Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Victoria Gallegos
Wednesday, March 3, 2021, 3:23 PM

Maj. Gen. William Walker, commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, told lawmakers during a Senate hearing that restrictions the Pentagon placed on him ahead of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol prevented him from quickly sending forces to stop the violence that day, according to the Washington Post. Walker called the restrictions “unusual,” and said that without them he could have sent 150 soldiers immediately to the Capitol. Robert Salesses, the Pentagon’s acting secretary for homeland defense and global security, testified that officials’ reluctance to quickly approve assistance was shaped by the controversy over the Pentagon’s response to racial-justice protests last year. 

Yogananda Pittman, the acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police, requested a 21 percent funding increase during a hearing before a House Appropriations subcommittee. Pittman said the increased funding would better support officers and help protect  lawmakers, writes the Post. Pittman testified that the proposed budget could support an increased number of intelligence analysts, and emphasized that the funds would be “an investment in our employees”—a necessary measure to prevent future attacks. 

Google announced that it plans to stop using or investing in tracking technologies that identify unique web users and will ultimately stop selling ads based on an individuals’ browsing history, according to the Wall Street Journal. “If digital advertising doesn’t evolve to address the growing concerns people have about their privacy and how their personal identity is being used, we risk the future of a free and open web,” David Temkin, the Google product manager in charge of the change, said. 

A U.S. contractor died from a “cardiac episode” after rockets hit an Iraqi air base housing U.S. and other coalition troops on Wednesday, reports the Associated Press. No other service members are injured and no one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack on the Ain al-Asad airbase. Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said the rockets were fired from east of the base. 

The Kremlin plans to retaliate after the U.S. and the European Union imposed sanctions over Russia’s treatment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, writes Reuters. “Of course it’s impossible not to apply the principle of reciprocity,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.“We consider such decisions to be absurd, unjustified and most importantly, they have no effect or meaning.” Russian officials have not announced when Moscow will release its reciprocal measures. 

Germany placed its main opposition party, the far-right Alternative for Germany party (AfD), under domestic surveillance, reports the New York Times. This decision allows the domestic intelligence agency, known as the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, to tap into the communications and monitor movements of AfD members. This move comes on the same day France decided to ban Generation Identity, a militant youth movement known for its rebranding of neo-Nazi concepts. 

Eighteen people in Myanmar were killed during Wednesday's protests bringing the total number of protesters killed to nearly 40 since the military-coup began on Feb. 1, reports NPR. 

The chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court announced plans to investigate alleged Israeli war crimes committed in Palestinian territories, writes CNN. The investigation will also look into alleged war crimes by Palestinian militant groups, and it will focus on events beginning in 2014. Reuven Rivlin, the president of Israel, responded saying that the court’s investigation was “scandalous” and that “[w]e will not accept claims against the exercise of our right and obligation to defend our citizens.” 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast, featuring Alan Rozenshtein’s  conversation with Rosa Brooks on her new book "Tangled Up in Blue: Policing the American City." 

Victoria Gallegos shared a livestream of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on the Jan. 6 attacks, featuring testimony from Christopher Wray, director of the FBI. 

Quinta Jurecic and Bryce Klehm examined the ongoing Trump financial document cases.  

Stewart Baker shared an episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast, titled “When Will Cyberattacks on the Grid Become the New Normal?” 

Mark MacCarthy discussed the future for Section 230 reform. 

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