Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Emily Dai
Tuesday, November 9, 2021, 1:22 PM

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

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol issued subpoenas Monday seeking documents from former Trump advisers. The committee also requested their appearance for depositions in December, writes the Hill. Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and attorney John Eastman are among those subpoenaed to appear before the committee. The set of subpoenas targets individuals involved in creating a strategy for contesting the presidential election results.

Amtrak plans to use the $66 billion in funding it will receive from the newly passed infrastructure bill for repair and replacement projects and possibly expand service to 160 new communities, according to the Washington Post. Amtrak chief executive William Flynn said in an interview Monday that the money “represents more funds than have been cumulatively invested in Amtrak over the first 50 years of our history.” The new funding will help Amtrak rebuild the aging infrastructure of the Northeast Corridor, including bridges and tunnels that are more than 100 years old, replace its oldest cars and improve rail safety. 

Former President Donald Trump’s attorney, Jesse Binnall, filed a second request late Monday night to prevent the National Archives from sending sensitive records to the Jan. 6 committee and a judge rejected the effort two hours later, reports Politico. Judge Tanya Chutkan was already considering an earlier request by Trump to keep his White House’s records on his efforts to overturn the 2020 election confidential. Binnall asked Chutkan to approve an “administrative stay” of her ruling for the first lawsuit—which she has not made yet. She ruled the second request legally defective and “premature.”

Facebook whistleblower France Haugen spoke with AP News on Tuesday about how Facebook’s new virtual reality initiative, the “metaverse,” will be another mechanism the company can use to acquire personal information. Haugen claimed that her leaking of Facebook’s internal documents and the consequent wave of legislative and regulatory efforts to reform Big Tech pressured Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to announce the metaverse. She also expressed concerns about the potential that the metaverse will become increasingly obligatory to participate in. Given the allegations that Facebook fails to regulate its own platform, Haugen said she was surprised the company would shift focus away from these criticisms and onto the new realm of virtual reality.

The Justice Department, Romanian police and Europol announced Monday the coordinated action against two alleged hackers from the REvil ransomware gang, writes BBC News. The raids led to the arrests of Yaroslav Vasinskyi and Yevgeniy Polyanin and the retrieval of more than $6,000,000 in cryptocurrency.  REvil has been blamed for major hacks on businesses and institutions around the world.

The Biden administration on Monday defended its coronavirus vaccine mandate for big businesses, said the New York Times. The mandate, which would require employers to ensure their workers are fully vaccinated against coronavirus or undergo weekly testing, was temporarily blocked by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The unsigned opinion said the petitioners gave “cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the mandate.” The Justice Department argued that blocking the mandate would likely cost dozens or hundreds of lives per day.

The Washington Post reported new findings from Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group that the United States produces almost four times more renewable electricity from wind and solar power than in 2011. At least half of the amount of electricity consumed in three states—Iowa, North Dakota and Kansas—is produced from wind and solar. The analysis also found that wind, solar and geothermal energy is on track to meet current electricity demands by 2035 if it keeps growing at the same pace.


ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Scott R. Anderson sat down with Ambassador Doug Silliman to discuss the Sadrist bloc, challenges facing the Iraqi state and what they all mean for the future of the U.S.-Iraq bilateral relationship.

Michael P. Fischerkeller analyzed CYBERCOM's 2018 Command Vision and the respective roles of the State Department and the Department of Defense in creating cyber norms.

Aziz Huq, Tom Ginsburg and David Landau provide a comparative analysis of the methods of discipline against politicians in different democracies and discuss the costs and benefits of disqualification in the American context and opportunities for improvement.

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.

Subscribe to Lawfare