Today's Headlines and Commentary

Raffaela Wakeman
Monday, June 20, 2011, 11:31 AM
The New York Times today surveys the current and prospective uses of drones in warfare. Plans are in the works for the House to vote on limiting funding for U.S.

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The New York Times today surveys the current and prospective uses of drones in warfare. Plans are in the works for the House to vote on limiting funding for U.S. military efforts in Libya. The Washington Post editorialized over the weekend on the Obama administration's interpretation of its involvement in Libya and the War Powers Resolution:
Problem is, the War Powers Act does not define “hostilities” as requiring boots on the ground or exchanges with hostile forces. The act, in fact, does not define hostilities, leaving a vacuum that Mr. Obama and his predecessors have exploited in self-serving ways. We believe that an honest appraisal of the activities that the United States continues to engage in would put the administration squarely within the purview of the War Powers Resolution. By the administration’s own account, these include airstrikes aimed at “suppress[ing] enemy air defense,” “occasional strikes by unmanned Predator” drones, and intelligence and logistical support that aid other NATO members in carrying out their strikes. We supported Mr. Obama’s decision to join NATO allies in the U.N.- sanctioned effort to keep Libyan strongman Gaddafi from slaughtering his people. The president is right to sustain the effort until a regime less dangerous to its own people is installed, and he would be wise to heed U.S. allies and join in the effort more robustly. But it strikes us as fatuous to argue that the United States is not engaged in hostilities, given that the NATO bombing campaign could not be taking place without active U.S. support.
Roll Call weighs into the controversy with this political cartoon. Saturday's New York Times editorial examines the rules governing FBI investigations since 9/11, complaining that the Justice Department under the Obama administration is going further to relax rules for investigations than did the Bush administration:
Everyone wants to keep America safe. But under President Bush and now under President Obama, these changes have occurred without any real discussion about whether the supposed added security is worth the harm to civil liberties. The White House cares so little about providing meaningful oversight that Mr. Obama has yet to nominate a successor for Glenn Fine, the diligent Justice Department inspector general who left in January.
The New York Times' Sunday editorial discusses the Secure Communities data-sharing program, highlighting the concern among localities in several states that local and state police may be forced to the front lines of immigration enforcement. As Mitch McConnell continues to advocate for the relocation of two terrorist suspects in Kentucky to Guantanamo, local media are now covering the story. The Miami Herald reports that the Senate Armed Services Committee approved a preliminary bill that would codify procedures for handling terrorist suspects. It would also ban building facilities to house Guantanamo detainees in the United States. Politico also has the story, on which Ben commented here. Peter Bergen mulls over the direction in which Zawahiri will take al Qaeda. For more news and analysis links, see Today's Terrorism News over at the CenterLine.

Raffaela Wakeman is a Senior Director at In-Q-Tel. She started her career at the Brookings Institution, where she spent five years conducting research on national security, election reform, and Congress. During this time she was also the Associate Editor of Lawfare. From there, Raffaela practiced law at the U.S. Department of Defense for four years, advising her clients on privacy and surveillance law, cybersecurity, and foreign liaison relationships. She departed DoD in 2019 to join the Majority Staff of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where she oversaw the Intelligence Community’s science and technology portfolios, cybersecurity, and surveillance activities. She left HPSCI in May 2021 to join IQT. Raffaela received her BS and MS in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2009 and her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 2015, where she was recognized for her commitment to public service with the Joyce Chiang Memorial Award. While at the Department of Defense, she was the inaugural recipient of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s General Counsel Award for exhibiting the highest standards of leadership, professional conduct, and integrity.

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