Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Christiana Wayne
Thursday, September 16, 2021, 4:10 PM

President Biden announced that the United States will share highly sensitive nuclear submarine technology with Australia, according to the Washington Post. Along with the United Kingdom, the countries will form a three-way defense alliance called AUKUS, a move experts say is a direct challenge to China in the Indo-Pacific. Announcing the alliance, Biden said, “future of each of our nations, and indeed the world, depends on a free and open Indo-Pacific, enduring and flourishing in the decades ahead.” China condemned the agreement for “seriously undermining” stability in the region and accused the three nations of inciting an “arms race.” The United States, United Kingdom and Australia will negotiate the details of the deal during the next 18 months, focusing particularly on safeguards and nonproliferation measures.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian accused the United States of stabbing France in the back in its nuclear submarine deal with Australia, according to Al Jazeera. His comments come two weeks after Australia reaffirmed its 2016 multibillion-dollar deal with French shipbuilder Naval Group to replace France’s submarines in what Le Drian has called a “contract of the century.” The new AUKUS defense alliance means that the deal will be scrapped. In comments to Franceradio, Le Drian said he was “angry and bitter” over what he sees as a breach of trust. He said, “This brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr Trump used to do. This isn’t done between allies.”

The Justine Department announced it will review how it enforces prohibitions on racial discrimination by law enforcement agencies that received federal funding, according to the New York Times. Though focused on law enforcement, the review could have implications for grant recipients in transportation, health care, education and other sectors that receive federal money. Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said during the press conference announcing the review, “The Civil Rights Act’s Title VI guarantees equal opportunity and full participation in federally-funded programs. By launching a departmentwide initiative to enhance our administration of these laws, we will help ensure that grant recipients provide that opportunity.”

Abdul Ghani Baradar, deputy prime minister in the Taliban’s interim government, made an appearance on national television to refute reports that he had died and to dispel rumors of internal strife within Taliban leadership, according to the Washington Post. Baradar, a co-founder of the Taliban and the most visible member of its leadership in recent years, had not appeared publicly in several weeks, feuling speculation of sharp disagreements after the Taliban’s announcement of its interim government. In an interview on national television, Baradar said top officials “have good and cordial relations with each other, even closer than a family” and rumors otherwise are “shameful lies.”

Special counsel John Durham, appointed by former President Trump to investigate possible wrongdoing in the FBI and other agencies since the 2016 election, is reportedly preparing to seek the indictment of an attorney whose firm has close ties with the Democrat party, according to the Washington Post. Two Anonymous sources said the lawyer, Michael Sussmann, is preparing to be charged with lying to the FBI in September 2016 when he raised concerns over possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. The charge could come within days, as the statute of limitations expires on Sept. 19. Sussmann is a former federal prosecutor and now a partner at Perkins Coie, a firm that represents the Democratic National Committee.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Lawfare Editor in Chief Benjamin Wittes talks to Brookings senior fellow Bruce Reidel about his two articles breaking new developments about Sept. 11.

Bryce Klehm announced this week’s Lawfare Live in which Danielle Gilbert, an assistant professor of military and strategic studies at the U.S. Air Force Academy, will join Lawfare Managing Editor Jacob Schulz and Fellow in Cybersecurity Law Alvaro Marañon to discuss her recent article on Lawfare, “Ransomware Lessons for a Nation Held Hostage.”

Yaya J. Fanusie and Emily Jin explained China’s swiftly evolving financial technology activity.

Wittes announced Lawfare No Bull, a new podcast that will feature regular primary source audio from the world of national security law and policy.

Scott R. Anderson shared an episode of Rational Security 2.0 which covers the legacy of Sept. 11, the future of the U.S. drone program and more.

Rohini Kurup explained the background and procedural history of Federal Bureau of Investigation v. Fazaga, a case that will soon be before the Supreme Court.

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