Today's Headlines and Commentary

Quinta Jurecic
Friday, December 23, 2016, 11:37 AM

The Roundup Team will be taking next week off and will return to Today’s Headlines & Commentary on Tuesday, January 3rd. Happy New Year!

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The Roundup Team will be taking next week off and will return to Today’s Headlines & Commentary on Tuesday, January 3rd. Happy New Year!

The President-elect was active on Twitter yesterday, serially upending U.S. national security policy on a range of issues a month before his inauguration. Donald Trump tweeted an unclear message that appeared to advocate an expanded U.S. nuclear arsenal, called for the U.S. to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the construction of further Israeli settlements in the West Bank (on which the United States had previously intended to abstain), and suggested that the Pentagon scrap the longrunning Lockheed Martin contract for F-35 stealth aircraft. The Washington Post reviews the concerns raised over Trump’s Twitter activity both within the Obama administration and from outside experts, who are worried not only about Trump’s scattershot approach but of the potential confusion and danger caused by a President-elect publicly campaigning against the sitting President during the month to come.

Israeli officials reached out to President-elect Trump in a successful effort to derail the Security Council resolution condemning settlement construction, The Wall Street Journal reports. Egypt, which introduced the resolution, withdrew the measure after a phone conversation with Trump following the President-elect’s tweet calling for the United States to veto the resolution.

The New York Times provides a helpful explainer of the President-elect’s opaque tweet on nuclear weapons. While it’s not entirely clear what message Trump might have intended on nuclear buildup, that uncertainty is itself potentially destabilizing.

In his annual press conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin denied accounts of Russian interference in the U.S. election and mocked the intelligence community’s reports of Russian hacking. “Nobody believed” that Trump would win, Putin said, “except for you and me.” The Post has more.

Anis Amri, the chief suspect in the Berlin truck attack on a Christmas market, has been killed in a shootout with Italian police near Milan, the Times tells us. Law enforcement had issued a warrant across Europe for Amri’s arrest following his identification as a suspect by German police. Amri’s family in Tunisia urged him to turn himself into the authorities, the Post reports. Amri’s movement from Germany into Italy while wanted by police raises serious security questions for European authorities, as does the failure of German police to halt the attack ahead of time despite their knowledge of Amri as a potentially dangerous individual with ties to an ISIS-affiliated extremist preacher.

Germany has detained two Kosovar brothers suspected of planning an attack on a German shopping mall, the AP writes. Authorities believe that the plot was unrelated to Monday’s attack on the Berlin market.

Australian police have successfully disrupted an ISIS-inspired attack planned in Melbourne for Christmas Day, detaining five suspects. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull stated that the planned attack was one of the largest to have been foiled by police in the country, The Washington Post reports. All five suspects were Australian nationals.

Reuters tells us that Turkish authorities have detained 31 people suspected of links to ISIS and has issued arrest warrants for ten more. Skirmishes between the Turkish military and Islamic State fighters in Syria have intensified, with 16 Turkish soldiers killed in the town of al-Bab in recent days.

Hijackers loyal to former Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi were placed under arrest after forcing an internal Libyan flight to land in Malta, Reuters writes. The two men had stated that they would release the passengers from the airplane if their demands were met, though the nature of the demands remains unclear. No passengers were harmed.

Guantanamo’s Periodic Review Board has cleared for release a Yemeni detainee believed to have been a bodyguard of Osama bin Laden, bringing the total number of prisoners to be released up to 23 out of 59. The Obama administration will likely not be able to transfer all 23 detainees by Inauguration Day, leaving the Trump administration with around 45 prisoners—26 of whom are “forever prisoners” who have neither been charged nor cleared for transfer—remaining in Guantanamo Bay. The Miami Herald has more.

ICYMI: Yesterday, on Lawfare

Scott Montgomery defended the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation program against upcoming budget cuts.

Quinta Jurecic posted the House Intelligence Committee’s full, newly-declassified report on Edward Snowden.

Adam Klein provided recommendations for surveillance policy in a Trump administration.

Andrew Keane Woods considered the implications of the EU’s data retention ruling.

Quinta also posted Rational Security, the “Dude, Where’s My Drone?” edition.

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.

Quinta Jurecic is a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and a senior editor at Lawfare. She previously served as Lawfare's managing editor and as an editorial writer for the Washington Post.

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