Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Hayley Evans
Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 2:09 PM

The Department of Homeland Security has unveiled a new national security strategy for addressing cyber security risks, Reuters reports. According to the 35-page DHS report that Reuters reviewed prior to its public release, the U.S. continues to face cyber threats from nation-states, “[b]ut non-state actors are [also] emerging with capabilities that match those of sophisticated nation-states.” The DHS report references the 2015 intrusion into a federal agency that resulted in the compromise of over four million federal employees’ personnel records. The report further notes that the agency “must better align our existing law enforcement efforts and resources to address new and emerging challenges in cyberspace, to include the growing use of end-to-end encryption, anonymous networks, online marketplaces, and cryptocurrencies.”

Palestinian demonstrations in Gaza have resumed, though on a smaller scale than Monday, the New York Times reports. This news comes after the Trump administration’s Monday opening of the U.S. embassy to Israel in Jerusalem, and Israeli forces shooting dead at least 60 Palestinian demonstrators on the Gaza border. The Monday demonstrations were the latest in a series of protests against the blockade of Gaza, imposed 11 years ago, and coincided with the 70th anniversary of the formation of Israel. The Hill further reports that the U.S. has blocked a U.N. call for probes into the violence in Gaza.

The Treasury Department has imposed sanctions on Iran’s central-bank governor and another senior official in the bank for providing terrorist support, Bloomberg reports. The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control named the central bank governor, Valiollah Seif, and the central bank’s assistant director of the international department, Ali Tarzali, “specially designated global terrorists” for allegedly assisting Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Quds Force to support Lebanese Hezbollah’s militia. Tuesday’s sanctions come after the Treasury sanctioned nine Iranian citizens and companies on Thursday for allegedly operating a currency-exchange network that, along with Iran’s central bank, transferred millions of dollars on behalf of the Quds Force.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has opened a bridge linking southern Russia with Crimea, the Washington Post reports. Taking two years and $3.6 billion to build, the 11.8-mile bridge connects southern Russia and the Crimean peninsula that Russia annexed from Ukraine in March 2014. While only a few of Russia’s staunchest allies—like Venezuela and Syria—have recognized Crimea as a part of Russia, Putin’s bridge project attempts to mark Crimea’s long-term “reunification” with Russia. 

CIA director nominee Gina Haspel stated that the CIA should not have used enhanced interrogation, Axios reports. In written response to questions from Sen, Mark Warner, the Virginian vice chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, Haspel stated that, “While I won’t condemn those that made these hard calls, and I have noted the valuable intelligence collected … [w]ith the benefit of hindsight and my experience as a senior Agency leader, the enhanced interrogation program is not one the CIA should have undertaken.” This news comes after Haspel refused to state whether she believed enhanced interrogation techniques were immoral during her confirmation hearing last week.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Susan Hennessey announced the launch of Sourcelist, a database of experts in technology policy from diverse backgrounds.

John Dehn responded to the Jack Goldsmith-John Glennon debate on the similarities between American constitutional and international law’s regulating the use of war powers by offering two critiques and a different approach based on Hart’s views on international law and Locke’s liberal political principles.

Susan Landau explained how Ray Ozzie’s “Clear” proposal for exceptional access—or law enforcement access to encrypted communications and locked devices—provides an insufficient solution to a complex problem.

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. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.