Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Elliot Setzer
Thursday, April 16, 2020, 1:01 PM

Lawfare’s daily roundup of national security news and opinion

Published by The Lawfare Institute
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President Trump said the U.S. has “passed the peak” of new coronavirus cases and told reporters at the daily White House briefing that new guidelines would be announced today regarding when states can reopen their economies, reports the BBC.

President Trump yesterday threatened to force Congress to adjourn in order to fill government vacancies with stopgap appointees, a practice known as a recess appointment, writes the New York Times. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell quickly rejected the proposal. Legal obstacles would also likely prevent the President from enacting his plan, according to the Washington Post.

Facebook said today it will begin alerting users if they have interacted with harmful misinformation about the coronavirus on its platform and will direct people to credible information from the World Health Organization, reports the Post. The message will appear in the News Feeds of users who have liked, reacted or commented on misleading COVID-19 content.

The head of the World Health Organization said yesterday that he regrets Trump’s decision to halt funding to the organization, but that it is “getting on with the job” of responding to the coronavirus pandemic, writes CNN.

The Navy may reinstate Capt. Brett Crozier, who was removed as commanding officer of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt after he wrote a letter to superiors asking for more help fighting a COVID-19 outbreak aboard the ship, according to the New York Times.

Navy officials yesterday said nearly a dozen Iranian speedboats operated by the Revolutionary Guard carried out harassing maneuvers dangerously close to U.S. warships conducting exercises in the Persian Gulf, reports NPR.

Israel moved closer to requiring a fourth election after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz failed to reach an agreement for a unity government, writes Haaretz. President Reuven Rivlin transferred the task of forming a governing coalition from Gantz to Israel’s parliament, the Knesset.

China may be secretly conducting small nuclear tests at its Lop Nur site despite Beijing’s claims that it is strictly adhering to an international accord banning all nuclear tests, according to the Wall Street Journal. A new arms control report from the State Department cites an array of activities that “raise concerns” that Beijing may not be complying with the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

Yesterday, Germany arrested four suspected ISIS members accused of plotting to attack U.S. military facilities, reports NBC. The men, who were all originally from Tajikistan, had allegedly already purchased weapons and ammunition.

U.S. Space Command said Russia test fired an anti-satellite missile yesterday, writes Space News. Space Command noted that the test showed that Russia’s space weapons are capable of destroying American satellites in low earth orbit.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of Rational Security discussing the viability of contact tracing and the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw funding from the World Health Organization.

Jeremy Grant and Paul Rosenzweig argued that the United States must act to improve digital identity verification.

Elliot Setzer shared a Ninth Circuit ruling that Facebook users could pursue several wiretap and privacy claims against the company.

Eileen Decker and Mieke Eoyang argued that the U.S. needs better cybercrime data.

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.

Elliot Setzer is a Knight-Hennessy Scholar at Stanford Law School and a Ph.D student at Yale University. He previously worked at Lawfare and the Brookings Institution.

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