Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Victoria Gallegos
Wednesday, January 27, 2021, 4:25 PM

The Department of Homeland Security issued a national terrorism bulletin in response to a heightened threat of attacks in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 riots, reports the Associated Press. The department warned of “violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives.” The alert, while referencing the murder of 23 people in El Paso, Texas in 2019 by a white supremacist, also listed opposition to immigration as a potential motivation for violent extremists.

The Biden administration announced it is close to securing an additional 200 million doses of coronavirus vaccines, which would bring the nation’s supply total to 600 million doses by this summer, according to the Washington Post. Andy Slavitt, the top aid aide to the White House coronavirus response coordinator, estimates that the United States needs around 500 million shots to vaccinate all Americans age 16 and older.

President Biden signed several executive orders that attempt to combat climate change, writes the New York Times. The orders set a series of goals which, for the first time, specify that climate change will be a crucial factor while making foreign policy and national security decisions. According to the BBC, other climate-related orders include a pause on oil and gas drilling on federal lands and doubling of offshore wind power by 2030.

U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that had been approved by the Trump administration are now on hold, reports the Wall Street Journal. The Biden administration imposed the freeze as it reviews Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen. U.S. officials note that most transactions will likely go forward, but the administration wants to ensure the new American weapons will not be used in the conflict in Yemen.

In a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Biden discussed the detainment of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and the SolarWinds cyberattack among other issues, , according to the Journal. The two presidents reportedly agreed to “work urgently” on a five year extension of the New START Treaty.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will most likely review former President Trump’s recent withdrawal of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, reports the Journal. In a conversation with his Afghan government counterpart, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan noted, in the words of a White House statement, that the review would see if “the Taliban was living up to its commitment to cut ties with terrorist groups,” among other issues.

An international law enforcement team shut down Emotet, “the world’s most destructive malware,” after a two-year investigation reports Deutsche Welle. According to a Europol spokesperson, Emotet had reportedly been used by organized crime networks to “infect entire networks in a unique way just by accessing a few devices.” The multinational team included law enforcement agencies from eight countries including France, the United Kingdom, Germany, the U.S. and the Netherlands.

A United Nations report accused the Yemeni government of money-laundering and corruption and said the Houthis has diverted $1.8 billion in 2019 to help fund their war effort, writes Reuters.

Protests in India over reforms to the agriculture sector turned violent on Tuesday, leaving one person dead and hundreds injured, reports Reuters. The violence led Indian farmers to postpone a Feb. 1 march to parliament.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast, featuring Jack Goldsmith’s interview with Michael McConnell, director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School.

Daniel Byman and Benjamin Wittes examined nine critical questions that a commission on the Jan. 6 insurrection should consider.

Jacob Mchangama discussed timelines for government mandated content moderation.

Stewart Baker shared an episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast, covering the Trump administration’s final cyber news and cyber threats to the U.S. power grid.

Yevgeny Vindman analyzed the SolarWinds cyberattack within the purview of digital war.

Jordan Schneider shared an episode of ChinaTalk featuring Rob Atkinson, the president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

Bryce Klehm shared the D.C. Circuit’s decision to dismiss Bilal Abdul Kareem’s suit against various government agencies for Kareem’s alleged inclusion on a government “Kill List.”

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