Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Christiana Wayne
Thursday, September 9, 2021, 4:18 PM

Around 200 Afghan dual nationals flew out of the Kabul airport in the first flights from the country since the U.S. withdrawal at the end of August, according to the Washington Post. The individuals, including 30 American citizens, were granted permission to leave on a Qatar Airways flight after the airport was repaired following the chaos of the Taliban takeover. An anonymous official said U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad pressured the Taliban to allow the flights for Americans, along with nationals from Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Canada and Germany.

President Biden will sign executive orders today requiring nearly all federal employees and contractors with the federal government to be vaccinated against coronavirus, according to the New York Times. The orders will also extend to the private sector, instructing the Department of Labor to make a rule that businesses employing 100 or more people must test all unvaccinated employees weekly. Officials said orders are part of a plan that will cover two-thirds of all American workers. About 53 percent of the American public is fully vaccinated, and surveys show that 14 percent say they are unlikely to ever get vaccinated. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters, “We would like to be a model for what we think other businesses and organizations should do around the country.”

The FBI released video footage of the person believed to have placed bombs at the Republican and Democratic National Committee buildings the night before the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, according to the Washington Post. Investigators have yet to identify the suspect eight months after the incident, despite public calls for help and a $100,000 reward. The footage shows a person sitting on a bench near the Democratic National Committee headquarters, where the bomb was discovered the next day. The bureau released a statement on the video, saying, “Reviews of the suspect’s behavior in video footage and interviews with residents in the Capitol Hill neighborhood have led the FBI to believe the suspect is not from the area.”

Hong Kong police raided a museum commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, according to the BBC. Authorities also arrested four members of the Hong Kong Alliance, the group that ran the June 4 Museum. Pro-democracy activist Chow Hang Tung, arrested yesterday, is part of this group. Officers were seen carrying pieces of exhibits out of the museum, including photos of vigils for the massacre’s victims and a model of the Goddess of Democracy, a symbol of the 1989 student protests. On Tuesday, members of the alliance told authorities that they would not cooperate with the police’s request for information, including the group’s financial records and personal details of its members. The raid is part of a broad crackdown on free expression and political dissent in Hong Kong under the new national security law imposed by China.

Morocco’s ruling party suffered broad defeat to liberal rivals in the country’s parliamentary elections, according to Al Jazeera. The Justice and Development Party, dropped 113 seats. The National Rally of Independence, the Justice and Development Party’s main rival, won at least 97 seats, the largest share among all parties in results announced by the country’s interior minister. New voting regulations made it harder for bigger parties to win as many seats as before, costing the moderate Justice and Development Party at the polls. But Morocco’s king still holds sweeping power in the country, and all parties support similar policies for education, health, employment, and social welfare.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Jack Goldsmith talks to Yale Law School professor Samuel Moyn about his new book, “Humane: How the United States Abandoned Peace and Reinvented War.”

Bruce Riedel discussed newly declassified information that reveals a thwarted 2002 al-Qaeda attack in Israel.

Dan Lips explained Congress’s warning that the federal government is still vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Scott R. Anderson shared an episode of Rational Security 2.0 in which new hosts Anderson, Alan Rozenshtein and Quinta Jurecic talk about the new Taliban government, the Biden administration’s border policy and more.

Robert Chesney posted a call for nominations for the 2021 Mike Lewis Prize for National Security Law Scholarship.

Bryce Klehm announced this week’s Lawfare Live in which Lawfare Editor in Chief Benjamin Wittes and Foreign Policy Editor Daniel Byman will discuss the legacy of the United States’s war in Afghanistan and the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

Stewart Baker shared an episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast which covers China’s new data security and privacy laws, the tech fallout from the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and more.

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