Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Katherine Pompilio
Wednesday, May 18, 2022, 3:35 PM

Subscribe to receive this newsletter directly to your inbox.

Hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers have been evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine, reports NPR. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar reported that more than 260 soldiers were evacuated to Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine. While it is currently unclear if the Ukrainian soldiers have been taken prisoner by the Russians or if they are under United Nations protections, Malyar claims that the Ukrainian forces can return home following an “exchange of prisoners” with Russia. 

Finland and Sweden formally submitted applications to join NATO, writes CBS News. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg reported that the applications of NATO’s “close partners'' were “warmly welcome[d]” by the military alliance. Finland and Sweden’s applications must now be assessed by the alliance’s 30 member countries, a process which is expected to take approximately two weeks. If Finland and Sweden’s accession is approved, the alliance will move to ratify their accession, which is expected to take a few months. 

A Russian ransomware gang that attacked some Costa Rican government systems has threatened to overthrow the country’s government, according to AP. The group—known as Conti—reportedly launched a malware attack on 27 government institutions, including municipalities and state-run critical infrastructure. In a press conference about the attacks, Costa Rican President Rodrigo Chaves warned that the country was at “war” with a foreign terrorist group that is working with individuals inside the Costa Rican government. In addition to threatening regime change, Conti warned “We have our insiders in your government. We are also working on gaining access to your other systems, you have no other options but to pay us. We know that you have hired a data recovery specialist, don’t try to find workarounds.”

Rep. Madison Cawthorn lost his bid for reelection to Congress, reports Axios. Cawthorn lost the Republican primary election in North Carolina’s 11th congressional district to State Sen. Chuck Edwards. Prior to the election, Cawthorn was caught in multiple scandals and alleging without evidence that his Republican colleagues used cocaine and invited him to orgies.

A group of Wisconsin voters filed a lawsuit against 12 individuals who allegedly attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, writes CNN. The complaint filed by the Wisconsin voters alleges that the defendants unlawfully posed as legitimate Wisconsin presidential electors to send fraudulent electoral certificates to Congress in favor of former President Trump. The lawsuit is reportedly the first of its kind against individuals allegedly involved in a plan to put forward a slate of illegitimate presidential electors. The plaintiffs in the case are seeking monetary damages in addition to judicial orders recognizing that the defendants acted unlawfully and barring them from engaging in similar schemes in the future. 

The House Intelligence Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence and Counterproliferation held a hearing to examine reports of “unidentified aerial phenomena” (UAPs), according to the Wall Street Journal. Subcommittee members heard testimony from defense officials about reports of UAPs and the potential threats they pose to national security. The subcommittee reviewed video footage capturing UAPs such as a clip showing a “split second flash of a spherical object” flying near an aircraft and one of an “unmanned aerial system” which was described as a “green triangle floating in the sky.”

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Benjamin Wittes sat down with Bryce Klehm to discuss Lawfare and Goat Rodeo’s newest podcast series, Allies, which launched on Monday and covers the history of the Special Immigrant Visa Program in Afghanistan.

Stewart Baker shared an episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast in which he, Jordan Schneider, Jamil Jaffer and Nate Jones discuss the Biden administration’s potential sanctions on Chinese camera maker Hikvision and a new EU directive aimed at preventing child sex abuse.

Herb Lin analyzed President Biden’s policy changes for offensive cyber operations.  

Rohini Kurup and Katherine Pompilio posted the Supreme Court’s ruling in Patel v. Garland

William Ford discussed what a congressional counterpart to the Office of Legal Counsel might look like. 

Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.