News Services

The Center produces two electronic morning news services – The Soufan Group Morning Brief and the Stroz Friedberg Cyber Brief – that increasingly reach a critical mass of the national security establishment and the public. Our daily newsletter, The Soufan Group Morning Brief, covers the most important national security, terrorism, and foreign policy stories of the day. The Stroz Friedberg Cyber Brief, our weekly roundup of cyber news, highlights developments in cybersecurity law and policy. The curated briefs encourage a user-generated experience, where readers can process information quickly through CNS summaries or delve more deeply into topics of interest through linked news sources. 

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Trump Administration Bars Asylum
for Most Central American Migrants

The Trump administration announced Monday it will move to end asylum protections for most Central American migrants with an interim rule that will go into effect on Tuesday. The new rule says that asylum-seekers at the southern border who have passed through another country without seeking asylum there will not be eligible for protection in the United States, according to a statement from the Department of Justice and Homeland Security. “Until Congress can act, this interim rule will help reduce a major ‘pull’ factor driving irregular migration to the United States and enable DHS and DOJ to more quickly and efficiently process cases originating from the southern border, leading to fewer individuals transiting through Mexico on a dangerous journey,” Acting DHS Kevin McAleenan said in the statement.

The new rule is subject to three exceptions, according to the statement. The exceptions were for migrants who did apply for protection in at least one of the countries and were denied, migrants who demonstrate they meet the definition of a “victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons,” or those who came to the United States through only a country or countries that were not parties to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the 1967 Protocol, or the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said he was deeply concerned by the move. “It will put vulnerable families at risk. It will undermine efforts by countries across the region to devise the coherent, collective responses that are needed. This measure is severe and is not the best way forward,” he said.
NBC News, Reuters, The Guardian
Related:
Lawfare: Document: Trump Administration Bars Asylum for Central Americans Traveling Through Mexico

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There’s a crisis unfolding in Asia. The U.S. is the only actor that can fix it. “Two of the United States’ core allies — Japan and South Korea — have become deeply estranged... The geopolitical and economic costs of this conflict are substantial and rising,” writes Evan S. Medeiros in the Washington Post. “Both sides may have technical merits to their arguments, but they are myopically damaging their larger diplomatic and economic interests, as well as those of the United States.”

Congress, stop ducking war-declaration authority on Iran: “The return to the ‘maximum pressure’ campaign is more proof of Trump’s reluctance to start another war in the Middle East... But with the military option still on the table — and with a top adviser to Iran’s president saying recently that ‘we consider war and sanctions as two sides of the same coin’ — Congress is out of excuses in ducking its duty to consider whether and when to authorize any possible military action,” Jane Harman writes for The Hill. “Lawmakers must exercise their constitutional responsibility to ensure that the American people understand the costs in blood and treasure of possible military action in Iran.”

Afghanistan: how to widen access to justice: “Since the collapse of the Taliban regime, the U.S. alone has spent well over a billion dollars rebuilding and reforming Afghanistan’s state justice sector, influenced by the Western system of retributive justice. But the failure to engage with the Afghanistan’s own tradition of restorative justice and to understand its multiplicity of justice providers has undermined true reform,” writes Ali Wardak in The Conversation. “A ‘hybrid model’ that instead forges links between state and non-state providers could provide justice that is more accessible, affordable and inclusive – and one with better oversight of those involved, and which would reduce human rights violations.”
 

Editor's Picks


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House votes in favor of broadcasting Guantanamo proceedings online: The House moved Friday to make military commissions held at Guantanamo Bay more transparent by paving the way for proceedings to be broadcast online. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) offered an amendment that would authorize military judges at Guantanamo Bay “to order arrangements for remote public viewing of the proceedings via internet.” The amendment was passed by a voice vote and included in the version of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act subsequently approved by the House. Schiff introduced the amendment after a report he requested from the Government Accountability Office recommended that the military consider making the commissions available online. Washington Times

Trump sends negotiators to Geneva for nuclear talks with Russians: Representatives from the United States and Russia are set to meet in Geneva on Wednesday to explore the concept of a new arms control treaty limiting nuclear arms that could eventually include China, senior U.S. officials said on Monday. Trump broached the idea with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting in Osaka, Japan, last month, and has also signaled his ambition for a three-way accord to President Xi Jinping of China, administration officials said on Monday. Russia has expressed interest; China has not. Reuters, New York Times

