Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Benjamin Pollard
Friday, August 5, 2022, 3:57 PM

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

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China’s Foreign Ministry said that the country will cease cooperating with the United States on issues such as climate change, drug trafficking, transnational crime, and immigration. The announcement comes amid rising tensions between the two countries, following U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) visit to Taiwan. On Thursday, the U.S. Defense Department ordered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan to stay close to Taiwan and “monitor the situation” in the region.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov signaled that they are willing to discuss a prisoner swap, following the conviction and sentencing of U.S. WNBA star Brittney Griner. The basketball player was sentenced to nine years in prison by a Russian court for drug possession and smuggling. Lavrov said that discussion of the swap must happen through a Russia-U.S. channel previously agreed to by Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Biden.

A Texas jury ordered Alex Jones to pay at least $4.1 million in compensatory damages to the parents of a Sandy Hook victim on Thursday. The jury has not yet decided how much plaintiffs Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin will receive in punitive damages from Jones. Lewis and Heslin had sought $150 million for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

At least 10 people were killed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza on Friday. Among the victims was a leader of the Islamic Jihad movement. Fifty-five people were injured. The Israeli military issued an alert to residents near Gaza that the rocket fire may continue until Saturday.

FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee that there have been “growing intelligence gaps” in Afghanistan since the United States pulled its troops out of the country. Wray is concerned about the potential of a terrorist attack against the United States given the loss of intelligence gathering capabilities. The FBI director also said that increasing domestic political violence has become nearly a “365-day phenomenon” at the committee hearing on Thursday.

Russia is planning to launch an Iranian satellite next week to help its war on Ukraine, according to national security officials. After using the satellite to bolster Russia’s military effort in Ukraine, the technology will be used by Iran to assist its intelligence operations in the Middle East.

Russian President Valdimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met on Friday to discuss energy, Syria, drone technology, and grain transport. After the meeting, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said that the two leaders intend to act in “solidarity in the fight against all terrorist organizations” in Syria.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Benjamin Wittes sat down with Sophia Yan, Julian Ku, and Zack Cooper to discuss House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

Michael McLaughlin and Harvey Rishikof argued that Congress should create a marketplace of accredited cybersecurity vendors that defense industrial base companies would be required to use to support U.S. national security.

Jordan Schneider shared an episode of ChinaTalk in which he sat down with Chris Buckley, Xujun Eberlein, and co-host Alex Boyd to discuss Bo Xilai, his rise to power, and what happened to the man who used to be President Xi’s most credible political rival.

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.

Benjamin Pollard is a student at Brown University studying history and political science. He is a former intern at Lawfare.

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