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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 11:01 AM

Turns out Carrie Mathison’s obsessive hunting of Abu Nazir in the TV series Homeland isn’t purely fiction—nor is David Estes’s treating Carrie badly. The Washington Post tells us about the the CIA woman behind the Osama bin Laden mission, who served as the inspiration for the heroine in the upcoming film Zero Dark Thirty. The Post’s Greg Miller describes the bad blood in the Agency when she was passed up for a promotion and when she lashed out at her colleagues who also received praise for the mission’s success.

Meanwhile, Peter Bergen, who knows a thing or two about the Bin Laden mission, argues in this op-ed on CNN.com that the film

captures a lot that is true about the search for al Qaeda’s leader but also distorts the story in ways that could give its likely audience of millions of Americans the misleading picture that coercive interrogation techniques used by the CIA on al Qaeda detainees—such as waterboarding, physical abuse and sleep deprivation—were essential to finding bin Laden.

In non-Hollywood news, the Al Nusra Front, the Syrian militant group, has been designated a foreign terrorist organization, report Michael R. Gordon and Anne Barnard of the Times. The Times’s editorial board argues that it is a good first step, but that “President Obama still needs to provide a clearer picture of how he plans to use American influence in dealing with the jihadi threat and the endgame in Syria.”

Columnist George Will in the Post discusses some of the big questions behind targeted killing.

Elise Labott of CNN’s Security Clearance blog outlines the challenges State Department bureaucrats face in the Twitterverse.

The Senate Intelligence Committee will approve a report on the use of coercive interrogation under George W. Bush—but the 6,000 page monster won’t be declassified for a long time, so don’t hold your breath. Jordy Yager of the Hill has the story.

Speaking of coercive interrogation, the Associated Press reports that the ACLU is filing a petition today with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to investigate whether Jose Padilla’s interrogation amounted to “torture.”

Kimberly Dvorak of the Washington Guardian has the latest on DHS loaning of UAVs to law enforcement agencies.

According to Reuters, Malian Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra was arrested while trying to flee to France. Well, that complicates things further.

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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