The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Kiobel yesterday, and here is SCOTUSblog’s roundup of coverage:
In Kiobel, the Justices considered whether corporations can be sued under the Alien Tort Statute for human rights abuses committed abroad. Coverage of the arguments comes from Lyle Denniston of this blog, Greg Stohr of Bloomberg, Nina Totenberg of NPR, Adam Liptak of The New York Times, Robert Barnes of The Washington Post, Mark Sherman of the Associated Press, Jonathan Stempel of Reuters, Ariane de Vogue of ABC News, Lawrence Hurley at E&E Greenwire, David G. Savage of the Los Angeles Times, UPI, Kenneth Anderson of the Volokh Conspiracy, Michael Bobelian at Forbes, and Warren Richey of The Christian Science Monitor. In an op-ed for The Christian Science Monitor, Jodie A. Kirshner argues that the Court “should not use Monday’s argument as an opportunity to start lagging behind the rest of the world” in providing a hospitable forum for redress.
Here’s Ernesto Londono in the Washington Post on the insider attack over the weekend that killed two American soldiers. The death count for the suicide bombing in Khost on Monday stands at 19, including 16 Afghan police officers and civilians and three NATO service members. Meanwhile, it seems that the U.S. is giving up on brokering a peace deal in Afghanistan, opting to let, according to Matthew Rosenberg and Rod Nordland of the New York Times, “Afghans . . . out a deal among themselves.”
And even though the NATO and Afghan forces resumed joint efforts last week, it seems that they are still not quite sure how deep the Taliban infiltration of the Afghan security forces runs, writes Carlo Munoz of The Hill.
Given all the news about Al Qaeda goings-on in North Africa, you’ve gotta wonder: What is the U.S. doing about it? Quite a lot, as it turns out, including clandestine intelligence missions and trips by Africom’s commander all over the region. Greg Miller and Craig Whitlock in the Washington Post reveal that John Brennan has been leading the White House’s increased efforts to examine the threat that Al Qaeda is posing in North Africa.
The U.S. has withdrawn all of its official government personnel from Benghazi and closed the post where the attack there took place. Here’s Anne Gearan and Michael Birnbaum of the Washington Post. But the FBI investigation unit is still waiting to get moving, and it seems that the U.S. is considering having a Marine counterterrorism unit (“Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team”) there to protect them.
Michael Hayden, former CIA Director and current advisor to the Romney campaign, has this op-ed in the Washington Post. His piece discusses the decision by ODNI to release details about intelligence reports related to the attacks in Benghazi, and previous instances of intelligence directors entering the political debate. He writes:
Last week’s statement from ODNI was public and—whatever its intent—seemed well suited to give the administration cover for its early claims that the Benghazi attacks were spontaneous and almost random, the product of rage over an Internet video rather than a targeted and purposeful attack by a potentially resurgent al-Qaeda.
The ODNI release noted that “as we learned more about the attack, we revised our initial assessment.” When? After attacks, there are usually competing hypotheses about what happened. When did the case for “deliberate and organized” begin to challenge and overtake “spontaneous”?
What were the relative strengths of the arguments when U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on Sunday talk shows, labeling the events as spontaneous and not premeditated, to be followed 72 hours later by the director of the National Counterterrorism Center unequivocally labeling them terrorist attacks?
These are not unfair questions. As they are answered, it will be essential for intelligence officials—even after having publicly entered this fray—to keep in mind the “door” through which they still enter this process.
Alan Cowell gives us the latest in Abu Hamza al-Masri’s efforts to defeat extradition orders that even the European Court of Human Rights more or less affirmed last week.
The White House confirmed yesterday that it thwarted a cyberattack.
Yesterday General Keith Alexander, who heads up U.S. Cyber Command (and the NSA) spoke at the Wilson Center about “cyber gridlock.” Here’s Jennifer Martinez of The Hill‘s story, and here’s the video of his remarks:
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is slated to hear oral arguments over the ability of police to obtain cell phone location data without a warrant. Here’s Brendan Sasso of The Hill on that case, as well as on other cybersecurity news.
The House of Representatives passed a revised whistleblower protection bill last week, but eliminated the protections that existed for intelligence officials. Pete Kasperowicz of The Hill provides the details.
Courthouse News Service reports on a lawsuit filed in New York State by a Kuwaiti military contractor against a civilian for trespass to land, trespass to chattel, conversion and negligence when he staged an armed raid against its Kabul plant.
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 Cyber Brief. Email us noteworthy articles we may have missed at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, and check out the Lawfare Events Calendar for upcoming national security events.