News Headlines 6/15/21

NATO LEADERS ADDRESS ISSUE OF RUSSIA, CHINA AT MEETING: President Biden and other NATO leaders met at a summit in Brussels yesterday (June 14th) and addressed the issue of provocative actions by both Russia and China. Biden said that the other leaders supported his plans to press Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting Wednesday to stop cyberattacks on the West that originate in Russia, stop interfering in other countries’ elections, and end the violent crackdown on political dissidents in Russia. He told reporters, “I’m going to make clear to President Putin that there are areas where we can cooperate, if he chooses. And if he chooses not to cooperate and acts in a way that he has in the past relative to cybersecurity and other activities, then we will respond, we will respond in kind.” The NATO leaders in a summit statement also addressed actions by China, saying the country is a constant security challenge and is working to undermine global order. They also expressed concern about what the statement called China’s “coercive policies,” its use of disinformation, and the non-transparent ways it’s modernizing its armed forces.

GEORGIA SUPERMARKET CASHIER KILLED AFTER FACE MASK ARGUMENT: A supermarket cashier was shot and killed in Decatur, Georgia, yesterday (June 14th) after an argument over wearing face masks in the store. DeKalb County Sheriff Melody Maddox said, “There was some confrontation, argument — I’m not sure exactly what — in reference to the wearing of masks, at which time the subject pulled out a weapon and shot the cashier.” The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said preliminary information indicates that the customer, identified as 30-year-old Victor Lee Tucker Jr., got into an argument with the cashier and left the store without making his purchase. But he then immediately went back inside and fatally shot the female cashier. A reserve deputy who worked security for the store exchanged fire with Tucker and both were wounded, and a second cashier was grazed by a bullet. Tucker was arrested as he tried to crawl out of the supermarket.

EX-NSA CONTRACTOR REALITY WINNER RELEASED FROM PRISON EARLY FOR GOOD BEHAVIOR: Former National Security Agency contractor Reality Winner, who was jailed in 2018 on a single count of leaking national security information to the news media, was freed early from prison yesterday (June 14th) for good behavior. The 29-year-old was moved to home confinement. Winner had been sentenced to five years and three months in prison, the longest federal sentence ever imposed for leaks to the news media. Although authorities never identified who received Winner’s leak of a classified report, her 2017 arrest was announced the same day that The Intercept reported on a secret NSA document that detailed  efforts by the Russian government to get into a Florida-based supplier of voting software as well as the accounts of election officials ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

JUSTICE DEPT. TO TIGHTEN RULES ON GETTING DATA OF MEMBERS OF CONGRESS: Attorney General Merrick Garland said yesterday (June 14th) that the Justice Department will tighten its rules about getting the data of members of Congress, saying, “[W]e must ensure that full weight is accorded to separation-of-powers concerns moving forward.” That announcement comes after recent revelations about the Justice Department under former President Donald Trump secretly getting phone data of congressional Democrats and members of the media as part of a leak investigation.