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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 11:32 AM

Another day, another leak: Greg Miller of the Washington Post tells of a secret, if year-old, report by the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board.  The report found that the intelligence community must change course because it has become, according to Miller, “too focused on military operations and drone strikes.” Miller quotes two of the board’s members:

“The intelligence community has become to some degree a military support operation,” said Boren, a former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee who serves as co-chairman of the Intelligence Advisory Board. Boren said the deployment of intelligence personnel and resources has become so unbalanced that it “needs to be changed as dramatically as it was at the end of the Cold War.”

Another panelist, former congressman Lee H. Hamilton (D-Ind.), said traditional espionage “has suffered as the CIA has put more and more effort into the operational side.” Hamilton was co-chairman of the 9/11 Commission, whose findings helped usher in far-reaching intelligence changes, including shifting huge resources to counter the terrorist threat.

Now concerned that the shift has gone too far, Hamilton said that it is time to “redirect the war footing that we’ve had, the focus on counterterrorism . . . and go back to the traditional functions of gathering and analyzing.”

More on the news that control over the United States’ targeted killing program will shift from the CIA to military:  check out Siobhan Gorman’s, Adam Entous’ and Julian Barnes’ co-authored piece in the Wall Street Journal, and our own Matt Waxman’s piece at Foreign Policy.

David Ignatius’s Washington Post column focuses on lessons learned from the Iraq war.

Methinks Senators Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte likely are displeased that the U.S. took another member of Al Qaeda to federal court rather than to GTMO.  Here’s the indictment against Ibrahim Suleiman Adnan Adam Harun, and Peter Finn’s Washington Post coverage.  According to Finn’s piece, the defendant—also known as “Spin Ghul”—cooperated with federal authorities and even waived his Miranda rights; the government also kept the indictment sealed initially, in order to maximize its intelligence harvest from him.  Ghul came to U.S. custody by way of the Italian government, which conditioned his extradition on prosecution in a civilian tribunal rather than in a military commission.  Mosi Secret also reports, at the Times, on the case.

The Post has this excerpt from Akbar Ahmed’s book The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam.

President Obama says the U.S. is investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.  At the Washington Post, Karen DeYoung reports on remarks made by the President during a Jerusalem press conference.  And here’s more on the same topic, at the Times.

ISAF apparently will reach agreement with the Afghan government, by the end of next week, on this contested topic:  transfer of authority over certain detainees at Bagram prison to the Afghan security forces.  That’s a major factor in President Karzai’s recent complaints about U.S. activity in the country. Here’s Carlo Munoz of The Hill.

On to cybersecurity: the Wall Street Journal isn’t sure about how much headway SecTreasury Jack Lew made during his meeting with China’s new premier, as far as cyber matters go.  And the issue’s a timely one, as more details emerge about the defense contractor accused of sharing classified information with a Chinese national.  According to the San Diego Union-Tribune (and the contractor’s Linkedin profile), he was working on—you guessed it— cybersecurity matters.

The cyberattack on South Korea’s networks has U.S. lawmakers talking tough about potential instigators.  The Hill discusses the reaction of lawmakers to rumors that North Korea is to blame.

Meanwhile, the cybersecurity lobby continues to boom. Over at Bloomberg, Eric Engleman and Jonathan Salant report that the number of lobbying reports jumped 83 percent between 2011 and 2012.

Government Technology Magazine ponders whether the cybersecurity executive order will lead to more data sharing between the public and private sectors.

Bloomberg’s Elizabeth Wasserman notes a report by the FCC which attempted—unsuccessfully—to reach consensus on tactics with which telecommunications and internet providers might protect against cyber attacks.

DHS’s Undersecretary for Cybersecurity Mark Weatherford has announced his departure for the Chertoff Group, a private firm.  In response, DHS says Bruce McConnell will take Weatherford’s place on an interim basis. Executive Gov notes the personnel change.

Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the use of drones in domestic airspace. Here’s Matthew Wald’s readout at the New York Times and the AP report.

And the Rogers-Ruppersberger cybersecurity bill may be less threatening than its critics say. Tony Romm of Politico reports on certain interest groups’ “hyperbolic messaging offensive” against the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Project Act.

An interesting report over at FCW: the CIA seems to have contracted with Amazon, in order to help build a private cloud-computing infrastructure. Obviously, neither the CIA nor Amazon confirmed the rumor; FCW’s coverage relies on remarks made by government officials at speaking engagements on cybersecurity.

And Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin spoke on many things, including drones, at the Wall Street Journal’s Seib & Wessel breakfast. Here’s the transcript, and a Bloomberg story.

North Korea threatened to attack U.S. military bases in Japan and Guam in retaliation for recent training missions conducted by the U.S. over the Korean Peninsula. Here’s Choe Sang-Hun of the Times with the details.

Officials from the Hague are en route to pick up “The Terminator”—war criminal Bosco Ntaganda—from the American embassy in Rwanda, where he turned himself in. Jeffrey Gettleman of the Times reports.

The piece touches more on national security than on law, but we nevertheless recommend Jeffrey Goldberg’s profile of Abdullah II, King of Jordan.

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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