Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Vishnu Kannan
Friday, August 16, 2019, 2:48 PM

On Friday morning, North Korea tested two short-range projectiles presumed to be ballistic missiles, marking the sixth such test since late July, according to the South Korean military, Yonhap News Agency reports. The tests followed the North Korean government’s warning that it may end its dialogue with South Korea in protest over ongoing U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises. The South Korean government called on the North to cease test-launching missiles, saying that it violates the spirit of last year’s inter-Korean summit agreements, Yonhap separately reports.

The Indian government announced that schools and government offices would be reopened in Kashmir on Monday and phone service would gradually be restored, easing the lockdown which it has imposed in conjunction with revoking the region’s semi-autonomous status, the New York Times writes. The announcement came soon after the U.N. security council scheduled a closed-door meeting  on the “India Pakistan Question,” according to News18.

President Trump is expected to meet with senior national security officials to discuss the proposed U.S.-Taliban peace plan, per CNN. The agreement provides for the withdrawal of U.S. and allied troops in exchange for counterterrorism efforts by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Notably, while the deal includes a ceasefire between the Taliban and the U.S., it does not prevent the Taliban from attacking Afghan civilians or military personnel.

The Trump administration is proceeding with a $16 billion sale of F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan, over strong objections from Beijing, the Washington Post reports.  The State Department submitted the package for informal review to the Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs Committees—both of which are expected to approve the sale.

The Trump administration also urged Congress to permanently reauthorize the NSA’s authority to obtain Americans’ phone records from telecommunications companies under the 2015 USA Freedom Act, a program which the NSA itself had suspended as a result of repeated technical difficulties which caused the Agency to collect more information than it had the legal authority to gather, the Times reports.

On Thursday, Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coates and Deputy DNI Sue Gordon resigned from their positions, according to Politico. Joseph McGuire, head of the National Counterterrorism Center, will become the acting DNI as the administration prepares its search for a permanent director. The resignations reportedly leave a short list of qualified people willing to serve in the position.

U.S. Cyber Command shared samples of malware associated with a major North Korean-linked hacking group on the VirusTotal security repository as part of an information-sharing program between government and industry, CyberScoop reports.

The web infrastructure and security company CloudFlare acknowledged the risks of providing services to outlets such as 8chan in the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission as part of its initial public offering, CyberScoop writes. The company wrote in the “Risk Factors” portion of its S-1 filing that “even if we comply with legal obligations to remove or disable customer content, we may maintain relationships with customers that others find, hostile, offensive, or inappropriate,” and went on to directly reference its role in hosting outlets connected to the recent mass shooting in El Paso, Texas.

The U.S. Army’s new multi-domain units are inadequately staffed to address cyber threats from Russia and China, according to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office, Fifth Domain writes.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Scott Moore argued that President Trump’s techno-nationalism is a mistake given that U.S. companies have succeeded precisely because they were not subject to such an ideology.

Christopher Fonzone reviewed John Gans, "White House Warriors: How the National Security Council Transformed the American Way of War" (Liveright, 2019).

Scott R. Anderson, Quinta Jurecic and Benjamin Wittes analyzed FBI climate survey data which they obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

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