Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Mikhaila Fogel
Monday, September 16, 2019, 5:19 PM

Two major oil installations were attacked in Saudi Arabia, reports the New York Times. U.S. officials later said that the strikes may have been carried out using drones and cruise missiles. Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed credit for the attack, but the Trump administration is reportedly zeroing in on whether Iran, a backer of the Houthis, had direct involvement in the attack. According to officials, photographic evidence suggests that the attack did not come from the direction of Yemen and that it may be beyond the Houthi’s technical capabilities.

Canada charged a top Royal Canadian Mounted Police intelligence official with leaking or offering to leak official secrets, according to the Times. The official, Cameron Ortis,  faces three charges of passing along—or offering to pass along—sensitive information gathered by Canada and its allies.

Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff issued a subpoena on Friday to the Acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) for a whistleblower complaint, which the intelligence community inspector general has deemed a matter of “urgent concern.” On Friday, Schiff wrote in a press release that more than ten days have passed since the day by which the acting DNI was obligated to pass along the complaint and that no DNI has ever “prevented a properly submitted whistleblower complaint that the IC IG determined to be credible and urgent from being provided to the congressional intelligence committees.”

A Russian intelligence operation targeting FBI communications within the U.S. hamstrung the bureau’s ability to monitor Russian spies and agents on American soil, according to Yahoo News. The operation involved evinced substantial improvements in Russia’s ability to decrypt FBI secure communications systems.

The House Judiciary Committee is seeking testimony from former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, reports the Washington Post. An attorney for Sessions has said that his client will not testify unless Congress issues a subpoena for the former attorney general’s testimony.

Leaders from Turkey, Russia and Iran are expected to meet in Ankara on Monday to discuss conditions in Syria and ways to end the violence in Syria’s Idlib province, says the Post.

The White House announced on Saturday that Hamza Bin Laden, al-Qaeda member and Osama Bin Laden’s son, has been killed in a U.S. counterterrorism operation in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region, reports the BBC.

ICYMI: Last Weekend on Lawfare

Elizabeth Parker-Magyar examined why Jordan has welcomed more Syrian refugees than Syria’s other neighbors.

Jen Patja Howell posted the latest edition of the Lawfare Podcast, featuring a panel discussion about potential digital privacy legislation with David Hoffman, Sally Greenberg, Cam Kerry and Lydia Parnes, moderated by Benjamin Wittes.

Quinta Jurecic shared letters that Rep. Adam Schiff sent to acting DNI Joseph Maguire regarding the intelligence community whistleblower complaint which the IC IG judged to be credible and of “urgent concern.”

Jurecic also shared a filing by the Justice Department opposing the House Judiciary Committee’s efforts to seek currently-redacted grand jury information in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report—in the filing, the government argues that the committee is not involved with impeachment proceedings.

 

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