Today's Headlines and Commentary

Raffaela Wakeman
Monday, March 4, 2013, 12:09 PM
Over the weekend some media reported that AQIM bad guy Mohktar Belmokhtar had been killed in northern Mali.  But military leaders won’t confirm the terrorist's death, according to Adam Nossiter of the New York Times.  Apropos, the Belfast Telegraph reports that the Britain Foreign Secretary, William Hague

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Over the weekend some media reported that AQIM bad guy Mohktar Belmokhtar had been killed in northern Mali.  But military leaders won’t confirm the terrorist's death, according to Adam Nossiter of the New York Times.  Apropos, the Belfast Telegraph reports that the Britain Foreign Secretary, William Hague, also is in Mali for talks with military and political leaders there.  Meanwhile, the U.S. is ramping up its support of the French/African military efforts against Islamists in Mali, per this Wall Street Journal piece.  And the U.N. Security Council is beginning to consider removing the two decade old arms embargo imposed on Somalia.  The effort is meant to help defeat Islamist fighters in Africa, says Reuters. It’s not just that it feels like more people are reporting cyber attacks.  There actually has been an increase in such attacks---or, at least, more companies reporting them.  Nineteen financial institutions disclosed cyber attacks to their investors, says Ellen Nakashima of the Washington Post. And over at the Times, Nicole Perlroth, David Sanger and Michael Schmidt note the uptick and discuss U.S. responses to attacks coming from China. Meanwhile, Xinhua has this piece by Communication University of China professor Xu Peixi about the “second wave” of cybersecurity threats to China, namely, the Mandiant report.  Lawfare readers might be interested in the author’s conclusion:
Motivated by U.S. attempts to weaponize Internet, nations such as the U.K., South Korea, Germany and Iran followed suit to increase cyber war capabilities. The more energy the U.S. wastes on accusing and attacking others, the more the world community feels threatened by the U.S. monopoly on Internet governance. The more other nations challenge the U.S. in forums such as ITU, the more U.S. state authorities and businesses find it necessary to create a scapegoat. U.S. concerns ranging from creating jobs in the Pentagon to bringing jobs home through trade wars will only hurt global economic growth. It is not the way the world works. It is much ado about nothing.
At the tech-focused RSA conference last week in San Francisco, organizers recognized the two leaders of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence---Chairman Mike Rogers and Ranking Member Dutch Ruppersberger---for their “commitment to protecting American jobs and innovation from cyber threats worldwide.” Here’s the press release from the Committee. And Chairman Rogers says that negotiations with the White House for a new bill are ongoing and that the two sides are not “that far apart” on terms, according to this Reuters story.  On that point, a markup is scheduled for April, reports The Hill. Meanwhile, Dave Fymerier, the Chief Information Security Officer for Unisys, writes over in Wired on the need for authority beyond that delineated in the executive order:
First of all, some organization needs to be put in charge, to be at the center of this problem so that reasonable choices can be made about how to respond. Many assume this function would default to the Department of Homeland Security, but a private organization modeled something like the Electric Power Research Institute, or the government-run Centers for Disease Control – could work as well. We just need to pick whatever model we want and get on with it.  Second, we need to enable the core internet service providers to be able to act on the data that’s literally sitting right in front of them, even if all “act” ends up meaning is handing it off to another entity. These companies see the flows of data between the botnets and their command and control servers, but it is unclear what they can legally do with that data, especially packets/data flows that don’t start or end on their own networks.
Another national security area likely to be affected by the S-word: cybersecurity. Nicole Blake Johnson of the Federal Times says:
some agencies may be unable to afford robust software tools that can monitor critical networks for intrusions and mitigate intrusions when they occur. Likewise, some agencies may not be able to afford software that can automatically generate required reports on their security status that otherwise are done manually at much greater cost. For some civilian agencies, tighter budgets will mean spending less on lower-priority cyber measures, such as rooting out counterfeit technology that can make systems more vulnerable.
Over at the Financial Times, Raymond Barnett reports on the details of his exclusive interview with the CEO of Ralls Corp on the new approach that Chinese firms will take when seeking CFIUS approval for acquisitions of U.S. companies: distance the acquirer from the assets in question, by not taking a seat on the board or playing a role in board decision making. Former State Department advisor, current Brookings Senior Fellow and fellow MIT Political Science alum (go Tech!) Vali Nasr has a forthcoming book.  It sharply criticizes the Obama administration’s foreign policy, particularly with respect to Afghanistan and Pakistan. An excerpt has been published by Foreign Policy, and Michael Gordon of the Times describes Nasr's book, too. Two Afghan boys were killed accidentally by weapons fired from a NATO helicopter over the weekend; NATO forces said they meant to attack insurgent forces.  Newly-minted NATO Commander General Joseph Dunford issued an apology and NATO took full responsibility for their deaths. Here’s Rod Nordland of the Times. While SecState chastises Iran and Russia for shipping arms to the Syrian government (as Michael Gordon reports in the Times),  Saudi Arabia has said that it “will do everything in its capacity” to support the rebels there (as Ann Gearan reports in the Post). Over the weekend, the Times featured this op-ed (h/t Ritika) by Fabian Bosoer and Federico Finchelstein.  They take issue with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s decision to set up a joint “truth commission" with the Iranian government.   This body would investigate an apparently Iranian-backed Hezbollah bombing, in 1994, of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. Here are the authors, explaining their beef:
The problem is that any recommendations by the commission would be nonbinding; moreover, some of the suspects in the attack are now high-ranking Iranian officials — including the sitting defense minister, Gen. Ahmad Vahidi — and therefore untouchable. Indeed, Iran has repeatedly refused to cooperate with Argentine investigators and ignored international warrants for the arrest of senior Iranian officials believed to have taken part in planning the bombing.
What is this, humans supporting the use of robots in domestic airspace? In Government Technology, Colin Wood argues for the technology's use during emergency response scenarios.  And over at CNET, this report says the Department of Homeland Security has built surveillance technology into its Predator drones, which it uses along our borders. The outfitted drones will be able to identify a”a human being at night as likely armed or not.” But hey, says Chris Francescani, several dozen law enforcement agencies fly drones already. Over at Chinese news agency Xinhua, we learn the details of an email sent by the conservative “American Political Action Committee,” calling on recipients to oppose against UAV flights in domestic airspace. Efforts to dub “drones” as "unmanned aerial vehicles" or "remotely-piloted aircraft" have failed, says Greg McNeal over at Forbes.  Even the technology's leading advocacy organization has accepted the term's currency;  I suppose I will do the same going forward. For more interesting law and security-related articles, follow us on Twitter and check out the Lawfare News Feed, visit the Georgetown Center on National Security and the Law’s Security Law Brief, Syracuse’s Institute for National Security & Counterterrorism’s newsroll, and Fordham Law’s Center on National Security’s Morning Brief and Cyber Brief. Email Raffaela Wakeman and Ritika Singh noteworthy articles to include, visit the Lawfare Events Calendar for upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings at the Lawfare Job Board.

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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