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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Let’s start with the cybersecurity legislative news: As we mentioned yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has introduced the Senate’s cybersecurity bill, S. 2105. Read Paul Rosenzweig’s analysis of the provisions of the bill dealing with information sharing. There’s also a slew of coverage at The Hill on the release of the bill, GOP calls for delay already, the decision to drop an emergency powers provision, and Senator Dianne Feinstein’s supplemental bill to protect companies from liability when they share information with the government on cyberthreats. The New York Times’ Somini Sengupta also reports on the bill’s release.

Wired’s Threat Level blog has this opinion piece by Jerry Brito and Tate Watkins arguing that lawmakers’ concern about threats to cyber infrastructure are overhyped. On the other hand, John Markoff writes in the Times that a flaw has been discovered in encryption systems used widely in online transactions. Yikes.

And meanwhile, the AP’s Raphael Satter tells us that the website of Combined Systems, Inc., an American weapons company, has been hacked by Anonymous. Nicole Perlroth at the New York Times reports on the hack as well. Perlroth also tries to figure out how much information the hackers stole.

In non-cyber news, here’s a refreshing beef with the NDAA that has nothing to do with its dentention provisions (set yourself straight on that here): Greg McNeal writes in Forbes about the new law’s implications for defense contractors should they fail to screen their equipment for counterfeit parts. The NDAA requires the Pentagon to create regulations assigning responsibility to defense contractors to detect, and assume the costs associated with their use of, counterfeit parts. On the topic of defense contractors, Mark Thompson over at Time’s Battleland blog argues that Counterinsurgency (COIN) is “just another jobs program for Pentagon contractors.”

Andrew Rosenthal at the New York Times responds to an article in the Times earlier this week about calls from among DOD leadership for increased autonomy for Special Ops Teams.

I was looking forward to Judge James Pohl saying “yes!” to the defense motion in Al Nashiri to subpoena Yemen’s president Ali Abdullah Saleh, as presidential testimony is always such fun. But Carol Rosenberg at the Miami Herald bursts my bubble.

The news that another Guantanamo detainee, Majid Shoukat Khan, has been formally charged in the U.S. Military Commission, which Ben noted yesterday, has reached the major media outlets: Carol Rosenberg at the Miami Herald writes, as does Peter Finn at the Post, and Bloomberg’s Viola Gienger covers the story as well.

It appears that Rear Admiral David Woods’ time as Commander at Guantanamo will be coming to an end. Josh Gerstein reports. His tenure as Commander at Guantanamo may be the shortest yet.

It looks like our northern neighbor will be joining the ranks of those acquiring armed drones, as John Ivison at the National Post tells us that Canada’s Department of National Defence is finalizing a contract to purchase six MQ-9 Reapers. Speaking of “killer drones,” Werner Dahm, the former chief scientist of the U.S. Air Force, argues in this Wall Street Journal (caution: paywall) op-ed that there isn’t a strategic need to remove humans from the targeting process. And Todd Brewster who heads up the National Constitution Center’s Peter Jennings Project writes this Huffington Post op-ed on the use of drones in warfare, arguing that drones will not alone win wars. 

The prolific Josh Gerstein also updates us on the Jeffrey Sterling case: James Risen’s lawyers are asking that federal prosecutors be restricted in their questioning of the New York Times reporter in their case against former CIA officer Sterling.

For more interesting law and security-related articles, follow us on Twitter, visit the Georgetown Center on National Security and the Law’s Security Law Brief, Fordham Law’s Center on National Security’s Morning Brief, and Fordham Law’s new Cyber Brief. Email us noteworthy articles we may have missed at  wakeman.lawfare@gmai[email protected]  and  [email protected].

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