointment of Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas as the next Director of National Intelligence, Shane’s recent profile of Gina Haspel in the Washington Post and more.

Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.