Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Emily Dai
Wednesday, October 20, 2021, 3:20 PM

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

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The House select committee probing the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol voted unanimously on Tuesday in favor of contempt of Congress charges against Steve Bannon for refusing to cooperate with its investigation, reports NBC News. The full House will vote on whether to recommend contempt charges to the U.S. attorney’s office on Thursday. Earlier this month, Bannon refused to comply with subpoenas seeking documents and testimony, citing executive privilege as justification.

A Navy report found that a series of failures by sailors, commanders, Navy admirals and others led to the loss of the USS Bonhomme Richard in a five-day fire last year, reports the Wall Street Journal. While Seaman Apprentice Ryan Sawyer Mays was charged with aggravated arson for allegedly setting the U.S. amphibious assault ship ablaze, the report found that “the ship was lost due to an inability to extinguish the fire.” The ship was commissioned in the 1990s at a cost of $750 million and had recently been updated to carry and launch F-35 jet fighters. The replacement ship is slated to cost $4.1 billion.

Children aged 5 to 11 will soon be able to receive the coronavirus vaccines at their pediatric office, pharmacy, community health center or school, pending authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, according to CNN. If Pfizer’s request to vaccinate children aged 5 to 11 is approved, it would be the first coronavirus shot for younger children. The Department of Health and Human Services will also conduct a public education campaign “to reach parents and guardians with accurate and culturally responsive information about the vaccine and the risks that COVID-19 poses to children."

Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduros decision to pull out of talks with his political opponents “deeply unfortunate” on Tuesday, reports the New York Times. President Maduro called off the negotiations after Alex Saab, a close adviser, was extradited to the United States on Saturday on charges of money laundering and links to Hezbollah. Maduro, who was elected in widely disputed presidential elections in 2018, has withstood U.S. sanctions and embargoes. Maduro’s withdrawal derailed hopes of rapprochement with the United States as Venezuela suffers from widespread violence, poverty and disease.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas tested positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday, says the New York Times. Mayorkas is vaccinated and is “experiencing only mild congestion,” the department said in a statement. On Saturday, Mayorkas was near President Biden and other White House officials at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service.


ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Jacob Schulz sat down with Carissa Byrne Hessick to discuss the Jan. 6 plea bargains and what to expect moving forward.

Adam Klein discussed the details of the Inspector General’s most recent FISA report, and what to make of the state of the FISA process.

Rohini Kurup shared the Jan. 6 committee’s report that seeks to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with a subpoena.

Jonathan Shaub provided an update on his earlier article, which explored ways to facilitate Bannon’s prosecution, in light of recent updates.=

Stewart Baker shared an episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast, featuring: Dmitri Alperovitch discussing the ransomware summit; a proposal for regulating Silicon Valley and LinkedIn’s China operations; Tatyana Bolton laying out regulations of algorithms and WhatsApp’s adoption of encrypted backups; Nate Jones on the artificial intelligence race between the United States and China; along with a series of shorter updates.

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.

Emily Dai is a junior at New York University studying Politics and Economics. She is an intern at Lawfare.

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