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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 1:30 PM

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has ordered the arrest of the country’s prime minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf, over allegations that he took millions of dollars in kickbacks during the construction of two electricity plants. Here’s the order, along with stories from the New York Times and TIME.

Lots of coverage on the French (and U.S.-backed) intervention in Mali. France has committed more troops to the fight, which the U.N. Security Council has unanimously backed. Here are the Wall Street Journal, BBC.com, and the Times. Bruce Riedel of Brookings argues in the Daily Beast that the Malian terrorists are the best and fastest-growing Al Qaeda franchise today, and provides suggestions of how the U.S. can assist the French. Max Fisher of the Washington Post has this blog post about life under Islamists’ rule in Mali (hint: it’s no walk in the park). And Vicki Huddleston, former U.S. ambassador to Mali, argues that the U.S should provide “intelligence, equipment, financing and training for a West African intervention force” in this Times op-ed.

Meanwhile, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon has sent a letter asking John Brennan to outline the legal and practical rules for targeting U.S. citizens, says Spencer Ackerman of Wired’s Danger Room blog. David Cole has twelve questions for Brennan in the New York Review of Books blog, too. 

In Reuters, Michael O’Hanlon of Brookings assesses Hilary Clinton’s contributions as Secretary of State:

My bottom line is this: Clinton has been a very good secretary – if more solid than spectacular. Pick your cliché or sports metaphor – she is more work horse than show horse, more an indefatigable marathoner (despite the setback last month) than a sprinter.

Senator Charles Schumer of New York is officially supporting Chuck Hagel for SecDef, Justin Sink of the Hill reports; Senator Barbara Boxer is also a yes, says Meghashyam Mali, also of the Hill.

Lots of terrorist trial news: Mohamed Osman Mohamud—the gentleman who allegedly tried to detonate a bomb during Portland’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony in 2010—is standing trial. An FBI agent testified today in the case, reports the Associated Press.

Greg Moran of The San Diego Union Tribune tells us that the trial of four Somali men charged with conspiracy, providing material support to Al Shabaab, and money laundering, will begin at the end of the month.

The Wall Street Journal’s Chad Bray has this update on the case of Abu Hamza al-Masri, the radical cleric extradited to the U.S. and awaiting trial in Manhattan. Al-Masri has been placed under special administrative measures while in prison, which, according to his lawyers, make it difficult to prepare his defense.

Government prosecutors are seeking the maximum sentence of 30 years for Tahawwur Rana, the Chicagoan who was convicted of providing material support to LeT; he will be sentenced on Thursday. The Chicago Tribune has the story.

Chuck Spinney of Time’s Battleland blog posts his correspondence with an Afghan friend on the endgame in Afghanistan.

Reuters informs us that a Finnish couple and an Austrian man studying Arabic in Sana’a, Yemen, were abducted on Dec. 21 by tribesmen and sold to Al Qeada.

And, Ryan Gallagher of Slate reports on the fashion world’s take on national security—it’s today’s Moment of Zen (h/t Ashley Deeks):

Set to launch next week in London as part of a collaborative project with fashion designer Johanna Bloomfield, [Adam] Harvey’s line of “Stealth Wear” clothing includes an “anti-drone hoodie” that uses metalized material designed to counter thermal imaging used by drones to spot people on the ground. He’s also created a cellphone pouch made of a special “signal attenuating fabric.” The pocket blocks your phone signal so that it can’t be tracked or intercepted by devices like the covert “Stingray” tool used by law enforcement agencies like the FBI. And if that’s not enough, Harvey has also made what he calls an “XX-Shirt,” which uses material designed to “protect your heart from X-ray radiation.”

For more interesting law and security-related articles, follow us on Twitter and check out the Lawfare News Feed, 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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