Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Emily Dai
Friday, October 22, 2021, 4:00 PM

Michael Orlando, acting director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said Thursday that the center is prioritizing outreach efforts to five key technology sectors that have the most influence on whether the United States will remain the world’s leading superpower, says the Wall Street Journal. The outreach will educate businesses and academia on the efforts of the Chinese and Russian governments to collect research and bolster their capabilities in the five key technologies. U.S. officials also warned that foreign governments sponsor talent recruitment programs at U.S. universities to bring outside knowledge to their countries.

The U.S. Navy and Army held three tests this week of hypersonic weapon component prototypes following reports of missile tests from China and North Korea, says the Hill. The United States has actively pursued the development of hypersonic weapons as part of its conventional prompt global strike program since the early 2000s. 

A report released Thursday by the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General found that there was “no improper influence” in the decision to select Michael Ellis as the National Security Agency’s (NSA) top lawyer, reports the Washington Post. It also concluded that the NSA director’s placement of Ellis on administrative leave after the agency began investigating two “security incidents” was appropriate. The incidents involved allegations that Ellis mishandled “some of the most sensitive information that NSA possesses.”

Formally known as the AY.4.2, the “delta plus” variant of coronavirus may spread more easily or be more deadly than previous versions, according to AP News. A recent U.K. report found that “delta plus” made up 6 percent of all analyzed coronavirus cases in the country and is “on an increasing trajectory.”

Reuters reported that the rampant smuggling of Australian lobsters from Hong Kong to mainland China is a national security threat, according to Hong Kong’s Commissioner of Customs and Excise Louise Ho. Australia’s lobster exports, almost all of which were sent to China, have been blocked from entering the country. Following a rise in diplomatic tensions in 2020, the Chinese government imposed a series of unofficial trade barriers against Australia. "On the surface, it is a simple matter of smuggling lobsters, but these activities undermine our country's trade restrictions against Australia," Ho said.

 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast, in which Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Nick Pickles to discuss a new paper from Twitter that outlines the company’s vision for what global technology policy should look like.

Bryce Klehm shared a report from the Department of Defense’s Office of the Inspector General on the hiring process of Michael Ellis as the general counsel of the NSA and his subsequent placement on administrative leave.

Bridget Dooling discussed the emergency temporary standard the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is expected to issue for a new workplace vaccine mandate and the obstacles the agency faces in creating such an order.

Robert Chesney wrote about the recent ruling granting a Guantanamo detainee’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus and what it means for the scope of military detention authority.

Emily Dai shared the Biden administration’s reports detailing the expected effects of climate change and its threats on global security.

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