Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Anna Salvatore
Friday, September 25, 2020, 2:50 PM

Lawfare’s daily roundup of national security news and opinion.

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China has demolished at least 8,500 mosques and shrines belonging to the Uighur Muslim minority in Xinjiang, reports The New York Times. The efforts are part of a broader attempt to suppress Uighurs and other Central Asian ethnic groups. Nathan Ruser, a researcher at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, called the government’s “campaign of demolition and erasure… unprecedented since the Cultural Revolution.”

The U.S. is using “Ninja Hellfire” missiles against Al-Qaeda leaders in northwestern Syria, the Times also reports. Yesterday a U.S. counterterrorism official confirmed what the Times calls a “clandestine campaign” to kill jihadist leaders in the region, including a Sept. 14 strike in Idlib, Syria using the modified Hellfire missile with an inert warhead and a halo of six blades.

North Korean President Kim Jong Un apologized this morning for the shooting death of a South Korean official near the countries’ maritime border, reports CNN. In a letter to the South Korean government, Kim claimed that his soldiers noticed an unknown man floating at sea, asked him unsuccessfully for his name and then shot him. South Korea condemned its northern neighbor and demanded punishment for the soldiers who killed him.

Two people were knifed today near the former offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine in Paris, writes BBC News. In 2015, jihadists murdered twelve people in the Charlie Hebdo offices. Today’s attacks coincide with the jihadists’ accomplices standing trial and the magazine reprinting the controversial cartoons that came out before the attack.

Facebook has shut down three Russian disinformation networks, writes The Washington Post. Sponsored by Russia’s Internet Research Agency, the networks directed users to visit websites that were run by Russian operatives. They did not have large followings in the United States.

The D.C. Circuit reversed a lower court decision today, ruling that House Democrats can sue the Trump administration for using money appropriated for defense to fund construction of the border wall. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia had previously held that the House of Representatives suffered no concrete injury from the funding’ decision. But the D.C. Circuit ruled that the House “suffered an institutional injury” when its order to give federal funds to the Defense Department was undermined.

Buzzfeed News reports that tens of thousands of ballots in Pennsylvania may not be counted after a recent state supreme court ruling. Earlier this summer, voters were told they did not have to enclose their mail-in ballots in secrecy envelopes to conceal how they voted. Now anyone who voted a so-called naked ballot will not have their vote counted, and voting outreach groups are scrambling to spread the word about the ruling and its consequences.

Kyle Cheney of Politico live-tweeted President Trump’s lawyers' argument in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit today against the Manhattan District Attorney’s subpoena to the president’s accounting firm.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Tia Sewell shared District Judge Randolph Moss’s opinion denying the government’s request to dismiss the lawsuit it’s facing from former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Quinta Jurecic shared documents relating to the Justice Department’s proposed changes to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Lester Munson released an episode of the Fault Lines podcast entitled “The Eastern Mediterranean and North Korea.”

Jacob Schulz posted a newly released March 5 opinion from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court about a proposed technique for electronic surveillance.

Gary Corn shared his essay from the Hoover Institution’s Aegis series: “Covert Deception, Strategic Fraud, and the Rule of Prohibited Intervention.”

Tia Sewell shared the livestream of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s hearing on threats to the homeland, which features testimony from FBI Director Christopher Wray.

Lee Sutherland explained what the Federal Acquisition Security Council does.

Jen Patja Howell released an episode of The Lawfare Podcast, featuring a conversation between Quinta Jurecic, Evelyn Douek and Nina Jankowicz about Jankowicz’s new book: “How to Lose the Information War: Russia, Fake News, and the Future of Conflict.”

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.

Anna Salvatore is a rising freshman at Princeton University. She previously served as the editor in chief of High School SCOTUS, a legal blog written by teenagers. She is now a fall intern at Lawfare.

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