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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 11:33 AM

Big news on the Israel front. Peter Baker and Isabel Kershner of the New York Times report that Secretary of State Hilary Clinton is on her way to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian leaders in the West Bank, and Egyptian officials in hopes of finding a solution to the conflict. John D. Sutter of CNN.com informs us that hacker group Anonymous has claimed responsibility for at least some of the 44 million cyberattacks that have hit Israel since it began airstrikes on Gaza.

Just days after Ali Mussa Daqduq was released by Iraqi authorities against American wishes, the Treasury Department has sanctioned him, “barring Americans from doing business with him and freezing any assets he might have in the U.S.,” reports C.M. Matthews of the Wall Street Journal.

Four radicalized California gentlemen have been arrested on terrorism charges—two are U.S. citizens and two are permanent residents—and accused of “plotting to kill Americans and destroy U.S. targets overseas by joining al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan,” says Shaya Tayefe Mohajer of the Associated Press. Ben Brumfield of CNN.com has more on the four stooges from California, as does Robert J. Lopez of the Los Angeles Times.

Sgt. John Russell, a U.S. soldier accused of killing two officers and three fellow soldiers in Iraq in 2009, entered no plea at his arraignment yesterday. Reuters reports.

ISAF bid its French soldiers “au revoir” yesterday, as France ended its last combat mission in Afghanistan two years before the 2014 departure date. All French combat troops will leave next month, with the exception of 1,500 troops, who will remain until 2013 to oversee the transition to Afghan forces, says The Hindu.

According to Jennifer Rizzo of CNN’s Security Clearance blog, the government has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces “to deny accused Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan’s request to keep a beard he has grown and to reject his bid to have the judge [Col. Gregory Gross] overseeing his court martial removed from the case.”

Shawn Turner, Spokesman for the Director of National Intelligence, has said that the intelligence community was responsible for the changes in talking points about Benghazi, reports Pam Benson of CNN’s Security Clearance blog. Are you listening, Republicans?

Gregory Johnsen is the author of “The Last Refuge: Yemen, Al-Qaeda, and America’s War in Arabia;” he also wrote this guest post and spoke previously at Brookings.  Today, Johnsen has an op-ed in the Times arguing against John Brennan as the CIA’s next director.

The Associated Press of Pakistan tells us Pakistan and Afghanistan “reviewed ongoing military operations in Afghanistan and adjoining tribal areas of Pakistan” and agreed to improve border coordination at the 36th meeting of the Tripartite Commission yesterday.

And, America’s Finest News Source reports on the growing split between younger and older Al Qaeda terrorists—it’s today’s Moment of Zen:

New Al-Qaeda Recruit Sick Of Hearing Senior Terrorists Brag About 9/11 Attacks

 

BANNU, PAKISTAN—Less than two months after joining the militant Islamist organization al-Qaeda, recently recruited operative Umar Hassan told reporters Tuesday he has already grown tired of listening to senior terrorists brag about the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. “The older guys never shut up about it,” said Hassan, adding that “it’s always Twin Towers this and hijackers that” with the veterans. “Don’t get me wrong—9/11 was awesome and really helped put the name out there. Now it’s kind of a problem, though. Because it was so iconic and our first big break, it’s like there’s nothing we can do that’s, you know, bigger than that. We’re working on some cool stuff right now, some biological stuff I think is really solid. But sometimes it feels like no one even notices because they’re always going on and on about something that happened 11 goddamn years ago.” Hassan added that he actually thought the 9/11 attacks were slightly overrated, noting that “they didn’t even hit the White House.”

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