Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Katherine Pompilio
Friday, May 6, 2022, 1:49 PM

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The U.S. has denied providing “specific targeting information” to Ukrainian forces used in an attack to sink the Russian warship Moskva, reports CNN. In mid-April, Ukrainian forces reportedly struck the Russian guided-missile cruiser with two anti-ship missiles in the Black Sea. A statement released by a Pentagon denied any involvement in “the Ukrainians' decision to strike the ship or in the operation they carried out.”

First Lady Jill Biden will travel to the Ukrainian border on Sunday, writes the Hill. She will visit a border crossing in Vyšné Nemecké, Slovakia which is reportedly used by Ukrainian refugees to receive basic services before they travel further to check points and refugee processing centers. According to a White House official, the first lady will meet with aid workers, refugees and first responders to “learn about their experiences and express gratitude.”

A Human Rights Watch report alleges that Russian forces have “summarily executed, tortured, and beaten civilians” in the Central African Republic since 2019, according to CNN. The report featured interviews with 40 individuals— some of whom witnessed abuses and/or experienced the abuse themselves. The sources interviewed alleged that human rights abuses were being committed by men “with white skin speaking Russian” who wore “beige khaki clothes” that also carried military-grade weapons. Based on evidence from multiple Western government and U.N. experts, Human Rights Watch alleges that the Russian forces operating in the Central African Republic were likely connected to the Wagner Group, which is a private military security contractor linked to the Russian government.   

A bipartisan supermajority of senators voted to back Republican-led legislation that aims to place restrictions on any future nuclear agreement made with Iran, reports Politico. The measure states that any potential nuclear agreement made between the U.S. and Iran must specifically address Iran’s support for terrorism in the Middle East. The legislation also prohibits the U.S. to lift sanctions previously put onto the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is an elite branch of the Iranian military. Both Republicans and Democrats in the Senate described the non-binding measure as a “warning shot” to the Biden administration’s Iran-nuclear negotiation team, which has allegedly said privately that a deal that limits Iran’s nuclear capabilities is no longer on the table. 

Rudolph Giuliani abruptly backed out of an interview with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, writes the New York Times. The House panel subpoenaed Giuliani to question him about his efforts to help former President Trump overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. According to his lawyer, Giuliani canceled the interview on Thursday when the panel denied his request for his appearance to be recorded on video. Investigators wanted to interview the Trump ally and former lawyer to gain insight into Giuliani’s interaction with members of congress allegedly involved in the plot to overturn the election. The meeting was scheduled for Friday. 

President Biden signed the Better Cybercrime Metrics Act into law, according to the Hill. The bipartisan legislation is intended to improve the federal government’s collection of data about cybercrime to help safeguard against future attacks on American critical infrastructure. The law requires the Justice Department to establish a new category in the National Incident-Based Reporting System that is dedicated to federal, state and local cybercrime reports. The legislation also directs the U.S. Government Accountability Office to study the effectiveness of how cybercrime data is reported and the disparities in cybercrime data that is reported. 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast which features a conversation between Evelyn Douek and Daphne Keller about Europe’s Digital Services Act. 

Susan Markham explained why a focus on gender increases national security. 

David Priess shared an episode of Chatter in which he sat down with political scientist and economist Christopher Blattman about his hands-on field work, his framework for understanding why groups do and do not choose violence, and what it all means for practical efforts at conflict avoidance and resolution.

Stewart Baker shared an episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast in which he, Jane Bambauer, Jordan Schneider, Tatyana Bolton and Michael Ellis discuss a study that disclosed that Google’s Gmail sent roughly two-thirds of GOP campaign emails to users’ spam inboxes, China’s cyber policies and more. 

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. Check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.

Katherine Pompilio is an associate editor of Lawfare. She holds a B.A. with honors in political science from Skidmore College.

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