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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Friday, February 8, 2013 at 11:12 AM

Let’s start with something that isn’t drone- or John Brennan-related: cybersecurity (or the lack thereof).

Richard A. Clarke has this op-ed in the Washington Post making the case for greater international collaboration on cybercrime, and discussing proposals he made at the recent Munich Security Conference. These include “forswearing cyberattacks that alter or destroy the networks of financial institutions.”

Over at Time, the Center for a New National Security’s Irving Lachow suggests that we alter the incentives, not just in the U.S. but internationally, in order to better manage cybersecurity risks.

Speaking of which, it looks like that executive order on cybersecurity policy may be coming out next week, Bloomberg’s Eric Engleman and Michael Riley report. And the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence will be holding a hearing on the day of the Feast of Saint Valentine focused on that oh-so-romantic topic of . . . cyber threats. I wonder if they’ll be passing out boxes of Sweethearts or big red heart-shaped cards to the witnesses.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has released its fourth version of proposed cybersecurity safeguards and countermeasures for federal agencies. Here’s NIST’s press release summarizing the new proposal; the public comment period on the proposal runs through March 1.

And the European Commission has published its proposal for cybersecurity strategy that would be EU-wide. Here are the PR Newswire report, a Wall Street Journal story on potential implications for U.S. companies operating there, and The Hill’s report on the unhappiness voiced by several technology companies about the burdens of complying with it if the proposal goes on the books.

Microsoft came out with a study on how different countries handle malware infection, and what effect that has on the rates of infection in those countries. Here’s the Computer Weekly story on the report.

Matthew Rosenberg wrote this piece drawing on an interview he had with outgoing ISAF and U.S. military commander General John Allen.

The International Criminal Court has ordered the Libyan government to turn over the country’s former intelligence chief, despite Libya’s argument for trying him in a domestic court, rather than before the ICC. Here’s Marlise Simons in the Times on that order.

Chuck Hagel won’t be getting the vote of at least one senator from the state he used to represent: Nebraska Republican Deb Fischer says she’s opposed, which Jeremy Herb of The Hill says is pay-back for Hagel’s endorsement of her opponent in 2012, Democrat Bob Kerrey. And Senator Carl Levin thinks that Republican demands for information regarding whether organizations with which Hagel had prior affiliations have received foreign funding are just a little too much.

Iran is telling the world that not only has it been able to replicate the U.S.Sentinel drone it captured some time back, but also that it’s extracted video footage that was encrypted and stored in the drone. Read the Times report on Iran’s latest claims. Needless to say, if the Iranians put the video on YouTube, we’ll embed it on Lawfare.

Iran has, however, recently agreed to participate in a new set of nuclear talks with the U.S., Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany. Here’s the Washington Post with that news.

Over in the East China Sea, tensions over who has a claim to a group of tiny islands are increasing, with Japan accusing China of guiding fire-control radar at Japanese naval vessels located near the islands. Chris Buckley of the Times reports.

The AP notes that Yemen has asked the U.N. Security Council to investigate a ship it seized that contained a large cache of (what are believed to be) Iranian weapons, which the country believes was meant for the separatist movement in southern Yemen. Speaking of arms trafficking, weapons taken from the Qaddafi stockpile may be making appearances in Mali, as well as in several Arab and African conflicts. C.J. Chivers of the New York Times looks into the evidence.

A state Senate committee in Florida has approved a bill that bans the use of drones by law enforcement agencies. Here’s a Washington Times story on the bill’s next hurtles on the road to passage. And in Virginia, Governor Bob McDonnell is mulling over whether to sign the bill that the General Assembly passed putting a 2-year moratorium of state and local government use of drones, as Perry Stein says over at NBC Washington.

OK, back to what you all probably came here for:

It was actually just the Senators themselves, not their staffers, who got to see those OLC memos that the administration sent over to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in advance of John Brennan’s hearing. Read about that disclosure by Senator Dianne Feinstein at the Huffington Post.

Here are some of the many readouts from the Brennan hearing/drone program: the New York Times editorial calling Congressional inquiry into the program “long overdue,”  while USA Today thinks, and the Telegraph agrees, that drone strikes are the best option we have. National Review Online adds its voice to the chorus of those—like Ben and Susan—saying that the White Paper is not particularly illuminating of details we didn’t already know, and says among the problems with the war on terror, “the elimination of Anwar Al-Awlaki . . . is not one of them.”

Jack beat me to the punch with John Yoo’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.

Alex Pareene thinks that Senator Lindsey Graham’s defense of the administration’s drone strategy is “the dumbest reason yet.” This is in response to Graham’s announcement that he’ll be offering a resolution in support of the President’s use of drones and the strike that killed Anwar Al-Aulaqi. Hey, at least a Republican is expressing support for a Democratic’ president’s defense policy.

Here are reviews of Brennan’s performance: MSNBC, Greg Miller in the Post, Michael Crowley in TIME’s Swampland blog, Michael Hirsh in National Journal, The Economist, and the New York Times.

Kimberly Dozier of the AP notes Senator Feinstein’s inquiry about establishing a targeted killing court, on which Bobby already ruminated yesterday.

Few can avoid the topic—David Brooks argues in his latest column in favor of both a judicial review component to the program, as well as an independent board comprised of former military and intelligence officers who report on the efficacy of it.

The Wall Street Journal defends the White Paper, calling the the drone program “legal and necessary.” Michael Gerson writes in his column on the parallel argument that President Bush made about an “imminent” threat, while his Washington Post colleague Eugene Robinson isn’t happy with the “remarkably elastic definition of the term.”

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