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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Friday, April 26, 2013 at 1:40 PM

Let’s begin with this New York Times editorial on the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The board argues that President George W. Bush’s “tough decisions” during his time in office have led this country to pay a steep price “for what is essentially a political prison. Just as hunger strikes at the infamous Maze Prison in Northern Ireland indelibly stained Britain’s human rights record, so Guantánamo stains America’s.”

Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald reports that Senator Dianne Feinstein, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, sent a letter to Tom Donilon, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, calling for another review of the 86 detainees who are cleared for release. Charlie Savage of the Times has more. Methinks she should talk to her colleagues in Congress first if she actually wants anything to change.

The Associated Press reports that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev stopped talking after he was Mirandized on Monday by Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler. Tsarnaev was questioned for sixteen hours before being read his rights—during which he admitted to the Boston bombings—but investigators wanted to continue questioning him under Miranda’s public safety exception.

Tsarnaev also told authorities that he and his brother were planning to drive up to New York City and detonate a similar bomb in Times Square, according to the Washington Post.

Senator Lindsey Graham made the rounds in the media, blaming the administration for the Boston bombings and saying “we’re going backwards in national security.” Politico and CNN have more on his remarks, in case anyone is desperate to know.

Daniel Klaidman reports on the usefulness of the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, the terrorist watch list that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the other, now-deceased Boston bombing suspect, was placed on. Dina Temple-Raston and Audie Cornish of National Public Radio also discuss what it means to be placed on a a terrorist watch list:

Everyone’s up in (chemical) arms about Syria. Matt discussed the implications of President Obama’s red line yesterday. The Los Angeles Times editorial board says that the U.S. must “adhere to his insistence last year that such conduct would be a ‘red line’ justifying action by this country, alone or in concert with other nations.” Julian Ku offers some thoughts on the legality of U.S. intervention in Syria at Opinio Juris. Mark Thompson of TIME describes the intelligence on Syria and past military operations that have been based on faulty intelligence reports. And Bruce Riedel of Brookings argues in the Daily Beast that the President needs to avoid pitfalls in his handling of the situation:

One trap is to avoid taking on a unilateral American military mission in Syria that would lead to mission creep and another quagmire that wouldn’t benefit Syria or America. Diplomacy, an arms embargo, isolation, and sanctions are a better approach. Behind the diplomacy, there is also an urgent need to begin building an international stabilization force, manned primarily by Muslim soldiers (mostly Turks at first, because they are the only capable troops immediately available), which can help end the civil war, help restore order, and serve as a basis for a new Syrian government elected by its people.

U.S. lawmakers, too from Speaker John Boehner, to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, to Senator John McCain, are urging action, according to the Hill.

Mark your calendars for May 11, ladies and gentlemen. It’s election day in Pakistan. The Associated Press reports that Pakistani officials have announced that they will close the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan to prevent terrorist attacks at polling booths. Similar promises have been made in elections past, so don’t hold your breath.

Speaking of terrorist attacks and an upcoming election, the AP tells us that a bomb went off outside the headquarters of the Muttahida Quami Movement, one of Pakistan’s major political parties. Five people were killed, and the Taliban claimed responsibility.

Shamila N. Chaudhary and Omar Samad, both of the New America Foundation, lay out the demands brought to the table by Pakistani and Afghan officials during talks with Secretary of State John Kerry in Brussels this week. The Daily Beast has the story.

And, once again, The Onion comes to the rescue with the latest on homegrown radicalization: it’s Today’s Moment of Zen.

Islamic Extremist Gives Up On Radicalizing Dim-Witted Friend

PHILADELPHIA—After months of attempting to indoctrinate his friend with the militant ideology of Islamic fundamentalism, local man Khalid Sayed, an Islamic extremist actively working to create a worldwide community of Muslim believers through violence and terrorism, said he has decided to give up radicalizing his dim-witted friend Omar Alibek.

Calling the American-born Alibek “pretty dense” and “slow on the uptake,” Sayed told reporters that instructing the 27-year-old in the goals of global jihad and providing philosophical justification for carrying out terrorist attacks against innocent civilians in the West is “pretty much a lost cause at this point.”

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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