Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Hyemin Han
Friday, July 15, 2022, 2:25 PM

President Biden completed his flight from Israel to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia—marking the first time a U.S. president has flown such a route—and met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman with a fist bump. Saudi Arabia is a controversial last stop on Biden’s four-day tour to the Middle East that included meetings with Israel’s prime minister and Palestinian Authority president. Iran, not to be forgotten, announced a new naval drone-carrying division in the Indian Ocean today, Reuters reports.

Secret Service officials have been accused of deleting text messages sent and received on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6 after oversight officials requested access to the agency’s electronic communications, reports The Intercept. The Secret Service has pushed back on the characterization of the timeline, telling the Washington Post that a prior change in cellphone equipment had resulted in the erasure of some texts prior to the request from the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General. 

Former President Trump is expected to return to Washington, D.C. later this month to deliver a keynote address ​​at the America First Policy Institute (AFPI), according to Axios. He has not been seen in the city since his presidency ended, but all but announced his intention to run for president again in an interview with New York Magazine on Thursday. A number of former cabinet members from the Trump administration are also expected to speak at the event. 

NASA and Russia’s Roscosmos agency signed a deal on Friday that will allow astronauts from each country to fly on the other’s spacecraft. This agreement, which will allow seat swaps on the U.S.’s SpaceX cargo Dragon spacecraft and Russia’s Soyuz missions anticipated in September, is one of the few remaining partnerships between the United States and Russia amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

China’s chip exports to Russia have doubled to about $50 million in the first five months of 2022 compared to the same time last year, reports the Wall Street Journal. China has sent Russia microchips, aluminum oxide, and other materials that will support Russian efforts in Ukraine in increasing volume since the beginning of the war. Separately, the Biden administration had said in a congressional hearing yesterday that it will be monitoring the U.S.’ export policies of semiconductor chips to China to ensure that proprietary information does not end up in Beijing.

The House pushed through its National Defense Authorization Act last night at a whopping $839 billion appropriation, $37 billion more than requested by the Biden administration. The act maintains, among other provisions, a  2.1 million-person military and a 4.6 percent pay raise across the board for military personnel. However, Biden’s priorities were not all addressed: the House bill kept a nuclear cruise missile that the administration had initially taken off its list and limited the amount of F-16s the U.S. can sell to Turkey.

Sen. Joe Manchin has derailed Democrats’ efforts to pass a new economic package, signaling again since his rejection of Build Back Better that he will not cooperate with efforts to address climate change and wealth inequality. The Washington Post first reported last night that the senator has cited soaring gas prices and inflation as reasons for opposing the bill. Manchin’s break from his party comes as the war in Ukraine has pulled energy and climate concerns to the forefront of global security efforts. 

New U.N. peacekeeping operations will temporarily stop in Mali due to national security concerns cited by Mali officials. The decision comes after 49 soldiers from the Ivory Coast arrived in the country without permission and were subsequently arrested. The U.N.’s MINUSMA operations, ongoing since 2013, are meant to facilitate the country’s transition to stable governance. 

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is now Sri Lanka’s interim president, replacing Gotabaya Rajapaksa after a week of tumult in the country that saw Rajapaksa’s exit to Singapore. Tomorrow, lawmakers will gather to choose a new leader who would serve through the end of 2024—the remainder of Rajapaksa’s initial term.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jason Healy responded to Lennart Maschmeyer’s Lawfare article earlier this week, arguing that Maschmeyer’s analysis of a “subversive trilemma” overestimates the impact of subversion in cyber operations.

David Priess shared an episode Chatter, in which he and CNN's Josh Campbell—a former FBI special agent—discussed mass shootings in the United States.

In Lawfare’s biweekly Sinotech column, Raquel Leslie and Brian Liu discussed U.S. senators’ request to the FTC to investigate TikTok for its access of U.S. user data and Chinese tech giants’ agreement to self-regulate NFTs. 

Katherine Pompilio shared the newest episode of #LiveFromUkraine in which Benjamin Wittes spoke with Katya Savchenko, a Ukrainian woman who survived several days of the violent Russian occupation of Bucha.

Alan Rozenshtein shared an episode of The Lawfare Podcast in which he sat down with Zac Gershberg, a professor of journalism and media studies at Idaho State University, and Sean Illing, the host of the Vox Conversations podcast, to discuss their argument that democracies are shaped by the dominant media technology of the time. 

Alvaro Marañon shared an episode of The Lawfare Podcast in which he sat down with Reuters’s Chris Bing and Raphael Satter, who recently investigated the “hackers-for-hire business model” in India. 

Katherine Pompilio shared an episode of The Lawfare Podcast unpacking the seventh day of the House select committee’s hearings on the Jan. 6 attack on the capitol. Lawfare Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes moderated a conversation with Lawfare Executive Editor Natalie Orpett and Senior Editors Scott Anderson, Quinta Jurecic, and Roger Parloff.

evelyn douek and Quinta Juricec shared an episode of The Lawfare Podcast in which they sat down with Nick Sawyer and Taylor Nichols, cofounders of the organization No License for Disinformation, to discuss the effects of falsehoods spread by doctors from their perspective as two practicing emergency medicine physicians. 

Paul Rosenzweig shared the Cyber Safety Review Board’s first report, which analyzes the Log4j breach that has continued to put global users at risk since last year. 

 

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