Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Anna Salvatore
Wednesday, November 4, 2020, 2:23 PM

While several states continue to count their ballots, most major news outlets are reporting that the U.S. presidential race remains too close to call. The New York Times reports that this is most likely due to a record number of mail-in ballots.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) reports that there were no major cyber attacks on Election Day, according to NPR. “We’re not out of the woods yet,” said one senior official, but yesterday seemed to be “just another Tuesday on the internet.”

Over the past two weeks, U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency have taken action against Iranian hackers to prevent interference in yesterday’s general election, writes the Washington Post. Gen. Paul Nakasone, who leads the military’s cyber command, said that members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps sent threatening emails to Americans and created a video to decrease confidence in the electoral process. The cyber command’s counter operations were “just the start,” added Nakasone, until all votes are certified in the coming weeks, but he noted the level of foreign targeting does seem smaller than in the 2018 midterm elections.

In the past 24 hours, Twitter has labeled three of President Trump’s recent tweets as “disputed” and potentially misleading about the presidential election. For example, Twitter prevented people from liking or retweeting one of Trump’s tweets this morning which falsely implied the existence of “surprise ballot dumps.” The platform’s actions are part of a broader campaign to curb election-related disinformation by both leaders and ordinary citizens.

U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan held a hearing today on the U.S. Postal Service’s rejection of his order yesterday to sweep 12 postal districts to search for undelivered ballots, reports Geoff Bennett of NBC News. Sullivan said he was “not pleased” and that “someone may have a price to pay” for disobeying the court order, adding that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy will be expected to testify soon under oath.

The United States formally withdrew from the Paris Climate Accords this morning, according to the New York Times. Should Joe Biden win the presidential election, he has pledged to recommit the U.S. to the agreement on his first day in office.

The State Department approved the sale of $600 million dollars worth of MQ-9 Reaper drones to Taiwan today, writes Deutsche Welle. The announcement comes after the U.S. also sold 400 anti-ship missiles, truck-based rocket launchers and related equipment to the island in recent weeks. These sales have infuriated China, which views Taiwan as a rebellious and illegitimate offshoot of the mainland.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Elizabeth McElvein and Benjamin Wittes examined whether the intelligence community is donating to Democrats.

Stewart Baker shared an episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast entitled “Trumping Schrems II.” He interviewed Brad Wiegmann, senior counselor for the national security division at the Justice Department, about an important decision by the European Union Court of Justice.

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of The Lawfare Podcast entitled “Are We Having a Healthy Election?” Benjamin Wittes sat down with four members of the Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project—Zahavah Levine, Chelsey Davidson, Nathaniel Persily and Charles Stewart III—to discuss how the presidential election is going.

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