Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Emily Dai
Friday, October 1, 2021, 2:44 PM

The Hill reports that an audit released Thursday into how the FBI handles applications for surveillance warrants found widespread failures in compliance to a key internal rule. Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz previously released findings in 2019 that multiple inaccuracies and omissions with the surveillance warrant applications targeting former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page were submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court. The new report found 209 errors in a sample of 29 FISA applications and an additional 209 instances in which the Woods File, a document that helps ensure accuracy in FISA applications, in the sample applications did not meet agency standards. The audit also found nearly 200 missing or incomplete Woods files in a pool of more than 7,000 FISA applications. The FBI “fully accept[s]” the inspector general’s recommendations for reforms to the FISA process, and said it had already adopted them.

President Biden signed a stopgap funding bill on Thursday evening that Congress passed earlier in the day to prevent a government shutdown, which would have affected hundreds of thousands of federal workers and adversely affected the economy, according to ABC News. The temporary bill allocated more than $28.6 billion in disaster relief and $6.3 billion to further help Afghan refugees, but it did not contain any provision to raise the debt ceiling. The bill will keep the government running until Dec. 3.

A new round of subpoenas were issued on Wednesday by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, says the New York Times. This move came after four high-ranking officials in the Trump administration were subpoenaed last week. Among the 11 individuals subpoened, several were connected to the pro-Trump group Women for America First, which helped plan the Capitol attack in addition to two other gatherings.

The U.S. military will resume flights carrying Afghan evacuees to the United States next week, following a three-week pause in Europe and the Middle East to administer measles shots, according to AP News. U.S. Customs and Border Protection paused flights of evacuees from U.S. bases to the United States earlier this month after several cases of measles were reported. Gen. Glen Van Herck, head of U.S. Northern Command, said that around 14,000 Afghans overseas are expecting to come to the United States and approximately 53,000 Afghans are spread across eight domestic military bases.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid made a landmark trip to Bahrain on Thursday in the highest-level visit since the countries established diplomatic ties last year, signaling a common cause against Iran, reports Reuters. The meeting reinforced the pact between Israel and Bahrain, one of four other countries that signed onto the U.S.-brokered deal known as the Abraham Accords, which built upon common commercial interests and perceived threats. The accords have been denounced by Palestinians, who saw it as a betrayal of a longstanding commitment in the Arab world not to normalize relations with Israel unless the state gave up occupied land.

U.K. nationals visiting India will now have to quarantine for 10 days even if they are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus in retaliation for similar moves by the U.K., says the New York Times. While the British government relaxed quarantine requirements for inoculated visitors from certain countries, the government excluded Indians fully vaccinated with Covishield. The refusal to recognize Covishield as an acceptable vaccine was, in the words of India’s foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, “discriminatory,” particularly as India provided the U.K. with 5 million doses of the vaccine when the U.K. was struggling to distribute vaccines. A senior Indian government official stated that if the U.K. changed their quarantine requirements, India would remove their retaliatory rules.

 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast, in which Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with David Rolph, a professor at the University of Sydney Law School, to discuss the High Court of Australia’s ruling that media outlets can be held liable for defamatory third-party comments on their social media pages.

Brian Liu and Raquel Leslie explored the Chinese government’s ban on cryptocurrency, Evergrande crisis and hostage diplomacy in the most recent edition of Sinotech, Lawfare’s biweekly roundup of U.S.-China technology policy news.

Bryce Klehm and Rohini Kurup shared an audit of the FBI’s execution of its “Woods Procedures” for FISA applications.

Claire O. Finkelstein and Richard W. Painter discussed a recently-introduced bill designed to prevent presidential abuses of power and strengthen various counterweights to presidential authority.

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