Trump officially nominates Esper for SecDef, confirmation hearing Tuesday: President Trump on Monday officially nominated Mark Esper to be the next Secretary of Defense, prompting him to step down as Acting Defense Secretary and hand over his duties to Navy Secretary Richard Spencer for the duration of the confirmation process. His confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee is scheduled to begin on Tuesday morning. Esper has returned to his previous role as Army Secretary until he is confirmed. He was forced to step down from his acting role during the confirmation process due to the stipulations of a federal law known as the Vacancies Act. NBC News, Washington Post
Related:
Military Times: Pentagon in its Longest-ever Stretch of Leadership Limbo

Mnuchin says Facebook’s cryptocurrency poses national security threat: U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Monday voiced serious concern that Facebook’s proposed Libra cryptocurrency could be misused for money laundering. The Treasury Department has warned Facebook that it must enact proper safeguards against illicit use such as money laundering, Mnuchin said at a White House press conference. His comments came a day before Facebook’s top official overseeing the launch of its Libra cryptocurrency, David Marcus, was scheduled to tell U.S. lawmakers the company would not launch the digital currency until regulatory concerns and approvals are fully addressed, according to prepared testimony posted by the Senate Banking Committee.
Reuters, New York Times

Bipartisan bill would stop administration from unilaterally allowing business with Huawei: Senators are introducing a bipartisan bill that would prevent U.S. companies from doing business with Chinese tech giant Huawei. Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) are leading the effort. Their bill would require congressional approval for the Commerce Department to remove Huawei from a list that found “reasonable cause” that the company was acting against U.S. security interests. The bill would also allow Congress to disapprove of any waivers granted to companies selling parts to Huawei. Politico


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Homeland Security watchdog says conditions at border facilities haven’t improved: The DHS Inspector General reiterated Monday that it’s still concerned about conditions at border facilities. “We understand that the department is facing a difficult challenge; however, the department has not developed a long-term plan to address the issues within detention centers along the southern border,” reads Assistant IG for Special Reviews and Evaluations Diana R. Shaw’s testimony, which was posted ahead of a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on detention at CBP facilities. “The steps the department has taken to implement our recommendation to alleviate dangerous overcrowding continue to fall short,” it continues. CNN
Related:
Politico: The Border Patrol Hits a Breaking Point

Acting USCIS director does not know operational details of ICE raids: Acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Ken Cuccinelli said Monday he did not know the operational details of ICE raids targeting undocumented immigrants, which began on Sunday. Cuccinelli had discussed the operation last week, but said Monday that he did “not have operational details” and said Matt Albence, the Acting Director of ICE, has not reported to him on how many arrests were made in the raids. Explaining why he did not know the details of the raids, Cuccinelli said, “presumably because operational details are kept contained within the agency executing the operation, as they should be.”
CNN

70 current, former CBP employees under investigation for social media posts: 70 current and former CBP employees are under investigation for participating in a secret Facebook group in which users joked about dead migrants and made sexist, derogatory comments about Latino Congress members, officials said Monday. CBP officials said that 62 are current employees and eight are former employees. Matthew Klein, the Acting Commissioner of CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility, said the investigation was not considered a criminal investigation at this point, but rather an internal investigation to determine whether the employees were involved in “serious administrative misconduct.” NBC News, ABC News, Financial Times


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Iraq returned more than 30 ISIS children to Russia on July 10, 473 to other nations: Iraq, on July 10, returned more than 30 Russian children whose parents left Russia to join ISIS, according to a statement by Dr. Ahmed Al-Sahaf, Iraq’s Foreign Ministry spokesman. In a statement published on its website, Iraq’s government confirmed that it had coordinated with the Russian embassy in Baghdad to return the children to Russia. “This process took place after taking the necessary legal measures to ensure their sponsorship and providing legal guarantees to protect their rights,” the statement read. Sahaf said that the Iraqi Foreign Ministry had returned 473 children from Azerbaijan, Belarus, France, Finland, Germany, Georgia, Tajikistan, and Ukraine. Middle East Eye

Child used in suicide attack in Afghanistan Friday, ISIS claimed attack: At least nine people died and 12 others were injured on Friday when a child was used to carry out a suicide attack on a wedding party in eastern Afghanistan, local officials said. The attack took place in Nangarhar province’s Pachiragam district. Provincial spokesman Attaullah Khugyani said the child was used to target a pro-government militia commander in Friday morning’s attack. ISIS later said it had carried out the attack. BBC News

