CHINA SCALING BACK CYBERTHEFT. Fighting crime does pay, apparently, as the Chinese military appears to have backed off its commercial cyberespionage since the Justice Department indicted five officers last year. But The Washington Post reports that while cyberespionage seems to be spinning down, it isn’t clear that China is going to make good on President Xi Jinping’s September promise to stop economic cyber spying to benefit Chinese companies.
But it really may just be too soon to know, as neither the National Security Agency nor the Federal Bureau of Investigations have a full picture of what the threat of Chinese cyber spying is. Nonetheless, the apparent effect of the indictments is it puts the value of potential sanctions against China in a new light. In April, Obama signed an executive order giving himself the power to place sanctions on individuals and entities that participate in cyberespionage.
SHODDY STUFF FOR UKRAINIAN SOLDIERS. The United States is supplying Ukrainian troops at the front – but the stuff they’re getting isn’t always much good for fighting. The Washington Post reports that old Humvees – some dating back to the 1980s and 1990s – old tires, and discontinued bulletproof vests are just some of the secondhand and leftover goods that are showing up as part of the aid packages – and the recipient soldiers don’t like it.
U.S. officials have excused the condition of some of the equipment by explaining that they were in a rush to help Ukraine out in a war that came on as a surprise. Plus not all the equipment was old – they have also procured new night vision and first-aid kits, counter artillery, counter mortar radars and communications gear.
GUANTANAMO TEST TRIAL. A federal appeals court is reconsidering the decision of one of its panels to limit the scope of what detainees can be tried before military commissions. It all comes from the case of Ali Hamza al-Bahlul, an aide to Osama bin Laden who was charged with conspiracy and convicted by a military commission in 2008 – but shouldn’t have been, according to the court, because conspiracy isn’t an international war crime.
That may sound specific and grainy. But as The Washington Post reports, the significance of such a decision could be quite broad: If the government can’t use military tribunals to bring conspiracy charges against the lower-level detainees at Guantanamo, it makes it that much harder to close cases – and ultimately, potentially, the facility.