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A curated weekday guide to major national security news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.
The Supreme Court yesterday dismissed a case in which Republicans sought to keep Title 42 in place. The Biden administration allowed the policy to expire last week, with new asylum restrictions taking effect. Andrew Chung reports for Reuters.
The Supreme Court yesterday declined in two cases to hold technology platforms liable for content posted by their users. In a case involving Google, the court rejected efforts to limit Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which frees platforms from liability for user content. In another case involving Twitter, the court ruled that another law allowing suits for aiding terrorism did not apply to the ordinary activities of social media companies. Adam Liptak reports for the New York Times.
Members of Congress are considering additional safety measures in their workplaces outside of Washington after the attack on two congressional aides this week at the Fairfax office of Representative Gerald Connolly (D-VA). The attack was the latest incident of violence targeting political figures causing aides to review their emergency plans and discuss possible changes to office policies, including cutting down on face-to-face interactions during drop-in sessions at district offices. Stephanie Lai reports for the New York Times.
House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R-TX) yesterday said he accepted the State Department’s invitation to view a classified cable related to the withdrawal from Afghanistan and would “pause” attempts to enforce a subpoena to obtain it. However, McCaul said he still wanted every member of the foreign affairs committee to be able to view the cable, something the State Department has resisted to protect the integrity of its dissent channel system. Patricia Zengerle reports for Reuters.
Republican lawmakers, including Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), are demanding that former FBI public corruption investigator, Timothy Thibault, testify on his role in opening the Justice Department’s criminal inquiry into former President Trump’s efforts to reverse his 2020 election loss. Republicans have been seeking evidence of anti-conservative bias within the FBI, which they say Thibault exemplifies, despite a track record of investigating Democrats and Republicans alike. The scrutiny of Thibault has its roots in his management of a public corruption squad that became mired in conflict, including over investigating Hunter Biden. Adam Goldman reports for the New York Times.
Former FBI employees accused the bureau of politicization in congressional testimony yesterday. The testimony comes a day after the FBI disclosed that two of the men had seen their security clearances revoked over concerns about their views of the Jan. 6 attack. Lindsay Whitehurst and Farnoush Amiri report for AP News.
Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) yesterday said that she will introduce articles of impeachment against President Biden. Greene said the articles would deal with Biden’s handling of border security, accusing him of an “absolute failure … to protect the states.” Jordain Carney reports for POLITICO.
Five TikTok creators are suing Montana’s attorney general over plans to impose a statewide ban on the app due to security concerns. The lawsuit argues that the ban infringes First Amendment rights and is “unconstitutional and preempted by federal law.” Rebecca Falconer reports for Axios.
Gun violence has surpassed the opioid crisis as Americans’ primary public health concern, according to the latest edition of the Axios-Ipsos American Health Index.
Chinese state security czar Chen Yixin has been put in charge of a campaign cracking down on U.S. corporate entities in China. The move makes it even more evident that leader Xi Jinping values security over economic growth. The shift risks alienating U.S. companies, who might otherwise back Beijing in Washington as they eye opportunities in China. Lingling Wei reports for the Wall Street Journal.
U.S. military officials are walking back claims that a recent strike in Syria killed a senior al-Qaeda leader. The dead man’s family said he had no ties to terrorists but was a father of 10 tending to his sheep when a missile killed him. While Central Command claimed that the strike had targeted a “senior Al Qaeda leader,” two defense officials said there is a doubt inside the Pentagon about who was killed. Omar Nezhat, Meg Kelly, Alex Horton, and Imogen Piper report for the Washington Post.
U.S. officials hope that foundational discussions on artificial intelligence may help establish some shared principles among the Group of Seven as they meet in Japan. National security adviser, Jake Sullivan, began calling counterparts to seek a joint discussion as ChatGPT made nations focus on the possibilities for disinformation, chaos, and the physical destruction of critical infrastructure. David E. Sanger reports for the New York Times.
RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS – GLOBAL RESPONSE
The Pentagon has overvalued the weaponry it sent to Ukraine by at least $3 billion. This error could eliminate the administration’s need to ask Congress for more money to keep Kyiv fighting this spring, people familiar with the situation said. Gordon Lubold and Doug Cameron report for the Wall Street Journal.
The Biden administration has signaled to European allies that the U.S. would allow them to export F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, sources familiar with the discussions said. The U.S. would have to approve third-party transfers because of the jets’ sensitive technology. A handful of European countries have a supply of F-16s, including the Netherlands, which has signaled a willingness to export some of them to Ukraine. Natasha Bertrand, Kylie Atwood, and Oren Liebermann report for CNN.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy may visit the Group of Seven summit in Japan in person. Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, said, “The physical presence of our president is absolutely important in order to defend our interests.” However, a new official statement from Danilov’s department mentions only an online presence. Brandon Livesay reports for BBC News.
OTHER RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS
A train carrying grain derailed yesterday on the Russian-occupied peninsula of Crimea, local authorities said. Crimean railway officials blamed the derailment on the “intervention of outsiders.” Stephen Kalin and Georgi Kantchev report for the Wall Street Journal.
Russian forces retreated from around Bakhmut yesterday, as Kyiv pressed on with its most significant advance for six months, the Ukrainian military and Russia’s paramilitary organization Wagner group have said. Ivan Lyubysh-Kirdey reports for Reuters.
India’s defense production rose more than 12% last fiscal year and crossed the $12 billion threshold for the first time, the government said today. The increase comes as the country tries to reduce its reliance on imports from countries such as Russia. Exports of Russian weapons have been hampered by its war in Ukraine. Reuters reports.
Chinese President Xi Jinping today unveiled a grand plan for Central Asia’s development, taking on a new leadership role in a region that has traditionally been a Russian sphere of influence. China is ready to coordinate development strategies with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, Xi said during the China-Central Asia Summit. Andrew Hayley reports for Reuters.
Dr. Kenneth Elliott, an 88-year-old Australian doctor held captive in West Africa by al-Qaeda militants for more than seven years, has been released. Elliott and his wife were kidnapped in 2016 near the border between Mali and Burkina Faso, where they operated a clinic for over 40 years. His wife, Jocelyn, was released three weeks after the initial kidnapping following public pressure. Tom Housden reports for BBC News.