OUR PICKSNuclear Friend-Shoring? | ShotSpotter Keeps Listening for Gunfire After Contracts Expire | Cisco Firewalls Hacked to Access Government Networks, and more

Published 24 April 2024

·  Nuclear Friend-Shoring? Issues With Uranium Enrichment Cooperation
The U.S. could cooperate with foreign partners on uranium enrichment to wean nuclear power plants off Russian fuel. But should it?

·  How States Are Investigating and Prosecuting the Trump Fake Electors
The current status of nationwide efforts to hold accountable the people behind the 2020 fake electors plot

·  The Unreality of Columbia’s ‘Liberated Zone’
What happens when genuine sympathy for civilian suffering mixes with a fervor that borders on the oppressive?

·  Congressional Push for Oil Sanctions Puts Biden in a Bind
New measures to punish Iran, Venezuela, and Russia could raise crude prices and hurt Biden in an election year

·  ShotSpotter Keeps Listening for Gunfire After Contracts Expire
Internal emails suggest that the company continued to provide gunshot data to police in cities where its contracts had been canceled

·  ‘ArcaneDoor’ Cyberspies Hacked Cisco Firewalls to Access Government Networks
Sources suspect China is behind the targeted exploitation of two zero-day vulnerabilities in Cisco’s security appliances

Nuclear Friend-Shoring? Issues With Uranium Enrichment Cooperation  (Newell Highsmith and Toby Dalton, Lawfare)
Western efforts to sanction Russian energy exports following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine have run into an uncomfortable truth: Russia supplies much of the enriched uranium fuel used to power existing nuclear reactors in the West (and will likely supply planned advanced reactors as well). This dependency is especially lucrative for Russia’s war economy and also makes essential utilities vulnerable to a sudden Russian decision to cut off fuel supply. Both the Biden administration and Congress are pushing to incentivize new uranium enrichment capability in the United States and are considering a ban on Russian uranium imports. What’s more, European enrichment firms are planning to increase their production capacity as well to lessen the West’s dependency on Russia for fuel.
One additional option the U.S. government might consider to bolster uranium enrichment capacity would be nuclear “friend-shoring”—a trade practice in which supply chain networks are realigned to manufacture in and source goods from countries that are geopolitical allies. In this case, the U.S. government would partner with other allied governments to construct new uranium enrichment facilities. Friend-shoring could enable shared financing and make use of some potential partners’ sizable industrial capacity to help diversify sources of enrichment supply, insulate against future market disruption, and challenge Russian market dominance. The U.S. already has partnerships with Australia and a group of European countries for uranium enrichment facilities on U.S. territory. Critically, friend-shoring also could involve transfers of enrichment technology or equipment to partner countries for use on their territories. This would constitute a major shift in U.S. policy with implications for the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and it would therefore present more difficult legal issues than enrichment cooperation would on U.S. territory.

How States Are Investigating and Prosecuting the Trump Fake Electors  (Hunter Evans, Adam George, Quinta Jurecic, and Emma Plankey, Lawfare)
Of all the ways that Donald Trump and his allies attempted to overturn the 2020 election—including litigation, bullying, and eventually outright violence—the fake electors scheme was perhaps the most convoluted. (Cont.)