On September 15, Judge Aileen Cannon of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida issued two key rulings in the Mar-a-Lago documents case. She appointed Judge Raymond Dearie of the Eastern District of New York as the special master reviewing the documents and denied the Justice Department’s motion for a partial stay of her previous injunction barring the department from using the documents seized from Mar-a-Lago in its criminal investigation.
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Ken Starr, the former federal judge and independent counsel who became famous for his investigation of President Bill Clinton, died this week on September 13 at age 76. Starr was a complex and controversial figure: after running the Whitewater and Lewinsky investigations, he went on to serve as president of Baylor University, only to resign over the mishandling of a sex abuse scandal involving the university’s football team, and he would later go on to defend President Trump in Trump’s first impeachment.
Dmitri Alperovitch is the founder of the Silverado Policy Accelerator, a geopolitics think tank in Washington, and the impresario of the Geopolitics Decanted podcast. He joined Benjamin Wittes to talk through the Ukrainian offensive in Kharkiv Oblast last week. They discussed whether the Ukrainian retaking of large swaths of territory is a big deal, what’s going to come next, and if this is a prelude to a larger rout of Russian forces, to a negotiated settlement, or if something else is going to happen.
This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott sat down with Lawfare deputy foreign policy editor and RatSec rookie Dana Stuster, to talk through the week’s big national security news, including:
Amid the war and instability in Afghanistan over the last two decades, the opium industry has seen explosive growth. In fact, Afghanistan accounts for the vast majority of the world's opium supply. The Taliban vowed to crack down on the production of illicit drugs, and in March, they issued a total ban on opium cultivation, which has stripped many rural Afghans of their livelihoods. But in the meantime, drug prices have been increasing, making the production and trafficking of methamphetamines even more profitable.
Since his 1991 death, Rainer Sonntag has been remembered as a martyr by generations of neo-Nazis and other far-right activists, especially in his native Germany. Less discussed, however, is the fact that he was also a spy for the communist authorities of East Germany and their counterparts in the Soviet Union—and that a young KGB operative named Vladimir Putin played a prominent role in his rise to power.
Pakistan is experiencing one of the largest natural disasters in modern history. The massive floods there, combined with glacier melt, have led to one third of the country being submerged underwater with more than one million people displaced and tens of billions of dollars in damage.
Prepare a nice cup of tea and put your feet up for a special episode of stories and anecdotes about the late American historian and Sinologist Jonathan Spence, as told by his friend and colleague Paul Kennedy.
He takes us through:
On August 25, the Defense Department released its long-awaited Civilian Harm Mitigation and Response Action Plan, something that human rights advocates have called on the Pentagon to do for the past 20 years.
On August 23, the Washington Post published a story about a whistleblower complaint filed by Peiter Zatko, the former security lead and member of Twitter's executive team responsible for information security, privacy, physical security, and information technology. In the whistleblower complaint, Zatko describes extreme problems and deficiencies with the security, privacy, and integrity of Twitter's platform.