Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Hadley Baker, Vishnu Kannan
Thursday, August 15, 2019, 2:40 PM

The authorities in Gibraltar released an Iranian oil tanker which the United States applied to seize just hours prior, the latest in the ongoing dispute that began on July 4 when British Royal Marines and Gibraltar port officials seized the ship on claims that it was carrying oil to Syria in a move that violated a European Union embargo, reports the New York Times. Iran has yet to release the British tanker it seized in retaliation to the July 4 events.

Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the District of Columbia rejected a request from the House Judiciary Committee to have the same judge rule in a case involving former White House counsel Don McGahn and another involving grand jury material relating to former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, according to the Hill. In her decision, Judge Howell said that the random assignment of judges in lower courts is fundamental in preventing plaintiffs from attempting to “game the system by shopping for a judge they perceive as more favorable to their cause.”

A coalition of 13 U.S. states is suing the Trump administration over its new immigration policy, Reuters writes. By some estimates, the policy would cut legal immigration in half by denying visas and green cards to individuals if they fail to meet certain income standards or are deemed likely to use government benefit programs.

China has threatened to retaliate if President Trump imposes tariffs on Chinese imports starting Sept. 1, says the Associated Press.

Huawei technicians have helped Ugandan and Zambian government officials surveil and access the encrypted communications of political opponents, according to senior security officials in both countries, the Wall Street Journal reports. Huawei has denied the allegations, saying Huawei has “never been engaged in ‘hacking’ activities.” The Journal’s investigation found no evidence of Huawei spying on behalf of China, nor did it find that Huawei technology, specifically, made such surveillance possible.

The software engineer allegedly behind the recent Capital One hack, in which the attacker illegally accessed more than 100 million credit card applications, had stolen data from more than 30 other companies, according to federal prosecutors, the Washington Post writes.

In an interview with NPR, NSA Director and Commander of U.S. Cyber Command Gen. Paul Nakasone described the Russia Small Group, a task force to protect the 2020 elections from interference by conducting offensive cyber operations..

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Carrie Goldberg explained why Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act needs to be changed to hold communication platforms accountable for the safety of its users in light of ongoing litigation in the Herrick v. Grindr case.

Scott Anderson and Benjamin Wittes asked whether the FBI is punishing its employees for their political comments.

Bobby Chesney and Steve Slick shared the winners of the fifth annual Bobby R. Inman Award from the University of Texas’ Intelligence Studies Project.

Hadley Baker shared a proposed bill from Repbulican Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona, which would make domestic terrorism a federal crime.

Vishnu Kannan shared the Justice Department’s objection to the House Judiciary Committee’s request to designate their case against McGahn and their request of obtain the grand jury information in the Mueller report as related.

Rachel Brown and Preston Lim shared the latest edition of SinoTech, providing a roundup of U.S.-China technology news.

Jen Patja Howell shared the latest episode of Rational Security in which contributors discussed Hong Kong, Kashmir, the Russian missile test accident and House impeachment efforts.

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