Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Gordon Ahl
Friday, September 13, 2019, 12:25 PM

In an effort to reduce tensions with Turkey, the Pentagon is preparing to deploy approximately 150 troops to northeastern Syria, reports the New York Times. The deployment is designed to support Turkish efforts to prevent Kurdish fortifications near the Turkish border while avoiding larger conflict between Kurdish and Turkish forces.

U.S. senators announced that $250 million in military aid for Ukraine has been released by the Trump administration, according to Reuters. The money will support the ongoing Ukrainian military effort against pro-Russian separatists.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied a Politico report suggesting that Israel had cellphone surveillance devices located around Washington, DC, including near the White House, says the Washington Post. In response to a question about the report, Trump said, “anything is possible” but “I don’t think the Israelis are spying on us. I really would find that hard to believe,” reports Peter Baker of the New York Times.

Rep. Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, subpoenaed the U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan to appear before the committee on September 19, according to Politico. Engel said the hearing is needed to help the American public understand how the Afghan peace process “went off the rails.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that Chinese officials are seeking to limit the scope of ongoing negotiations with the U.S. to only trade matters. The plan would leave more challenging national security issues on a separate track in an effort to progress talks.

A grand jury met yesterday without filing public charges against former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, according to the Washington Post. The Justice Department is investigating whether he committed criminal conduct in connection with allegations stated in a 2018 Inspector General report that McCabe “lacked candor, including under oath, on multiple occasions.”

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Peter Margulies discussed the potential explanations behind the Supreme Court justices’ stay which rescinded the national injunction against the third country asylum rule.

Kemal Kirisci and Gokce Uysal Kolasin analyzed policies to help Syrian refugees become productive members of the Turkish agricultural economy in the midst of growing pressure to send them back to Syria.

Robert Chesney and Steve Vladeck posted this week’s episode of the National Security Law Podcast. In honor of the anniversary of 9/11, they debate the parts of current counterterrorism law that would have been most surprising back in 2001, the ruling that the process of adding U.S. citizens to the Terrorist Screening Database violates the Fifth Amendment, and a ruling on whether GTMO detainees may have access to a private doctor.

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