Today's Headlines and Commentary

Ritika Singh
Saturday, January 14, 2012, 12:56 AM
The birthday celebration just never ends: Karen Greenberg of Fordham University's Center on National Security has this opinion piece in the Washington Post about what the world would be like without Guantanamo.

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The birthday celebration just never ends: Karen Greenberg of Fordham University's Center on National Security has this opinion piece in the Washington Post about what the world would be like without Guantanamo. Vanity Fair has put together an oral history of the prison--a long read, but well worth it. On a non-birthday note, the AP  reports that "[t]he chief defense counsel for the Guantánamo Bay war crimes tribunals said Wednesday that he has instructed attorneys not to follow a new rule subjecting legal mail to a security review, escalating a dispute with the prison’s commander." The New York Times reports that a Manhattan federal judge has ordered the FBI to recover special agent Jennifer Dent's emails. Dent was a member of the "dirty team" that interrogated terrorist suspect Mohamed Ibrahim Ahmed without Mirandizing him. The Associated Press also has the story. The BBC informs us that Thai police have arrested a Lebanese man with links to Hezbollah after the "US embassy in Bangkok issued a warning on Friday that Americans should 'exercise caution when visiting public areas where large groups of Western tourists gather'." The Post discusses the Electronic Frontier Foundation's FOIA lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration concerning its authorizations for domestic drone operations. No, the FAA is not flying armed Predators over Cleveland. It does, however, regulate the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in the United States and has authorized federal and state government agencies to fly hundreds of drones for a variety of purposes. In other news sure to induce convulsions among civil libertarians, the Daily Beast reports that "[l]ocal police are using scanners attached to squad vehicles to photograph license plates, creating a private database capable of tracking motorists." One step forward, two steps backward: The Times gives us an update on U.S.-Taliban talks--describing them thus: "potentially as historic and as politically wrenching as the Paris peace talks that ended the Vietnam War." The Wall Street Journal tells us, meanwhile, that "[t]he Taliban ruled out recognizing the Afghan Constitution and the 'stooge Kabul administration' of President Hamid Karzai, even as they open negotiations with the U.S." From the Department of News From the Land We Left comes this story courtesy of the Post about U.S. embassy workers being detained by Iraqi security forces over “discrepancies in permits and paperwork.” Joshua Dratel, a criminal defense attorney in NYC, argues in Guernica that "the NDAA will substantially reduce, if not eliminate altogether, international cooperation with respect to counter-terrorism." The Post reports that a Carnegie Mellon University study showed that a Pentagon program that "uses classified National Security Agency data to protect the computer networks of defense contractors" has yielded mixed results:
The program showed that Internet carriers could be trusted to handle the NSA data, that direct government monitoring of private networks could be avoided and that the measures could be of particular benefit to companies with less mature cyber defense capabilities, according to the Carnegie Mellon University study.
Although researchers said the pilot had demonstrated the concept of information sharing, they also cited deficiencies in the way it was implemented. The test program, which began last May, relied on NSA “signatures” or fingerprints of malicious computer code that in initial stages were “stale when deployed” and in many cases did not prevent intrusions that the companies could not have blocked themselves, according to the report, which was not publicly released by the Pentagon but was shared with Congress this week.
In another demonstration of Pakistan's love-hate relationship with the West, Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani called British High Commissioner Adam Thomson, asking for support in case the Pakistani army staged a coup, says the AP. The news comes days after Pakistani Defense Secretary was fired and after the U.S. resumed drone strikes in the country. And lest you have any lingering doubts about how Iran downed our drone, today's Moment of Zen will surely answer them. For more interesting law and security-related articles, follow us on Twitter, and visit the Georgetown Center on National Security and the Law’s Security Law Brief as well as the Fordham Law Center on National Security’s Morning Brief. Feel free to email us noteworthy articles we may have missed at and

Ritika Singh was a project coordinator at the Brookings Institution where she focused on national security law and policy. She graduated with majors in International Affairs and Government from Skidmore College in 2011, and wrote her thesis on Russia’s energy agenda in Europe and its strategic implications for America.

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