OUR PICKSDetecting the Origins of a Pandemic | Protection in an Era of Cyberwarfare | Unifying Cybersecurity Efforts, and more

Published 5 August 2022

·  The Lessons—and Limits—of the Jan. 6 Committee

·  A Better Way to Detect the Origins of a Pandemic

·  As Bioweapons Negotiators Prepare to Meet Amid a Pandemic and Torrents of Disinformation, Can They Accomplish Anything? 

·  QAnon’s Ron Watkins finishes last in Arizona primary race

·  UC Berkeley Cybersecurity Master’s Students Double Their Salaries Postgrad

·  How Companies Can Protect Themselves and the Country in an Era of Cyberwarfare

·  $9 Million Research Grant Targets Software Supply Chain Security

·  Seeing the Dots, Connecting the Dots: How Government Can Unify Cybersecurity Efforts

The Lessons—and Limits—of the Jan. 6 Committee  (Quinta Jurecic and Molly E. Reynolds, Lawfare)
What factors helped get the Jan. 6 committee’s work off the ground, and to what extent can and should they be replicated in future investigations?

A Better Way to Detect the Origins of a Pandemic  (Angela Kane and Jaime Yassif, Arms Control Today)
The war in Ukraine has caused severe disruption to regional and global security, including raising concerns about the potential use of unconventional weapons.1 Not least of these concerns is the dangerous Russian disinformation campaign alleging biological weapons development in Ukraine, which has led to fears that Russia itself may use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine as part of a false flag operation.2 In addition to highlighting the critical need to guard against biological risks, these allegations have drawn attention to serious gaps in the global biosecurity and pandemic preparedness architecture.

As Bioweapons Negotiators Prepare to Meet Amid a Pandemic and Torrents of Disinformation, Can They Accomplish Anything?  (Yong-Bee Lim, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists)
One fall day in 2006, Alexander Litvinenko, a Russian defector who once worked in Moscow’s secret intelligence community and who became a prominent Kremlin critic in the United Kingdom, ate sushi for lunch before meeting with two former colleagues from his spy agency days at the Pine Bar in London’s Millennium Hotel. The anti-corruption crusader was reportedly set to travel to Spain to investigate the Russian mob there. But just a few short weeks later, Litvinenko was dead. He was poisoned by a radioactive substance in his tea called polonium-210, allegedly mixed in by his former security service colleagues.
Litvinenko’s poisoning preceded a handful events, ranging from assassinations to large-scale chemical release attacks, that involved the use of unconventional weapons in the last several years—a dangerous indication that certain governments are both working on these weapons and showing an increased willingness to use them. Meanwhile, Russia has mounted an increasingly aggressive disinformation campaign that accuses the United States of harboring an illegal bioweapons program, a claim that credible sources have noted is not substantiated by fact. It adds up to a troubling picture: Important norms against the use of chemical weapons have already eroded, and norms against the use of biological weapons may be next. One of Litvinenko’s alleged killers, Andrei Lugovoi, is now celebrated as a hero in some Russian circles and is a deputy in the Russian Duma, or parliament. (Cont.)