Today's Headlines and Commentary

Raffaela Wakeman
Tuesday, January 17, 2012, 3:56 PM
Ben and Ritika are off to watch the Al Nashiri trial in an undisclosed location, even though the official transcripts for these commissions will be treated as "top secret," Josh Gerstein tells us.

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Ben and Ritika are off to watch the Al Nashiri trial in an undisclosed location, even though the official transcripts for these commissions will be treated as "top secret," Josh Gerstein tells us. In any event, all the more reason to stay tuned to this channel for Ben and Ritika's "quasi-live blogging" of the hearings.  For more background, check out NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday report on the trial here. The FAS Project on Government Secrecy Steven Aftergood summarizes a recent this recent CRS report on the detention provisions of the NDAA, by Jennifer Elsea, dated January 11th. Ravi Somaiya at the New York Times reports that the European Court of Human Rights decided today that Abu Qatada, one of Al Qaeda's spiritual leaders in Europe, cannot be deported from Britain to Jordan because his trial would be tainted by evidence obtained through torture.  Bobby has posted highlights, and a link to the opinion, here. After cyber attacks on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and Israeli airline El Al, E.D. Kain at Forbes wonders whether cyberwar looms for Israel. Read New York Times' Isabel Kershner's coverage of the hacks here and Yolande Knell's of BBC News here. Apparently, Russia's Foreign Ministry assailed the U.S. on Sunday over its " flagrant violation of international law." Read their (translated) 81-page report here. Let's all say it together: pot calling the kettle black. Tom Hussain of McClatchy writes on the resumption of drone strikes in Pakistan last week, and the AP reported over the weekend that the leader of the Pakistani Taliban may have been killed by a drone strike. Meanwhile, the Economist's Babbage blog discusses the FAA's impending regulations on the use of drones in U.S. public airspace. Thai police seized chemical stashes believed to be shipped out of the country for a terrorist attack. Atris Hussein, a Lebanese national and purported member of Hezbollah, was arrested at Bangkok's airport Thursday. Read the Times coverage here. Kate Martin in the Huffington Post reiterates that the NDAA does not change existing law, despite news reports to the contrary:
The plain fact is that the new legislation changes nothing: the only military detention authority that the Obama administration has, or claims to have, is that conferred under the law of war by the 2001 AUMF and that authority simply doesn't exist for persons picked up inside the United States.
Gary Schmitt at the Weekly Standard has this post mortem on the Mehanna trial. Schmitt says:
The more problematic element of the case, however—and what makes it of interest from the point of view of constitutional law—was whether his advocacy activities constituted punishable “material support” to a terrorist organization (weapons, money, training, or expert assistance, for example) or whether they were speech protected by the First Amendment.
National Defense Magazine's Dan Parsons reports that mandatory defense spending cuts may come down to a battle (figuratively speaking, that is) between the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and UAVs. The Long War Journal's Bill Roggio tells us that the UNSC has added two senior Haqqani Network leaders to its list of Taliban associates. The Washington Post reported over the weekend on a successful FOIA lawsuit to obtain documents from the DHS on how to capture public reaction to events and reports that "reflect adversely" on the U.S. government. A contract awarded to General Dynamics aims to provide traditional and social media monitoring support to the National Operations Center. Read Charlie Savage's coverage here. Leeann Shelton of the Chicago Sun Times covered a forum at Loyola University's Corboy Law Center on the 10th anniversary of Guantanamo's opening. Read Carol Rosenberg's piece on Rear. Adm. David B. Woods order mandating review of attorney-client mail at Guantanamo. Spencer Ackerman at Wired's Danger Room blog discusses how the status of Guantanamo may affect peace negotiations in Afghanistan. The Guardian over the weekend covered the ongoing efforts by the UK to free Shaker Aamer, a Guantanamo detainee. And Carol Rosenberg wrote over the weekend on National Court of Spain Judge Pablo Rafael Ruz Gutierrez's 19-page decision in which he indicated he would seek additional information in a case before him in which former detainees alleged they were subjected to torture during their time there. Read CCR's overview of the case here. Dwight Garner of the Times reviews Wanted Women: Faith, Lies & the War on Terror: The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali & Aafia Siddiqui, and NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday's Rachel Martin interviewed Alex Gilvarry about his book, From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant. Facebookers, beware: a computer worm is spreading on social networks, while those believed to be responsible for its proliferation are "hiding out" in St. Petersburg. The four Marines caught urinating on Afghan corpses have been questioned, reported Craig Whitlock at the Post last week, and a criminal investigation is in its early stages. Tim Mak at the Politico details an email sent by Rep. Allan West (R-FL) to the Weekly Standard about the incident (as opposed to the last time an email by Allan West went public, this time it appears someone in his PR department reviewed it first). 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, today's LWOT, and the Fordham Law Center on National Security's Morning Brief.  Feel free to email us noteworthy articles we may have missed at and

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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