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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 11:18 AM

The Wall Street Journal reports on news coming from China’s Ministry of Defense that it and another military website have been hacked on average 144,000 times a month last year. Two-thirds of these attacks allegedly came from within the United States.

The New York Times penned this editorial earlier this week on cybersecurity, wondering aloud why American companies haven’t gone public about cyber attacks targeting them, suggesting not only that their silence may “violate the legal obligations of publicly traded companies to share material information about their businesses,” impede other companies from protecting against those same attackers, and that they are ignoring the SECs’s 2011 guidelines regarding reporting cyberattacks and the Commission’s repeated reminders to cyber victims to share more details. And Nicole Perlroth of the Times reports on the efforts of those who’ve been digging in online to identify the individuals associated with the usernames revealed in the Mandiant report.

The agency tasked with developing voluntary industry standards to defend against cyberattacks by President Obama’s executive order, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, has issued a formal Request for Information to begin its procedure. It is scheduled to hold a public meeting and workshop on April 3rd out at its headquarters in Gaithersburg, MD. Here’s Government Security News on the announcement.

And on the heels of his EO, President Obama will also be submitting what his priorities for cybersecurity legislation are to the Congress, although it doesn’t seem to be clear exactly when that will happen. Here’s Bloomberg on all of that. Current and former White House officials are all over events at this week’s RSA conference, discussing cybersecurity and policy. Looks like there  will be remarks by Michael Daniel (Current White House Cybersecurity Coordinator), FBI Director Robert Mueller, former SecDHS Tom Ridge, and Former Cybersecurity Advisor Howard Schmidt (who did an exclusive interview with USA Today).

SecDHS Napolitano spoke here at Brookings a few days ago, to recognize the 10th anniversary of the creation of the Department. Here’s the archived webcast of the event, and here’s the transcript of her remarks. Cybersecurity, unsurprisingly, is one of the Department’s top priorities, the Daily Caller points out.

Symantec came out with a white paper earlier in the week detailing evidence that the Stuxnet virus actually could have been operational wayyyy back in 2005, not 2007 as earlier believed. Here’s the white paper, and the ABC News story on that, as well as Ellen Nakashima’s Washington Post article.

Over at the ABA Journal, Terry Carter has this lengthy profile of Military Commissions Chief Prosecutor Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, incorporating remarks by proponents and opponents of the Military Commissions, scholars and other experts on Brig. Gen. Martins, whom Carter calls the “man who would save Guantanamo.” On his efforts to legitimize the military commissions, Martins says:

I want to push back the notion that military commissions are what you use when you can’t prove the case in federal court…It doesn’t work that way. This has to be a public trial; it has to exclude coerced evidence and provide counsel rights. I’m going to present cases based on admissible evidence, and that’s also not classified. The accused and counsel can litigate admissibility and refer to matters that relate to prior treatment. It is wrong out there to say we are attempting to sidestep relevant matters.

Rod Nordland writes in the Times that 20 Afghan policemen were killed in two separate attacks.

Over at The Atlantic, Heather Maher got an interview with the author of a new book, The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism, that makes the case that the U.S. government is responsible for “hatching and financing more terrorist plots in the United States than any other group.”

Bradley Manning watch has resumed. The U.S. Army released some of the Wikileaks documents that Manning is accused of giving to the transparency organization. Here’s Josh Gerstein of Politico on that disclosure, and the disclosure itself. Manning pled guilty to 10 charges in a hearing this morning. Read the Guardian piece on what it expected Manning to say.

Well, at least the two parties in the House agree on toughening sanctions against Iran. Rick Gladstone reports on the details of a bill introduced in the House, and which is expected to pass the Senate.

For those who believe national security affairs will be unaffected by sequestration, take a look at this news from the border: 300 illegal immigrants were released from federal custody in anticipation of the automatic spending cuts. Here’s Pamela Constable of the Washington Post from earlier this week.

And don’t worry, Speaker Boehner is doing his part in finding prudent ways of meeting the automatic spending cuts. No, not by making a deal with his foe, but by canceling the use of military aircraft for official travel for “codels” the trips members of the House take abroad. Here’s The Hill on that.

Up in Canada, Omar Khadr’s lawyers are arguing that their client’s guilty plea is invalid since the D.C. Circuit overturned Ali Hamza al Bahlul’s convictions; Khadr was convicted of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism. Here’s the Globe and Mail story.

Another day, another state taking a stand against UAVs in its airspace. Maine’s legislature is considering a bill to regulate law enforcement use of the new technology, according to the AP.

And oh no, the U.S. Marshals are also guilty of testing unmanned aerial vehicles wayyyy back in the technological dinosaur days of 2004 and 2005. The ACLU wants the Marshalls to share every document that refers to their use of UAVs, not just two of them.

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.