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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, October 31, 2011 at 3:59 PM

A whole unruly mess of weekend news to catch up on today.

A deadly attack in Kabul, pulled off by the Haqqani network, killed at least 12 Americans this weekend, according to Joshua Partlow and Greg Jaffe at the Washington Post. The Times and the Los Angeles Times also have the story.

In other news, the Times says that the Obama administration, having just accused Pakistan’s spy agency of secretly aiding the Haqqani network, is now relying on it “to help organize and kick-start reconciliation talks aimed at ending the war in Afghanistan.” That inspires confidence.

Josh Kron of the Times reports that one of the suicide bombers that attacked an African Union peacekeeping base was American–the third to have become a suicide bomber for al-Shabab. And we all know that three bombers make a trend.

Wil S. Hylton has a lengthy feature in Sunday’s Times magazine about how unprepared the United States remains for a bioterrorist attack. The article begins with (I’m not making this up) an Air Force colonel smuggling a substance genetically similar to anthrax into a White House meeting with Dick Cheney a few days after 9/11.

In the jockeying leading up to the London Conference on Cyberspace that starts tomorrow,  a top British government advisor told BBC Radio that China and Russia are “some of” the biggest international cyber attackers, according to Agence France Presse.  The BBC reports that the United Kingdom has experienced a large number of significant cyber attacks on government, defense, technology, and engineering computers in recent months.  Meanwhile, the Miami Herald reports that Iran has created a special unit to defend itself against cyberattacks, and is accusing the United States of reaching out to Iranians through the internet to incite revolutions in the country.

Wired Danger Room has an article about the Pentagon’s failure at making national security predicitions, based on a new report by Dr. Richard Danzig, former Navy Secretary and current chair of the Center For a New American Security.

Jenifer Fenton of CNN’s web site interviewed an ex-Guantanamo guard, who describes detainee abuse and mistreatment; she also talked to several former prisoners, who discuss their interrogations at the prison.

The Post informs us that American officials “ignored credible warnings of detainee abuse” at Afghan prisons and “even as other countries stopped handing over detainees to problematic facilities, the U.S. government did not.”

According to AFP, AQAP is denying that its media chief was killed in the drone strike that killed Anwar al-Awlaki’s son earlier this month. 

The Associated Press covers China’s revised legal definition of terrorism and the steps for formally declaring groups and individuals terrorists. The new law defines terrorists as those whose “goal is to create terror in society, harm public security or threaten national institutions and international organizations and by using violence, sabotage, intimidation and other methods to cause or intend to cause human casualties, great loss to property, harm to public infrastructure, chaos to the social order and other severe social damage.”

The Post has an editorial today arguing against some of the proposals in the NDAA, and advocating for President Obama’s approach to create a multiagency panel to conduct reviews of current and future detainees. It also argues for updating the AUMF–making its position on the NDAA rather similar to what Ben and Bobby have argued on Lawfare. Andrew Cohen at the Atlantic further describes the controversy over the proposed bill, declaring  that “a bad law would be far worse than no law at all.”

The AP informs us that Iran has formally complained to the United States over accusations that the Iranian government was involved in a plot to kill Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States.

The Washington Times covers the upcoming the pre-trial hearing against Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of leaking thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks.

After all that, here–from the Dear Leader, Kim Jong Il–is your moment of Zen.

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. Feel free to email me noteworthy articles I may have missed at [email protected].

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