Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Elliot Setzer
Friday, May 22, 2020, 1:13 PM

The federal judge overseeing the case of former national security adviser Michael Flynn has 10 days to explain his rationale for declining to immediately dismiss the case against Flynn after the Justice Department moved to drop charges, reports Politico. A panel of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit say judge Emmet Sullivan must respond by May 31 to a request by Flynn that the appellate court drop his case. The circuit court also offered the Justice Department a chance to discuss the matter by the same deadline.

Republicans have recently focused on the question of which Obama administration officials requested the identity of Michael Flynn be “unmasked,” or unredacted, in intelligence documents. But in the FBI report about his communications with the Russian ambassador, Flynn’s name was never actually redacted, according to the Washington Post.

NATO ambassadors are meeting today to discuss how to respond to U.S. plans to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty, which allows more than 30 signatory countries to conduct reconnaissance flights over each other’s territories to collect information about military forces, writes the Associated Press.

The Palestinian Authority has suspended contact with the CIA after announcing an end to security coordination with Israel and the United States in response to Israeli plans to annex large portions of the West Bank, reports Reuters.

A gunman opened fire yesterday at a Naval Air Station in Texas, wounding at least one security force member in an attack that the FBI called “terrorism related,” according to NBC. The shooter was fatally shot at the scene.

The Senate yesterday voted to confirm Rep. John Ratcliffe for the position of Director of National Intelligence, writes the New York Times. Every Senate Democrat opposed the nomination, making Ratcliffe the first chief of the nation’s spy agencies to be installed with no support from the opposition party.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pushed State Department officials to find a way to retroactively justify the emergency declaration he had already decided to implement in order to fast-track an $8 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia last year, reports CNN. The State Department inspector general who was reportedly fired at Pompeo’s request was investigating the move to fast-track the sale.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast discussing Internet Research Agency trolls presenting themselves as black Americans with Deen Freelon.

Bobby Chesney and Steve Vladeck shared an episode of the National Security Law Podcast discussing inspectors general firings and Presidential Emergency Action Documents.

Jonathan Stromseth analyzed the state of U.S.-China rivalry after COVID-19.

Mieke Eoyang and Anisha Hindocha reexamined the Solarium Commission’s proposal for a national cyber director.

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