Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Katherine Pompilio
Wednesday, June 1, 2022, 3:58 PM

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

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With

Subscribe to receive this newsletter directly to your inbox.

The Supreme Court blocked a Texas law that would prohibit social media sites from restricting certain posts on their platforms based on users' political views, reports Politico. In a 5-4 ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett granted an emergency stay request from a coalition of tech groups that petitioned to suspend the law. The ruling means that the law will remain blocked until it moves through a federal appellate court. The Texas law grants the state of Texas and individual Texans the authority to sue social media platforms if they “censor” the posts of their users based on political viewpoints or geographic location by banning their account or removing and “discriminating” against their posts. Tech companies such as Meta, Twitter and Google argue that the law violates their First Amendment right to moderate what content is shared on their websites and platforms. 

In the aftermath of the recent mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, lawmakers introduced legislation to raise the minimum age requirement to purchase semiautomatic rifles, writes the Wall Street Journal. The new legislation would increase the minimum age to buy a semiautomatic firearm from 18 to 21. Additionally, the package of bills would prohibit the sale of bullet-resistant vests to civilians, as well as mandate that pistols be enabled with microstamping technology. The Democratic controlled New York state assembly and senate are expected to pass the legislation in the coming days. New York Governor Kathy Hochul has expressed support for the bills and will likely sign them into law as soon as this week. 

The Uvalde Police Department and the Uvalde Independent School District  (CSID) force are no longer cooperating with the Texas Department of Public Safety’s probe into the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School and the response of law enforcement to the crisis, according to ABC News. According to a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety, while police initially cooperated with the department, the chief of the Uvalde CISD police has stopped responding to requests for an interview about the massacre. Uvalde police reportedly stopped cooperating with the investigation after the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety held a press conference during which he stated that the choice of police to delay entry into the classroom that harbored the shooter was the “wrong decision” and went against police protocol. 

FBI Director Christopher Wray blamed Iranian state-backed hackers for an attempted cyberattack on Boston Children’s Hospital last year, reports CNN. According to Wray, the FBI was able to address and prevent any attempts to launch ransomware deployed by the hackers, which could have seriously damaged the hospital’s computer network. The FBI director called the attack “one of the most despicable cyberattacks” he had ever seen and said that the attempted attack serves as a warning of the high-impact hacking capabilities of threats such as Iran, Russia, China and North Korea. 

Russian forces are inching closer to gaining full control of the eastern Ukrainian city known as Severodonetsk, writes the Washington Post. Severodonetsk is one of the Luhansk region’s largest cities that remains under partial Ukrainian control, and is—according to local officials—key to Moscow’s military strategy in eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian officials reported that Russian forces have consolidated in the city center after launching repeated shelling attacks and ground assaults against Ukrainians in the city. According to Luhansk’s regional governor, Russian forces have gained control of at least 70 percent of the city. Almost all of the city’s critical infrastructure has reportedly been decimated, which has cut off central sources of water, gas and electricity. The lack of access to essential resources in addition to consistent Russian shelling has reportedly made evacuation and humanitarian aid impossible. 

More than 23,000 Ukrainians have been authorized to seek refuge in the United States, according to CNN. The refugees are allowed to come to the United States under the “Uniting for Ukraine” program that allows Ukrainians to stay in the county for a limited amount of time. To be eligible to come to the United States via the Uniting for Ukraine program, Ukrainians must be sponsored by a U.S. citizen or individual—including resettlement and nonprofit organizations—and must undergo security and public health assessments and screenings. The program has received 42,000 requests so far from applicants to enter the country and 5,800 Ukrainians have arrived in the United States. The Biden administration has reportedly pledged to accept up to 100,000 refugees from Ukraine. 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Benjamin Wittes spoke with Carrie Corderp and Adam Klein about the latest FISA transparency data released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. 

Justin Sherman analyzed state bills on data brokers. 

Darrell West shared the latest episode of TechTank in which he spoke with Tom Wheeler and Katherine Cross about  privacy, security, virtual content moderation, the sale of virtual goods and data ownership in the Metaverse. 

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.

Subscribe to Lawfare