Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Tia Sewell
Monday, August 3, 2020, 4:28 PM

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has reassigned top intelligence official Brian Murphy following news that his office compiled reports on journalists and protesters, according to NPR. Last Thursday, news broke that DHS had circulated “Open Source Intelligence Reports” on journalists who had published leaked documents about federal intelligence operations in Portland, including Lawfare editor in chief, Benjamin Wittes.

Protests have calmed in Portland since federal forces withdrew from the city, writes the Washington Post.

A “Colin Kaepernick stand-in” was used for a military K-9 demonstration at a fundraising event at the National Navy SEAL Museum, reports the Post. A video of the incident, which shows dogs attacking a handler wearing a Kaepernick jersey, has prompted an investigation by the Naval Special Warfare Command. The museum is a nonprofit organization not overseen by the Navy.

A new study found that defendants convicted of killing white victims were 17 times more likely to be executed than the killers of Black victims, according to the New York Times. The findings on racial inequality come amid a resumption of federal executions following a 17-year pause.

On Sunday, President Trump reversed course on his plans to ban TikTok from the U.S., writes Reuters. Microsoft is reportedly interested in purchasing Tik Tok’s U.S. operations and the president gave ByteDance, the Chinese company which owns TikTok, and Microsoft Corp 45 days to come to terms on a proposed acquisition deal.

Apple removed 29,800 apps from its Chinese app store on Saturday, reports Reuters. The takedowns include more than 26,000 games and come amid a Chinese government crackdown on game publishers without licensing.

Islamic State loyalists claimed an attack on a prison complex in eastern Afghanistan, according to the Times. The offensive began with a car bomb explosion breaking the jail’s perimeter on Sunday night that continued into Monday with a gun battle between prison officials and the assailants. Afghan authorities have scrambled to recapture hundreds of prisoners, including many from the Islamic State and the Taliban, who escaped during the assault.

Mexican federal authorities captured cartel leader José Antonio Yépez on Sunday, writes the Times. While the arrest marks a major victory against the Santa Rosa de Lima cartel, experts have noted that it is unclear whether it will make a meaningful difference in countering the debilitating violence in Mexico that has risen to peak levels amid the pandemic.

Experts have warned that the U.S. remains inadequately prepared to coordinate vaccine distribution for COVID-19, reports the Washington Post. The administration has worked to fast-track the development of a vaccine with Operation Warp Speed, but the logistics of immunizing the U.S. population remain unclear. To date, there have been over 4.6 million reported coronavirus cases and at least 155,000 deaths in the U.S., writes the Times.

Judge Esther Salas, whose son was killed by an “anti-feminist” lawyer in an attack at her New Jersey home last month, has called for further privacy protections for federal judges, according to BBC.

Twitter has permanently banned white supremacist and former KKK leader David Duke, reports the Post. According to the social media company, Duke was removed indefinitely for repeatedly violating the platform’s rules on hate speech.

Two anonymous sources have claimed that suspected Russian hackers stole classified U.S.-U.K. trade documents from the former British trade minister’s email account, according to Reuters. The documents were leaked in the lead-up to the 2019 U.K. election. Last month, British foreign minister Dominic Raab confirmed that “Russian actors” had sought to interfere in the election “through the online amplification of illicitly acquired and leaked Government documents.”

The New York Times profiled Graham Ivan Clark, the 17-year-old hacker responsible for last month’s Twitter breach which compromised accounts belonging to prominent figures such as Barack Obama, Kanye West and Jeff Bezos.

ICYMI: Last Weekend on Lawfare

Bobby Chesney explained the legal issues relevant to the Trump administration’s threats against TikTok, the Chinese-owned social media app, in the United States.

Emily Meierding argued the threat of war over oil is exaggerated, as the costs and risks of such conflicts are almost always too high for countries to bear.

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