Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Ajay Sarma, Christiana Wayne
Thursday, June 24, 2021, 4:30 PM

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday that the House of Representatives would form a select committee to investigate violence in the Capitol on Jan. 6, reports the Washington Post. Last month, Senate Republicans stymied an effort to create an independent commission to investigate the siege of the Capitol by thousands of rioters. Establishing the committee will require a majority vote in the House of Representatives. Details regarding the composition of the committee and the timeline for its investigation are not yet clear. 

The Biden administration will relocate thousands of Afghan interpreters, drivers and other partners to protect them from the Taliban as they apply for entry into the United States, according to the New York Times. Announcement of this plan comes after pressure from lawmakers and military officials to expedite the process of granting special immigrant visas for the allies’ safety. The administration has not said whether third countries have agreed to take the Afghans.

President Biden is backing a $579 billion infrastructure proposal by a group of bipartisan senators, writes the New York Times. Though the bipartisan deal represents an avenue for compromise on spending, Congressional Democrats have stressed that compromise is possible if their other spending and taxing goals are met in a larger package. 

The remains of as many as 751 bodies, mostly Indigenous children, were found on the grounds of a former boarding school in Saskatchewan, Canada, according to the New York Times. The discovery comes after the remains of 215 children were found in unmarked graves at another former school in British Columbia. The schools were part of a century-long system that housed and taught Indigenous children, prohibiting them from speaking their native languages. Indigenous leader Chief Bobby Cameron called the mass deaths a “crime against humanity, an assault on a First Nation people.” It is unclear how the children died at these schools.

A woman in Australia accused of participating in the kidnapping of seven members of the opposition to General Augusto Pinochet lost an appeal of her extradition to Chile, reports the BBC. Chilean authorities seek Adriana Rivas’s extradition for her role in the 1976 disappearance of the secretary-general of Chile’s Communist Party and six of his supporters, all of whom are presumed dead. Rivas worked for Pinochet’s National Intelligence Directorate, a secret police force. Though she lost this appeal, Rivas can still fight the extradition through additional appeals, including to the High Court of Australia. 

A linguist for the U.S. Special Operations task force in Iraq was sentenced to 23 years in prison for divulging U.S. sources to Hezbollah, the Washington Post reports. Mariam Taha Thompson pleaded guilty to turning over names of informants and other classified information to a Lebanese man whom prosecutors say she wished to marry. At the sentencing hearing, Thompson apologized, saying “I just wanted to have someone to love me in my old age, and because I was desperate for that love I forgot who I was for a short period of time.”

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast which covers the history of the FBI with FBI historian John Fox—the first of a two-part discussion.

Brian Zupruk discussed the legality of U.S. seizures of foreign merchant vessels for violating sanctions.

Christiana Wayne announced this week’s Lawfare Live discussion with Adam Klein, who will discuss his findings from 19 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act applications.  

Susan Landau explained how computer software should be treated as evidence during a trial.

Howell also shared an episode of Rational Security which covers new developments in the lawsuit filed over the clearing of Lafayette Square before a Trump photo op, possible repeal of the AUMF and more.

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