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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 3:22 PM

Rep. Peter King is at it again–he’s chairing an investigative hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee today to assess the terror threat to the U.S. homeland posed by Iran and its links to Hezbollah. Here are the videos and transcripts of the opening statements, and here are King’s prepared remarks. The Politico reports.

David Ignatius of the Washington Post has an interesting piece about Al Qaeda’s media strategy. No, Bin Laden didn’t hire Hill & Knowlton. Turns out, though, that he got a letter from his media advisor, American citizen Adam Gadahn, shortly before his death “about the timing of video appearances after the 2010 U.S. midterm elections, [the] use of high-definition video, and snarky evaluations of major American networks.” Apparently Gadahn didn’t like it when Keith Olbermann got fired either.

George Packer writes in the New Yorker about public response to the heinous actions of Staff. Sgt. Robert Bales, the U.S. soldier who allegedly killed 16 Afghan civilians. McClatchy Newspapers says that the challenges military prosecutors face as they prepare to charge Bales “are certain to make the high-profile case anything but straightforward.”

In Afghanistan news, Michael O’Hanlon and Bruce Riedel of the Brookings Instutution describe the mission not as a failure but as “incomplete.” The Associated Press, meanwhile, reports that Gen. John Allen told the House Armed Services Committee yesterday that “There is no part of our strategy that intends to stay in Afghanistan forever.” Read his testimony here. And–surprise, surprise!–the AP also informs us that Afghanistan’s intelligence agency denies claims of torture at Afghan prisons outlined in the recently-released report by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and the Open Society Foundations.

The AP also reports that a gentleman by the name of Atris Hussein who led Thai police to a huge cache of bombmaking materials in January has pled not guilty to “charges of illegally possessing explosive materials.”

National Public Radio tells us that the FBI is “still struggling” with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Jones. “Before the Supreme Court ruling in late January, the FBI had about 3,000 GPS tracking devices in the field. . .but after the ruling. . . agents. . . had to turn off 250 devices that they couldn’t turn back on.”

The AP describes the relationship between the NYPD and the FBI, highlighting “how the dysfunctional partnership jeopardizes cases and sometimes national security.”

An ex-FBI informant “sent on a secret mission to infiltrate southern Californian mosques” tells the Guardian his story.

And for those of you who thought that nobody would dare make light of what Staff Sgt. Robert Bales allegedly did in Afghanistan, consider the Army’s new policy towards PTSD from America’s Finest News Source–today’s Moment of Zen.

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