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A curated weekday guide to major national security news and developments over the weekend. Here’s today’s news.
DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS – DISCORD LEAKS
Jack Teixeira, the Discord leaker, will remain in prison pending his trial because he poses a continuing threat to national security and public safety, a federal magistrate judge ruled on Friday. Alicia Napierkowski and Glenn Thrush report for the New York Times.
The Pentagon mostly abandoned the Countering Extremism Working Group that could have identified Discord leaker Jack Teixeira, as senior officials caved to pressure from the Republicans who branded the effort as wokeism in the military. The working group’s objectives were to identify the anti-government, White supremacist behavior and views like those espoused by Teixeira. Zachary Cohen, Oren Liebermann and Haley Britzky report for CNN.
DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS – JAN. 6 ATTACK
Justice Department attorney James Pearce, who works closely with the special counsel probing the Jan. 6 attack, took on Ari Holtzblatt, a prominent social media defense lawyer, in a sealed appeals court argument Friday, according to a review of court records. Holtzblatt, an attorney with the high-powered firm WilmerHale has most recently represented Twitter, Google, and Meta. The precise nature of the litigation is unclear. The district court docketed the matter as a “stored communications” fight. Kyle Cheney, Josh Gerstein, and Betsy Woodruff Swan report for POLITICO.
The head of an intelligence unit of the Washington, D.C., police department, Shane Lamond, faces criminal charges after allegedly warning Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio about an arrest warrant and leaking other law enforcement information, an indictment released on Friday showed. Lamond also made false and misleading statements to federal law enforcement agents about his communications with Tarrio, the Justice Department said. A federal grand jury indicted Lamond on one count of obstruction of justice and three counts of making false statements. Reuters reports.
The FBI improperly searched intelligence gathered through a foreign spying law for information on people suspected of participating in the Jan. 6 attack and the George Floyd protests, a court opinion released on Friday showed. The heavily redacted opinion of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court said the violations were significant and often due to analysts not understanding existing search rules. Senior national security officials said all the incidents described occurred before the FBI completed a series of internal reforms. Dustin Volz and Byron Tau report for the Wall Street Journal.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
District Court Judge Beryl Howell on Friday ordered Rudy Giuliani to provide details of his finances and net worth in connection with a lawsuit filed by two Georgia election workers who claim Giuliani defamed them by publicly accusing them of fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Josh Gerstein reports for POLITICO.
About 60,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate, a chemical used as a fertilizer and to make explosives, went missing on a rail shipment in April and has yet to be found, officials said. Dyno Nobel, an explosive manufacturing company, notified the federal government of the loss and said, “The initial assessment is that a leak through the bottom gate on the rail car may have developed in transit.” The rail carrier, Union Pacific, said it does not suspect any criminal or malicious activity was involved in the disappearance of the cargo. Amanda Holpuch and Joshua Needelman report for the New York Times.
Said Murekezi, 42, was arrested on suspicion of arson after a fire last week at a St. Paul, Minnesota, mosque. The incident is at least the fifth act of vandalism in the state this year. Murekezi, who told the police he is Muslim, said he was protesting homelessness, according to charging documents. Claire Fahy reports for the New York Times.
The Cyberspace Administration of China claims U.S. chipmaker Micron poses a national security risk, as operators of “critical information infrastructure” were instructed by the Chinese government to stop buying Micron Technology’s products yesterday. In a statement to the media yesterday evening, a U.S. Commerce Department spokesperson said China’s claim had “no basis in fact.” Rebecca Falconer reports for Axios.
The Group of Seven (G7) nations outlined their shared approach to China on Saturday, seeking to “de-risk, not decouple” economic engagement. The G7 noted that cooperation with China was necessary given its role in the international community and the size of its economy, and areas of common interest such as climate and conservation efforts. However, they said they would take steps to protect sensitive technology that could threaten national security. Trevor Hunnicutt and Jeff Mason report for Reuters.
The United States and Papua New Guinea (P.N.G.) signed a new bilateral defense cooperation agreement and a maritime security agreement today. The new defense cooperation is expected to expand U.S. access to military and other facilities in P.N.G., bolstering Washington’s security ties in the South Pacific. Simone McCarthy reports for CNN.
RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS – WESTERN RESPONSE
President Biden and Group of Seven leaders rallied around Ukraine yesterday with resolute support and promises of further weapons shipments. Biden announced another $375 million in artillery, ammunition, and other arms for Ukraine. Peter Baker, Motoko Rich, and David E. Sanger report for the New York Times.
The United States will support a joint international effort to train Ukrainian pilots to operate F-16 fighter jets, U.S. President Biden announced on Friday. It remains uncertain whether the United States will send F-16s to Ukraine, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said yesterday. Kelly Garrity reports for POLITICO.
The transfer of F-16 jets to Ukraine would raise the question of NATO’s role in the conflict, senior Russian diplomats warned today. Reuters reports.
OTHER RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS
Russian forces captured Bakhmut yesterday. While Kyiv disputes Russia’s claim of controlling all of Bakhmut, Ukraine’s top commander in the region, Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskiy, has acknowledged that his forces retain a presence only in an “insignificant” part of the city. Yaroslav Trofimov and Matthew Luxmoore report for the Wall Street Journal.
Ukrainian forces have made gains on the Russian flanks around Bakhmut, encircling the city, according to Ukrainian officials and military personnel in the field. Adam Taylor and Anastacia Galouchka report for the Washington Post.
Russian forces have undertaken a significant build-up of trenches and other fortifications in southern Ukraine, as revealed by examining hundreds of satellite images. The build-up is a response to the looming Ukrainian counter-offensive. Daniele Palumbo and Erwan Rivault report for BBC News.
The Kremlin has opened a criminal case against a prosecutor and several judges on the International Criminal Court (I.C.C.). The move is an apparent act of retribution for the I.C.C. issuing an arrest warrant against President Vladimir Putin. The Russian Investigative Committee said that British prosecutor Karim Ahmad Khan, together with judges Tomoko Akane, Rosario Salvatore Aitala, and Sergio Gerardo Ugalde Godinez, had “issued unlawful decisions.” Leila Sackur reports for NBC News.
The Russian paramilitary organization Wagner group is believed to have been involved in the extrajudicial killing of more than 500 people, according to a human rights fact-finding mission report conducted over several months by U.N. staff in Mali. Jason Burke reports for the Guardian.
Sudan’s warring factions have agreed to a seven-day humanitarian ceasefire. The new ceasefire will be enforced by a “ceasefire monitoring mechanism,” according to a U.S.-Saudi statement. Sam Hancock reports for BBC News.
Two kidnapped U.S. embassy staff have been rescued unharmed in Nigeria days after seven other people traveling in the same convoy were killed. It is not clear who the kidnappers were. No US citizen was among the victims, and there are “no indications at this time that it was targeted against [the U.S.] mission,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Chiagozie Nwonwu, Chris Ewokor, and Natasha Booty report for BBC News.
Tens of thousands joined protests across Israel on Saturday against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s contested judicial overhaul. The protests are entering their 20th week. Reuters reports.