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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, March 5, 2012 at 12:44 PM

In breaking news, Attorney General Eric Holder will finally provide “the Obama administration’s legal rationale for targeting U.S. citizens abroad” in a major speech at Northwestern Law School, reports the Washington Post.  Josh Gerstien of the Politico also weighs in on the developing story. We will have more on Lawfare as soon as the speech concludes this afternoon.

Lots of Guantanamo Bay news to start off your week. The AP informs us that–surprise!–military commissions “have resulted in lower sentences than those routinely handed out in U.S. civilian courts for similar offenses.” Ben is quoted in the piece. Meanwhile, according to the Miami Herald, some members of Congress don’t think detainees at the facility deserve a new $744,000 soccer field. And the Herald reports as well that Navy Rear Adm. John W. Smith Jr. has been chosen to take over as the next commander of Guantanamo Bay.

The Post editorial board argues that Majid Khan’s plea deal was “fair but appropriately tough.” Money quote:

For too long, military proceedings at Guantanamo were tragically flawed, unfair both to defendants and to the victims of terrorism. Congress addressed these shortcomings in 2009 by vastly improving military commissions, in large part by shoring up legal protections for defendants. This legitimacy rightly helped to ward off legal challenges to the system and paved the way for last week’s progress.

The NYPD’s surveillance of Muslims in colleges all over the northeast and in New Jersey has generated a storm of news. The AP reports that “New Jersey’s attorney general told Muslim leaders Saturday that he was still looking into the extent of New York Police Department surveillance operations in the state.”

In related news, Arsa Q. Nomani, daughter of one of the founding members of the Muslim Student Association at Rutgers University declares in The Daily Beast “just as we need to track the Colombian community for drug trafficking and the Ku Klux Klan for white extremists, I believe we should monitor the Muslim community because we sure don’t police ourselves enough.” Meanwhile, Juliette Kayyem, columnist at the Boston Globe, argues that “New Jersey…is not Pakistan,” and that “the failure of New York police to share information with officers [in New Jersey] on the surveillance of Muslims in that state is puzzling.”

Here’s something you probably didn’t know about the Osama bin Laden mission: “A leading coalition of American humanitarian aid groups has written to the CIA chief to protest the agency’s use of a Pakistani doctor to help track Osama bin Laden, linking the ploy to a worsening polio crisis in Pakistan,” says the Kansas City Star.

The Washington Times says that Al Qaeda is “trying to make a comeback in post-U.S.-occupied Iraq.”

CNN’s Security Clearance blog reports that Buck McKeon, Chairman of the House Armed Services committee “introduced a new bill that calls for U.S. military to guard U.S. entities, replacing the thousands of private security guards and Afghan nationals that are currently being used.”

And from Slate comes this love song to quadrotor drones, which are “amazing and cute and will probably destroy us all”; complete with some mind-boggling videos, it’s today’s Moment of Very Interesting 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].

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