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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Friday, December 7, 2012 at 4:07 PM

Today is the 71st anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor—which is surely a national security event, if there ever was one. I just read FDR’s speech from the day, courtesy of Ben, which is quite powerful actually. It is also my birthday today, but that’s neither here nor there.

Speaking of Pearl Harbor, Senators Joseph Lieberman and Susan Collins have an op-ed in the Times arguing that the next Pearl Harbor will be a Cyber Pearl Harbor. Their ominous warning could have something to do with the failed cybersecurity legislation that they co-sponsored.

Benjamin Weiser of the New York Times reports on this important twist in the original case against Osama bin Laden: Ahmed al-Fadl, a Sudanese man who cooperated with the government and later pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge, has asked to be sentenced immediately because he fears his children will be sent back to Sudan.

Fareed Zakaria wrties argues in this op-ed in the Washington Post that President Obama should “start planning and preparing the country for phasing [the War on Terror] out.” He says:

Of course there are real threats out there, from sources including new branches of al-Qaeda and other such groups. And of course they will have to be battled, and those terrorists should be captured or killed. But we have done this before, and we can do so in the future under more normal circumstances. It will mean that the administration will have to be more careful — and perhaps have more congressional involvement — for certain actions, such as drone strikes. It might mean it will have to charge some of the people held at Guantanamo and try them in military or civilian courts.

In any event, it is a good idea that the United States find a way to conduct its anti-terrorism campaigns within a more normal legal framework, rather than rely on blanket wartime authority granted in a panic after Sept. 11.

Watch out African militants—the Wall Street Journal reports that the Obama administration is considering asking Congress for greater latitude to conduct counterterrorism operations in Africa.

Although there has been little indication that the United States intends to do so, the Afghan government says that it supports American efforts to engage the Taliban to secure the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the one U.S. POW held by the Haqqani Network. Bloomberg has the story.

The Times reports that a Taliban suicide bomber targeted Asadullah Khalid, Afghanistan’s new intelligence chief, and seriously injured him.

Speaking of security breaches, Agence France Presse reports that Afghan President Hamid Karzai told NBC News in an interview that “Part of the insecurity [in Afghanistan] is coming to us from the structures that NATO and America created in Afghanistan.” He also blamed America for fueling corruption in the country.

Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, a gentleman accused of plotting to storm a military recruitment center in Seattle, pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges yesterday, says Laura Myers of Reuters.

As Wells told us yesterday, Jeh Johnson is leaving government. Jonathan Capehart of the Post has this tribute to Johnson for his service, and particularly for ending “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”

According to Ken Dilanian of the Los Angeles Times, the first-ever National Intelligence Estimate will determine the extent of U.S. financial losses from cyber-spying and cyberattacks. Be prepared for a big number. And be prepared for finger pointing at the Chinese.

Sasha Gordon of AEI’s Critical Threats blog writes about the American man arrested in Yemen in October, Mr. Frank Christian Motos, who has gone on a hunger strike to protest his detention by the Yemeni government.

And, John Shiffman of Reuters has the first of a four-part series on Jihad Jane aka Colleen LaRose, the Pennsylvanian woman who became a homegrown terrorist and plotted to murder Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks.

And, from Wells, comes this this Saturday Night Live video that says everything you need to know—and so much more—about drones: it’s 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, Syracuse’s Institute for National Security & Counterterrorism’s newsroll, and Fordham Law’s Center on National Security’s Morning Brief and Cyber Brief. Email Raffaela Wakeman and Ritika Singh noteworthy articles to include, visit the Lawfare Events Calendar for upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings at the Lawfare Job Board.

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