Today's Headlines and Commentary

Jane Chong
Monday, December 9, 2013, 10:32 AM
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was in Afghanistan on Saturday to press for a security deal but "consciously chose not to see President Hamid Karzai," says the New York Times, as tensions increase over the country's refusal to sign a security pact with the United States.

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U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was in Afghanistan on Saturday to press for a security deal but "consciously chose not to see President Hamid Karzai," says the New York Times, as tensions increase over the country's refusal to sign a security pact with the United States. John Paul Schnapper-Casteras and Lawrence Korb have a piece in Politico urging Washington to call Afghan President Hamid Karzai's bluff and prepare for a full withdrawal of U.S. troops.
Such an outcome would make one man very happy. Signing a friendship pact with Karzai on Sunday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that his country wants all foreign forces to leave the region. See Pajhwok Afghan News for more on Karzai's visit with Rouhani.
Hagel also spoke to Gulf leaders this weekend at an annual international security forum known as the Manama Dialogue. The Associated Press writes:
The most concrete proposal Hagel outlined is the Pentagon's plan to allow military sales to the Gulf Cooperation Council, so the six-member nations can have more coordinated radars, sensors and early warning missile defense systems. While the U.S. can sell to the individual nations, Hagel is arguing that selling the systems to the GCC will ensure that the countries will be able to communicate and coordinate better.
At least 45 people are dead after a series of Sunday attacks in largely Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad, reports the New York Times.
Israeli soldiers shot a 15-year-old Palestinian boy in the West Bank on Saturday, reports the AP.
Lenin no longer stands tall in central Kiev. Ukrainian protesters pulled down the monument to the Bolshevik leader using ropes and sledgehammers this weekend as part of a demonstration against President Viktor Yanukovich's decision to lean away from Europe and in towards Russia. Check out the story from the Guardian and the video from the Huffington Post.
The struggle over East China Sea airspace continues. Yesterday South Korea announced the expansion of its air defense identification zone to overlap with similar zones established by Japan and China. Here is Chico Harlan of the Post. Meanwhile, China is refusing to participate in a UN arbitration process over its territorial conflict with the Philippines. The Guardian reports.
Thanks to the "heroic" efforts of the Swedish embassy, on Saturday 85-year-old American and Korean War veteran Merrill Newman touched down in San Francisco after being held captive for over a month in North Korea. Here is the New York Times. Newman supposedly issued an apology to the DPRK for crimes against the government and Korean people, the text of which has been published by the state-controlled media and the New York Times---and disclaimed by Newman, according to the AP. Food for thought: the vet says he was held in a comfortable hotel room, not a cell.
The AP reported this weekend that Theodore H. Moran, an adviser to the U.S. Director of Intelligence, has resigned following revelations that he worked since 2010 as a paid consultant for the Chinese technology company Huawei. Politico also has details.
Eight American tech giants, including Google and Facebook, have written to President Obama to demand surveillance law revamping. Check out today's stories from the New York Times and the Guardian. But Abraham Newman of Foreign Affairs highlights the gap between mouth and money in this piece questioning the sincerity of Silicon Valley's pledge to bolster privacy protections in the wake of revelations that NSA routinely accesses user data from their servers.
Such protections run counter to the business model and public policy agenda that tech companies have pursued for decades. For years, U.S. information technology (IT) firms have actively backed weak privacy rules that let them collect massive amounts of personal data. The strategy enabled the companies to work their way into every corner of consumers’ lives and gave them a competitive edge internationally.
The lack of presidential support after the most recent Snowden revelations is killing morale over at NSA, reports Ellen Nakashima of the Washington Post. Meanwhile, over at the New Yorker, Ryan Lizza suggests the President isn't doing enough to rein in NSA and catalogs growing divisions among lawmakers on intelligence policy.
Surveillance is but one of the many subjects within the portfolio of Acting Assistant Attorney General John Carlin, of the Justice Department's National Security Division.  He has been nominated to fill the post by the White House.  The nomination was apparently controversial; the Attorney General initially objected to Carlin's appointment.  That's the scoop from Shane Harris at Foreign Policy.  
Technology in general:
Sen. Rand Paul, for one, is not against it. Technology, that is. Infamous for his 13-hour-anti-drone-filibuster on the Senate floor earlier this year, Paul is A-OK with Amazon's plan to deliver goods by drone, he announced yesterday on Fox News Sunday.
How to order a book from Amazon when the site doesn't recognize your country in its drop-down menu? Philip Boyes of Foreign Policy explains how young Kosovars are using digital diplomacy to achieve online recognition as an independent state.
On Friday, Aviation Week revealed the existence of the Northrop Grumman RQ-180, a stealth drone based out of Area 51. FP reports.
Would the U.S. government be violating Americans' First Amendment right to receive information if it hacked and shut down Al-Qaeda's online magazine ? Negative, says Sam Kleiner, in a recent post for the Yale Journal of Law and Technology.
The biggest security stories of 2013? Vitaly Kamluk of Kaspersky Lab starts off our holiday list-binge with the year's worst in malware, cyberespionage and zero-days, and an explanation of what they might mean for future threats.
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. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.

Jane Chong is former deputy managing editor of Lawfare. She served as a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and is a graduate of Yale Law School and Duke University.

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