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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Friday, April 19, 2013 at 12:09 PM

Here is the MIT student newspaper The Tech‘s report on last night incidents. Too much is in flux to summarize the developments in Boston, so I’m going to leave that to the Twitter list and news links that Alan and Susan are running.

While here in the US, we are focusing on Boston, there are developments in national security elsewhere around the world too:

The man charged with mailing ricin-laced envelopes to President Obama, Senator Robert Wicker, and a local Mississippi judge maintains his innocence, and the Washington Post reports that he has a history of mental illness.

The DIA assessment that reported with “moderate confidence” that North Korea had succeeded in outfitting a warhead with a nuclear weapon was mistakenly declassified; so said DNI James Clapper during the Senate Armed Services hearing yesterday. Eric Schmitt of the Times has more details about the conflicting intelligence assessments of North Korea’s capabilities; here are the key paragraphs from the story:

At issue is a seven-page classified report, one sentence of which was mistakenly labeled unclassified, Mr. Clapper said. The assessment’s existence was made public on April 11 by Representative Doug Lamborn, Republican of Colorado, in a budget hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

In an unusual step hours after the disclosure, Mr. Clapper issued a statement playing down the assessment of the D.I.A., which tends to take a more hawkish view on North Korea, adding that “North Korea has not yet demonstrated the full range of capabilities necessary for a nuclear armed missile.”

Efforts to reform gun control here in the United States failed in spectacular fashion this week before the world’s great deliberative body; a trio of correspondents from the New York Times reports on the plethora of online gun site sales, which go largely unregulated.

The Orlando Sentinel lets us know that Florida’s drone regulation bill will likely be signed by Governor Rick Scott, now that both state legislative houses have passed it.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is blaming the CIA for ordering an airstrike that killed 17 Afghan civilians, 12 of whom were children. Rod Nordland has this New York Times story about President Karzai’s remarks.

While the U.S. has spent much time training Afghan police and security forces around Afghanistan to fend off the Taliban, parts of the country are still governed by Islamic law. Casey Garret Johnson, who spent time in Afghanistan when he worked for USAID, writes in the Times on two particular provinces’ experiences since the U.S. invasion. Johnson spent time working with Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, who was then the commander of the Rule of Law Field Force–Afghanistan. Brig. Gen. Martins wrote a series of posts on Lawfare about his work there; they are available herehereherehere and here.

Both Britain and France are saying that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons more than once since December—read Colum Lynch and Karen DeYoung’s story in the Washington Post and Rick Gladstone and Eric Schmitt in the Times.

Bird Flu Watch 2.0 continues, with at least 17 people dead and more than 80 confirmed cases in China. Jane Perlez writes in the Times that China and the WHO are investigating potential cases of human-to-human transmission of the virus. Richard Knox reports on Morning Edition that cases are springing up hundreds of miles from where the first case was reported.

Down in Guatemala, a judge has annulled a trial against former dictator Efrain Rios Montt for his role in the genocide in that country thirty years ago. Here’s the Times story by Elisabeth Malkin.

After being banned from participating in Pakistan’s elections, former president Pervez Musharraf has been arrested, writes the Times’s Declan Walsh.

A French family of seven was released by Boko  Haram, the Nigerian Islamist terrorist group. Scott Sayare of the New York Times reports.

The head of Guinea-Bissau’s military has been indicted for cocaine and weapons trafficking here in the United States, says Adam Nossiter of the Times.

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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