Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Victoria Gallegos
Thursday, March 18, 2021, 2:07 PM

An unclassified report on domestic violent extremism was released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Wednesday, writes the Washington Post. The report said domestic violent extremism poses an “elevated threat” to the U.S., and that lone offenders or small, self-organized cells are more likely to carry out attacks than organizations. The report also confirmed previous statements made by U.S. intelligence officials that racially and ethnically motivated violent extremism presents the most dangerous threat to the country. “While we remain vigilant about the threat of foreign terrorism, ideologically motivated domestic violent extremism now poses the most lethal and persistent terrorism-related threat to the homeland today,” said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said at a hearing yesterday before the House Homeland Security Committee.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office will release seven years of racial data, including information on race and gender related to charging decisions, plea deals, bail amounts and sentencing, reports the Post. Cyrus Vance, the Manhattan district attorney, said the decision to disclose the prosecution data will help the public “better understand” how his office operates. Vance also said that the data could help reveal differences “between races” and “how those differences compare over time” and reveal any “decision-making points in our work that need to be better understood.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for the “denuclearization of North Korea” and accused the country of inflicting “widespread and systematic abuses” on its people, writes Politico. Blinken also urged China to use its “tremendous influence,” to convince Pyongyang to denuclearize. Blinken and Jake Sullivan, President Biden’s national security adviser, will meet with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi and Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi in Alaska later today, at the first high-level meeting between the Biden administration and Beijing.

The Russian ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov, was summoned back to Moscow, after Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “killer” among other criticisms in an interview, according to the New York Times. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated “[w]e are interested in preventing an irreversible deterioration in relations, if the Americans become aware of the risks associated with this.”

Russia hosted a one-day peace conference on the situation in Afghanistan, as the first of three planned international conferences ahead of the May 1 deadline for U.S. and NATO troop withdrawal, reports the Associated Press. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov gave opening remarks, stating that peace could only be reached through “negotiations and compromises.” The conference in Moscow was attended by U.S. peace envoy Zalmary Khalilzad, Abdullah Abudullah, head of Afghanistan’s National Reconciliation Council, Taliban-co founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and state representatives from Pakistan, Iran, India and China.

The European Union’s medical regulator said the AstraZeneca vaccine is “a safe and effective vaccine,” writes the Post. Emer Cooke added there would be additional investigations into an “unusual very serious clotting.” The U.S. is planning to send 4 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Mexico and Canada, after facing pressure from allies to share the vaccine, especially as it is not authorized yet in the U.S.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Tia Sewell shared an unclassified assessment on domestic violent extremism in the U.S., released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Victoria Gallegos shared a livestream of the House Homeland Security Committee hearing on the way forward on homeland security.

Sam Denney argued the German far-right doesn’t need to win elections in order to be dangerous.

Austin Lowe argued the current system of international economic law is not prepared to deal with new issues created by emerging technologies.

Jordan Schneider shared an episode of ChinaTalk, featuring a conversation with Rory Medcalf, head of the National Security College at Australia National University, about Medcalf’s new book “Indo-Pacific Empire.”

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast, in which David Kris spoke with David Robarge, chief historian at the Central Intelligence Agency, to discuss cover action.

Howell also shared an episode of Rational Security, the “It Was Always Russia” edition.

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