Yemen rivals meet on board vessel for talks on Hodeidah pullback: Yemen's warring parties have agreed to new measures to enforce a ceasefire and facilitate a troop pullback from the flashpoint port of Hodeidah, the United Nations said on Monday. Representatives of the Iran-aligned Houthi movement and the Saudi-backed Yemeni government met on a UN ship in the Red Sea for talks on Sunday and Monday, the UN said in a statement. Separately, Saudi Vice Minister of Defense Khalid bin Salman met with UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths on Monday and stressed Saudi support for a political solution. Al Jazeera, Reuters


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EU foreign policy chief says Iran’s breach of nuclear deal not “significant”: The European Union’s foreign policy chief said Monday that none of the signatory parties to the Iran nuclear deal believe that Iran’s breach of the agreement is “significant.” The Iranian government announced on July 7 that it had started to increase uranium enrichment beyond the purity threshold it had agreed to in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Speaking at a press conference, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said that none of the signatory parties to the agreement wanted to invoke the dispute resolution mechanism, a process that would allow signatories to impose sanctions if they found that Iran wasn't holding up its part of the agreement. CNN
Related:

NBC News: Door is ‘Wide Open’ to Negotiation if Trump Lifts Sanctions on Iran, Zarif Says
Financial Times: Academic’s Arrest Hits Effort to Save Iran Nuclear Deal

India, Russia seek to avoid U.S. sanctions threats to arms deals: India and Russia reportedly have agreed on a new payment method through their national currencies for multi-billion-dollar defense deals, in a bid to avoid risks created by the U.S. threat of sanctions and banking restrictions. The arrangement would enable India to pay the first installment in the near future for two warships that Russia is building for its navy, two people familiar with the matter said. Defense contracts will be settled in rubles and rupees under a payment agreement reached by the central banks of Russia and India.
Bloomberg

Major prisoner swap between Russia, Ukraine in limbo: A prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine was thrown into uncertainty Monday after a Ukrainian court postponed a hearing that was expected to release an imprisoned Russian journalist. Russia and Ukraine were on track to launch a major prisoner swap involving the Russian journalist, Kirill Vyshinskiy, and 24 Ukrainians captured in the Sea of Azov last December when the Russian Envoy for Human Rights, Svetlana Moskalkova, arrived in Ukraine on Monday. She held talks with her Ukrainian counterpart and was invited to attend a court hearing in Kiev on Monday afternoon that was expected to rule on Vyshinskiy’s detention, but the court abruptly adjourned the hearing until Thursday. Associated Press, Bloomberg, Reuters

Canadian citizen detained in China as dispute continues over Huawei chief: A Canadian citizen detained in China is being held on drug-related offences, Beijing said Monday. News of the latest arrest comes amid a diplomatic crisis sparked by the detention of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer for Chinese tech giant Huawei, in Vancouver on a U.S. extradition bid. “The Shandong Provincial Public Security Bureau recently seized a drug-related case involving foreign students,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a press briefing. “One of the people involved in the case is a Canadian citizen.” The Guardian

South Korea calls Japan reports of North Korea sanctions breach ‘grave challenge’: South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Monday Japan’s reported accusations that South Korea had exported banned goods to North Korea posed a “grave challenge” amid a growing dispute over Japanese export curbs. Japan has tightened restrictions on the export of three materials used in high-tech equipment, citing “inadequate management” of sensitive items exported to South Korea. The curbs were seen as a response to a South Korean court ruling last year ordering a Japanese company to compensate South Koreans who were forced into labor during World War II. Reuters




SOUFAN GROUP

For cutting-edge analysis of the geopolitical events shaping global affairs, read today’s TSC IntelBrief.
Editor-in-Chief, Karen J. Greenberg, Center on National Security, Fordham Law School
 
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Center on National Security
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Copyright © 2018 Center on National Security, All rights reserved.

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  FEATURED STORY            

MONDAY, JULY 15, 2019

FTC TO HIT FACEBOOK WITH RECORD $5 BILLION FINE

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is set to hit Facebook with a $5 billion fine for violating its prior pledges to safeguard its users’ data. The civil penalty, which is expected to be approved by the Justice Department in the coming days, would be the largest ever imposed by the FTC. The consumer watchdog agency launched its inquiry into the social media giant in March of last year, following the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

 

Some analysts say the historic fine signals Washington’s rising frustration with big tech, while others claim that regulators were not tough enough on Facebook. In its vote, the Republican-controlled FTC reportedly split 3-2 along party lines, with both Democrat commissioners dissenting. Sources said the terms of the settlement also include proposals to change how Facebook handles user data and what customers should know about those practices.

