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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By and
Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 11:29 AM

In breaking news, Majid Khan, a high-value Guantanamo Bay detainee, has reached a plea deal with prosecutors that “calls for him to testify at the trials of other detainees in exchange for a much-reduced sentence and eventual freedom,” reports the Washington Post. The New York Times also has the story.

As Ben mentioned, DoD general counsel Jeh Johnson gave a speech at Yale Law School about targeted killing yesterday. Charlie Savage of the Times comments on the speech, as does Carrie Johnson of NPR.

CNN reports that would-be Capitol suicide bomber Amine El Khalifi will remain in jail. That’s a big surprise. He “made a brief appearance in federal court and waived his right to have a preliminary hearing and to contest his detention.”

CNN also informs us that Bradley Manning’s arraignment is scheduled for Thursday. Stay tuned on that.

According to the Times, President Obama has written a letter of apology to President Hamid Karzai for the burning of Korans by NATO troops at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. An Afghan soldier killed two NATO troops as the protests went on for a third day, reports Reuters. Somehow, we’re doubting President Karzai is going to write President Obama a letter of apology about that.

In other Afghanistan news, the AP discusses the status of the U.S.-Afghan partnership agreement, which is “expected to provide for several thousand U.S. troops to stay in the country to train Afghan forces and help with counterterrorism operations. . . . It will outline the legal status of those forces in Afghanistan, their operating rules and where they will be based.” The highly contentious issues of night raids and control over detainees might be saved for separate neg0tiations so the partnership can move forward.

In the 20th–yes, you read it correctly–GOP debate of the campaign, the candidates had a lot to say about national security. CNN’s Security Clearance blog has the most comprehensive overview of their remarks. And if you happen to have a lot of free time, check out the Post‘s excellent liveblogging of the debate.

A host of cybersecurity news today: FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is advocating for companies to voluntarily adopt stronger cybersecurity standards, writes Brendan Sasso at The Hill.

Tom Gjelten at NPR tracks the increasing willingness of U.S. officials to point the finger at China when considering who to blame for cyberattacks.

Not all fingers point to China, however. It looks like officials are expecting Anonymous to acquire the ability to target power stations, writes Steve Henn of NPR–following a Wall Street Journal story. Alexis Madrigal at the Atlantic also reacts to the WSJ story.

Shaun Waterman at the Washington Times shares some details of the new U.S. Cyber Command, housed at the National Security Agency.

And Forbes discusses whether the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 marks the beginning of the War on Cyberterrorism.

The Department of Justice has requested that the Supreme Court reverse a lower-court decision allowing a challenge to the constitutionality of the warrantless wiretapping program, reports David Kravets at Wired. Steve blogged about the DOJ cert. petition here.

Over at Voice of America, Elizabeth Arrott discusses concerns that drones will not be not a cure-all in the fight against Al Qaeda in Yemen.

Just when you thought you were going to get a break from NDAA talk, it looks like the House Armed Services Committee is getting ready to look at the 2013 NDAA budget requests from the Air Force, European and Africa Command, and Pacific Command. See the hearing schedule here.

And just in case you’re not encrypting your highly-classified drones documents but are instead carrying them around in a briefcase in a train station, you’re apparently not alone–as the BBC reports–and you learn something from today’s Moment of Zen.

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  [email protected]  and  [email protected].