Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Elliot Setzer
Friday, February 28, 2020, 1:58 PM

At least 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in a Syrian government attack in Syria’s northwestern Idlib region, representing a major escalation in the conflict, reports the BBC. Russian military officials denied responsibility Friday for the airstrike, according to the Washington Post. In anticipation of the imminent arrival of refugees from Idlib, a Turkish official stated that the country will no longer stop Syrian refugees from reaching Europe, writes Reuters. This would reverse an agreement with European officials made at the peak of the migration crisis of 2015-2016.

A federal judge is weighing civil contempt charges against a Russian company accused of funding a Russian troll farm’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election after prosecutors accused the firm of defying subpoenas to hand over documents, reports Reuters. The company, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, is controlled by a businessman named Evgeny Prigozhin with ties to Vladimir Putin.

Sen. Rand Paul said that President Donald Trump does not support an extension of expiring surveillance authorities without modification, writes Politico. Paul said Trump is “very supportive” of amendments to prevent the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act from targeting Americans. The comment came a day after Attorney General William Barr told GOP senators that Congress should extend the expiring provisions on roving wiretaps and call log metadata collection.

The U.S. Navy said yesterday that a Chinese warship fired a military-grade laser at a U.S. surveillance aircraft flying over the Pacific Ocean in international waters last week, reports The Hill. The Navy called the actions “unsafe and unprofessional.”

A government whistleblower complaint alleges that federal health employees interacted with Americans quarantined for possible infection with coronavirus without proper medical training or protective equipment, then entered into the general population, according to the New York Times.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Mikhaila Fogel shared the House of Representatives’ supreme court brief in the Mazars and Deutsche Bank Cases.

Scott Anderson discussed a valuable new database of war powers reports.

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast on the chaos of social media advertising.

Elliot Setzer shared a livestream of a House Armed Services Committee hearing on strategic forces posture.

Elliot Setzer shared a livestream of a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the response to coronavirus.

Jeremy Gordon summarized the House Judiciary Committee’s proposed changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Samuel Rebo discussed the prospects for extending the New START arms control treaty with Russia.

Jacques Singer-Emery and Rex Bray III analyzed what a data dump from the neo-Nazi website Ironmarch.org can tell us about how white supremacists communicate and recruit.

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