The penalty comes as Facebook and other big U.S. tech firms are coming under intensifying antitrust scrutiny. Executives from Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Google are set to appear before the House Antitrust Subcommittee this week in a hearing on “dominant platforms and innovation.” (WSJ, NYT, FT, CNBC)

  HACKERS                                          
 

Amazon Prime Day: Security researchers are warning consumers to be on the lookout for emails pretending to be from Amazon that are in reality scams intended to steal personal and financial information. (CNet)

Magecart: In the past few months, the sophisticated hacking group has installed malware on more than 17,000 domains, with the aim of stealing credit card numbers. Magecart hackers reportedly exploited misconfigured Amazon cloud repositories. (Wired)


  COURTS                                          
 

Porn Troller: A Minnesota federal court sentenced former attorney John Steele to five years in prison for his role in a multimillion-dollar fraud and money-laundering scheme. Steele and his former partner, who was previously sentenced to fourteen years in prison, attempted to extort money from people who had downloaded pornography that the defendants themselves had uploaded to the web. (Star Tribune)

 
  ON THE HILL                                    
 

Trump’s Social Media Summit: Dozens of pro-Trump online personalities came to the White House to discuss what they said was the censorship of conservative voices on social media. The president said he would summon major social media firms to the White House for talks in coming weeks. (Reuters)

2020 Campaign: In an advisory opinion, federal election regulators gave the go ahead to Area 1 Security to provide cyber defense services to presidential candidates at a discounted rate. The company apparently offers similar services to other organizations at the same cost. The FEC has rules limiting in-kind donations. (NYT)


  DOD                                                
 

Cloud Contract: In a victory for Amazon, a federal judge rejected allegations made by Oracle, a competing company, that the Pentagon did not properly investigate conflicts of interest in the bidding process for its $10 billion cloud computing project. The Defense Department plans to award the contract by the end of August. (WSJ)


  PRIVATE SECTOR                             
 

Huawei: The Chinese telecom company is reportedly planning hundreds of layoffs at its U.S.-based research and development subsidiary, Futurewei Technologies, in the latest setback for the company following its blacklisting by the Trump administration. (WSJ)

ZTE: Like its Chinese rival Huawei, ZTE opened a cybersecurity lab in Brussels aimed at increasing transparency and allaying concerns about spying. The company says its new lab will allow customers, regulators, and others to review its source code and carry out software testing to simulate hacking. (Reuters)



  THE WORLD                                     
 

EU: Europe’s top court has set December 12, 2019, as the date it will rule on Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems’ landmark case against Facebook. The court’s opinion is expected to affect the way hundreds of thousands of companies transfer personal data worldwide. Schrems has a history of winning important cases against Facebook. (Reuters)

MUST READS

The Right Way to Deal With Huawei: “The White House is right to focus on technological competition with Beijing...But the Trump administration’s approach to this problem is not as effective as it could be. Much of the world has still to be convinced that the security hazards of using Huawei equipment outweigh the economic benefits. And the administration’s emphasis on decoupling the U.S. and Chinese scientific and technological ecosystems risks slowing American innovation and accelerating China’s plans for technological independence,” writes Adam Segal in Foreign Affairs.

 

The Metamorphosis: “We have been meeting for three years to try to understand these issues and their associated riddles. Each of us is convinced of our inability, within the confines of our respective fields of expertise, to fully analyze a future in which machines help guide their own evolution, improving themselves to better solve the problems for which they were designed. So as a starting point—and, we hope, a springboard for wider discussion—we are engaged in framing a more detailed set of questions about the significance of AI’s development for human civilization,” write Henry Kissinger, Eric Schmidt, and Daniel Huttenlocher in the Atlantic.

Empathy Matters: Leadership in Cyber: “This recognition of the importance of empathy as a foundational characteristic of great leadership is a realization the corporate world is increasingly embracing – both for the overall health of an organization and because it’s good for the bottom line. Such an embrace is particularly important in the field of technology and specifically cybersecurity, where the imperative to foster imagination, unconventional voices, and even intellectual empathy with the adversary is paramount. At the end of the day, cybersecurity is about human beings, not computers,” write Jen Easterly and Whitney Kassel for Just Security.


EVENT

Book Talk - Richard A. Clarke’s The Fifth Domain Defending Our Country, Our Companies, and Ourselves in the Age of Cyber Threats.
Please RSVP

Coauthored by Rob Knake

Moderated by Karen J. Greenberg

Monday, July 15, 2019 7:00-8:00 P.M.

Fordham Lincoln Center, 12th Floor Lounge

113 West 60th Street, New York, NY 10023







 

Center on National Security
Fordham University School of Law
150 W. 62nd St. 7th Floor
New York, NY 10023 US
Copyright © 2016 Center on National Security, All rights reserved.