Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Emily Dai
Tuesday, December 14, 2021, 4:01 PM

The Pentagon said on Monday that it would not punish the military personnel behind the botched drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan, that was intended to prevent an Islamic State attack on troops but instead killed 10 civilians, including seven children, according to the New York Times. John F. Kirby, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman, attributed the mistake as a breakdown in process rather than the result of negligence, misconduct or poor leadership. Since the erroneous strike, the Pentagon has offered the families of those killed unspecified condolence payments and assistance in relocating to the United States. The Pentagon has been authorized by Congress to pay up to $3 million per year in compensation for property damage, personal injury or deaths caused by the U.S. military. In recent years, condolence payments for deaths caused by the U.S. military have varied greatly.

The United Nations said Tuesday that it has received credible allegations of extrajudicial killings of more than 100 former Afghan national security forces and others associated with Afghanistan’s former government since its fall in August, with at least 72 being at the hands of the ruling Taliban, reports CNN. The Taliban have dismissed the U.N.’s conclusions, claiming that the allegations have “no proof.” Nada Al-Nashif, U.N. deputy high commissioner for human rights, also expressed concerns over increased reports of female victims of violence.

A review by the Washington Post found that PowerPoint presentations from Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies show that the company has a broader role in China’s surveillance efforts than it has previously admitted. The more than 100 marketing presentations reviewed, which were posted to a public-facing Huawei website before being removed late last year, show Huawei pitching how its technologies can help the government identify, monitor and track individuals. Huawei denied the allegations of its role in Chinese surveillance efforts and claimed that it doesn’t know how its technology is used by customers. The company has long faced accusations that it has a deeper relationship with the Chinese government that it acknowledges, leading several Western governments to block Huawei equipment from their 5G telecom networks for the possibility that the company may help Beijing with intelligence gathering.

Three Fox News hosts and Donald Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. privately urged then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to persuade the former president to stop the Jan. 6 riot, newly released text messages show, says CBS News. The messages were read aloud by Rep. Liz Cheney before the House select committee investigating the Capitol insurrection voted Monday night to recommend Meadows be charged with contempt of Congress for failing to comply with a subpoena. The messages, which expressed concerns that the rioters would destroy the Trump legacy, were sent from hosts Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity and Brian Kilmeade. The House select committee found the messages among the approximately 9,000 pages of emails and text messages Meadows turned over before he stopped cooperating with investigators. Cheney said Monday night that “[t]hese non-privileged texts are further evidence of President Trump's supreme dereliction of duty during those 187 minutes.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled Monday night that the Department of Homeland Security did not make a reasoned decision when it ended a Trump-era immigration policy that requires asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while their claims are processed, according to the Wall Street Journal. The policy, known as the Migrants Protection Protocols, was implemented at the height of a surge of Central American migrants.

At least 74 individuals in Kentucky were killed after tornadoes ripped through several states over the weekend, destroying homes and leveling towns, writes NBC News. More than 100 people in the state are still unaccounted for. Although Kentucky was the hardest-hit state, individuals from Illinois, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas were also killed. According to meteorologists, climate change most likely exacerbated the tornado outbreak.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Benjamin Wittes spoke with Barton Gellman on Lawfare Live about Gellman’s recent Atlantic cover story entitled “Trump's Next Coup has Already Begun.”

Herb Lin responded to Michael Fischerkeller’s piece on Lin’s thought experiment adopting the 2018 U.S. Cyber Command Command Vision.

Samantha Lai shared an episode of TechTank in which Lai and Taylor Lorenz talk about how young people use the internet and why it matters.

Carrie Cordero analyzed how the United States should address the lure of authoritarianism domestically. 

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