Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Elliot Setzer
Friday, March 6, 2020, 12:16 PM

Coronavirus cases surpassed 100,000 worldwide yesterday, according to the Washington Post. In the United States, the death toll rose to 12 on Thursday and numerous states, including Maryland, confirmed their first cases. U.S. health officials said yesterday they expect to send enough coronavirus tests to public laboratories this week to test about 400,000 people, reports Reuters.

The presidents of Russia and Turkey yesterday announced a deal to halt fighting in the Syrian region of Idlib, bringing the two countries back from the brink of open war, according to the New York Times. They said the agreement included a ceasefire as well as joint patrols by Russian and Turkish troops of a corridor along a highway that runs through Idlib. Hours after the Russian-Turkish ceasefire went into effect, fifteen people were killed on Friday in clashes between Syrian government forces and al-Qaeda-affiliated insurgents in Idlib province, writes Reuters.

Gunmen killed 27 people in Kabul yesterday at an event attended by Afghan opposition leader Abdullah Abdullah, reports the New York Times. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday said the recent upsurge of violence in Afghanistan was unacceptable and must cease for the peace process with the Taliban to move forward, according to Reuters. Meanwhile, the United States is seeking UN Security Council backing for its peace deal with the Taliban, an agreement aimed at bringing US troops home from Afghanistan, writes the Associated Press.

The United States rebuked the International Criminal Court after it ruled that its chief prosecutor could investigate alleged war crimes in Afghanistan that may have been committed by the U.S. military, Afghan forces and the Taliban, reports the Wall Street Journal. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Thursday’s decision “a truly breathtaking action by an unaccountable political institution masquerading as a legal body.”

Newly released records, stolen from Iran two years ago by Israeli spies, demonstrate that Iran had already made progress in acquiring critical components needed to build a nuclear weapon, according to the Washington Post.

On Thursday, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia rebuked Attorney General William Barr for his handling of last year’s report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, reports the Washington Post. Judge Reggie Walton, overseeing a lawsuit brought by the Electronic Privacy Information Center and Buzzfeed News, ruled that he would conduct an independent review of Mueller’s full report to see whether the Justice Department’s redactions were appropriate. You can read the opinion here.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Stewart Baker shared an episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast featuring an interview with Daphne Keller, Director of the Program on Platform Regulation at Stanford University’s Cyber Policy Center.

Bobby Chesney and Steve Vladeck shared an episode of the National Security Law Podcast featuring an interview with Brigadier General John Baker, Chief Defense Counsel for the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay.

Lester Munson shared an episode of the Fault Lines podcast discussing Chinese investment on the African continent.

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast discussing clickbait videos and influence campaigns with Lisa Kaplan and Sophie Lawton of Alethea Group, an organization working to detect and mitigate social media disinformation.

Elliot Setzer shared an opinion from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court regarding reforms to the FISA application process.

Elliot Setzer shared a decision by the International Criminal Court authorizing an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan committed by the United States military, Afghan authorities and the Taliban.

Evan Kielar and Patrick McDonnell summarized the Treasury Department’s new foreign investment rules.

Mark MacCarthy and Kenneth Propp analyzed an EU white paper on AI.

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