Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Gordon Ahl
Thursday, September 19, 2019, 4:32 PM

The Washington Post reported Wednesday evening that the intelligence community’s whistleblower complaint involved President Trump making a “promise” to a foreign leader over the phone, according to two former U.S. officials familiar with the matter. President Trump dismissed these reports, according to Politico by tweeting, “is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially ‘heavily populated’ call,” and characterizing the reporting as “another Fake News story out there.” On Thursday afternoon, the New York Times said the complaint concerned a series of actions, beyond any single discussion with a world leader.

The United Nations Security Council is set to vote on competing draft resolutions relating to a truce in northwest Syria, including the Idlib region. Reuters reports that Kuwait, Germany and Belgium put forward one draft demanding compliance with international law in all counterterrorism efforts, while the draft by China and Russia aims to exempt operations against terrorist groups from the cessation of hostilities.

In response to questions about the $13 million per year cost for each suspected terrorist held at Guantanamo Bay, President Trump told reporters, “It costs a fortune to operate, I think it’s crazy,” according to the New York Times. However, Trump did not specify whether his administration was considering closing the prison.

A Congolese army spokesman declared that Gen. Sylvestre Mudacumura was recently killed in a firefight in North Kivu Province, reports the Washington Post. Mudacumura was the commander of the Rwandan Hutu militia group FDLR and had been wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes.

The leaders of Italy and France declared in a joint meeting that the European Union must introduce a new system to automatically redistribute newly arrived migrants within the bloc, according to Reuters.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared this week’s episode of Rational Security, which included commentary on the intelligence community whistleblower situation, recent Israeli elections and Corey Lewandowski’s combative Congressional testimony.

Evelyn Douek discussed her new paper from the Hoover Institution’s Aegis Series on Facebook’s new Oversight Board.

Alex Campbell analyzed the shift in U.S. cyber strategy away from deterrence towards persistent engagement and the implications of the Chinese government misunderstanding this shift.

Jacob Shulz posted video of the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing on “Oversight of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.”

Shulz also shared two letters from the General Counsel of the ODNI expressing that the office has no statutory obligation to share information pertaining to the whistleblower’s complaint in response to the House Intelligence Committee’s subpoena.

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 opening on our Job Board.