Today's Headlines and Commentary

Tara Hofbauer
Wednesday, December 24, 2014, 11:54 AM
The Islamic State has captured a Jordanian pilot, participating in the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State. His plane reportedly “went down” during a mission conducted near Raqqa in northern Syria. Islamic State militants actually claim that they shot down the pilot.

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The Islamic State has captured a Jordanian pilot, participating in the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State. His plane reportedly “went down” during a mission conducted near Raqqa in northern Syria. Islamic State militants actually claim that they shot down the pilot. The New York Times notes, “Shooting down a fighter jet from the United States-led coalition against the Islamic State would be a first for the group. The pilot’s capture is also a coup that could shake the resolve of the Arab countries in the coalition.” Today, the U.S.-led coalition conducted ten airstrikes in Syria and another seven in Iraq. Reuters describes the specific targets of the attacks. Reuters also informs us that the U.S. government is planning to increase the number of private military contractors it employs in Iraq. “How many contractors will deploy to Iraq - beyond the roughly 1,800 now working there for the U.S. State Department - will depend in part... on how widely dispersed U.S. troops advising Iraqi security forces are, and how far they are from U.S. diplomatic facilities.” BBC News provides an inside look at what is going on in Islamic State-held territory. “At terrifying risk,” a German journalist spent six days in the Iraqi city of Mosul, where he found that “IS followers [are] highly motivated and supportive of the group’s brutality.” Meanwhile, the Times reports that Iraq continues to struggle to forge a unified national identity. A Palestinian sniper attack on an Israeli military convoy prompted a confrontation today along the Gaza border, further straining the ceasefire negotiated over the summer. The Times reports the story. According to Wired, some experts still disagree as to whether the North Korean government was actually behind the hacks on Sony.  And the Times' David Sanger surveys the many complexities in cyber warfare, explaining that "there are no rules about how to fight this kind of conflict." Japanese officials have begun working to ensure that their basic infrastructure systems could weather a North Korean cyberattack. Reuters informs us that cyber defense experts, diplomats, and policymakers met over the weekend with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to begin work. Meanwhile, Reuters reports that a number of art house theaters have concluded deals with Sony to begin screening the film at the center of the controversy, The Interview. The Washington Post’s Walter Pincus considers the history of "immunity" granted to CIA and Defense Department personnel who conducted post-9/11 interrogations of al-Qaeda and Taliban detainees. He remarks, “Those calling for another federal criminal investigation based on the Senate panel’s report should realize they are not only dealing with an incomplete record but forgetting history.” Also per the Post: the Obama Administration is making a push towards its goal of shuttering Guantanamo, with several transfers of detainees planned for the near future. The Post’s Dana Milbank offers his opinion on the U.S. policy against negotiating with terrorists. Reuters considers the unsustainable nature of Western aid projects in Afghanistan. On Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) launched a public awareness campaign, urging new drone operators to be careful and follow normal safety precautions when using their remote-controlled aircraft. Although the advice offered may seem obvious, “FAA officials have been grappling recently with a hair-raising number of incidents in which rogue drones have nearly collided with commercial airliners and other aircraft. And they’re worried that the growing popularity and affordability of small consumer drones this Christmas could exacerbate the problem.” The Post reports the story. Wired explains why the Digital Millenium Copyright Act - the law governing our use of computers - needs an update. Wired has also compiled a list of the biggest hacks of 2014. According to the Post, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has ruled that North Korea can be forced to pay damages to the family of a Christian missionary, who was kidnapped in 2000 and is presumed dead. The Post reports that President Obama will nominate Sally Yates to serve as Dguaneputy Attorney General. Finally, from the Lawfare family to yours: Happy Holidays!

ICYMI: Yesterday, on Lawfare

Faiza Patel examined the potential loopholes in the Justice Department’s revised Guidance for Federal Law Enforcement Agencies. Paul shared some humor regarding the perils of new technology circa 1910. Paul also informed us of a new lawsuit against Edward Snowden, Laura Poitras, and company. Jack defended the government’s legal and policy confusion regarding North Korea and the Sony hacks. Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.

Tara Hofbauer previously was an intern with Lawfare. She is majoring in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, with a minor in Legal Studies and History.

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