At a glance.
- The Russo-American summit, and the cybersecurity agenda.
- Lina Khan appointed to chair US Federal Trade Commission.
Updates on the Russo-American summit.
Presidents Biden and Putin have been sparring via the press in advance of today’s talks, Spectrum News reports. President Biden is expected to raise human rights concerns centered on the Kremlin’s persecution of political opponents through the attempted assassination of Alexei Navalny, the squelching of protests, and the criminalization of opposition organizations as “extremist” groups. President Putin has sought to portray the Biden Administration’s crackdown on right-wing groups and the death of President Trump devotee Ashli Babbitt as of a feather.
President Biden will seek out common ground, but “verify first and then trust” President Putin’s pledges—considering the Kremlin signs agreements with one hand while breaking them with the other, as the Washington Post notes—warning that the US is prepared to “respond in kind” to continued cyber mischief. National Post marks the complexity of responding to attacks ambiguously sanctioned by Moscow.
Former State Department official Chris Painter characterized President Putin’s offer to swap cybercriminals, which President Biden said he was “open to” before national security adviser Jake Sullivan walked back the comment, as “I will give you low level criminal if you give me CyberComm personnel.” Painter did call the proposal a “glimmer” of hope that President Putin might “crack down on ransomware gangs because they’re getting too noisy.”
The G7 this weekend reiterated states’ responsibility for homegrown cybercrime, according to the White House, while plugging the bloc’s “shared values” and “collective resolve.” The Record says the Group of Seven name checked Russia in its cybercrime callout: “In particular, we call on Russia…to identify, disrupt, and hold to account those within its borders who conduct ransomware attacks.” Politico says US lawmakers would like to see “some steel behind those words.”
Voice of America recounts US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s perspective that the US will enter the talks from “a new position of strength,” backed by the political, economic, and military might of the “top industrialized countries.” Russian misbehavior and allied cyber defenses also featured prominently in the White House’s NATO summit Fact Sheet, which announced a new Strategic Concept adapted to “Russia’s aggressive policies” and touted “the most powerful and successful Alliance in history.” Russian disinformation was a priority in NATO discussions, Reuters reports.
USA Today and the Epoch Times give the Administration’s tempered expectations for the meeting: on one hand, President Biden said, “Autocrats have enormous power,” and relations are “at a low point.” On the other, the Kremlin has “bitten off some real problems they’re going to have trouble chewing on,” and the two may be able to agree on “some strategic doctrine.” Business Insider relates Blinken’s comments that there will be no “flip the light switch moment.” The pair will hold separate pressers following the event to sidestep the usual post-summit posturing, and in President Biden’s words, avoid a “contest about who can do better.”
Meanwhile, The Hill notes, the Pentagon is preparing to send Ukraine $150 million for border defenses including "counter-artillery radars, counter-unmanned aerial systems, secure communications gear, [and] electronic warfare” equipment.
President Biden will appoint a Big-Tech skeptic to chair the US Federal Trade Commission.
In what the New York Times characterizes as a win for progressive activists, President Biden will appoint Columbia University law professor Lina Khan, confirmed to the Federal Trade Commission yesterday by the Senate, to chair the regulatory body. Her resume includes, the Wall Street Journal says, service as a “key staffer” for the House Judiciary Committee during its sixteen-month deliberation of anti-monopoly policy that last week resulted in five proposed laws the Committee collectively called “A Stronger Online Economy: Opportunity, Innovation, Choice.”