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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, June 24, 2013 at 11:51 AM

For those who are living in a cave and only getting news through Lawfare, we’ll start with an Edward Snowden update: As Wells noted over the weekend, the Justice Department filed charges against Edward Snowden. Scott Shane of the New York Times says that additional charges may be added when he is indicted. Shortly thereafter, the United States formally requested that the Hong Kong authorities extradite Snowden, as the AP tells us, but according to the Times’s Jane Perlez and Keith Bradsher, as the Chinese government is responsible for Hong Kong’s foreign policy, it decided to let Snowden get away. How, praytell, did Snowden get out of Hong Kong and make it to Russia? The Washington Post describes the maneuvering required to make his way to Ecuador—by way of Moscow and Havana—where Wikileaks is in the process of arranging his asylum. Laid over in Russia, Snowden again was not picked up; the government claimed that they lacked legal authority to detain him, as a trio from the Post explain.

Snowden is still in Moscow: he did not get on the flight to Havana, as the Times tells us. It’s unclear whether he’s been detained by the Russian government, or missed the flight for other reasons (he had a ticket).

James Bamford was responsible for authoring this weekend’s “Five Myths” piece in the Washington Post. The topic? Myths about the NSA, of course.

Meanwhile, electronic communications providers are hard at work winning back their users’ trust; Jennifer Martinez assesses these efforts at The Hill. And over the weekend, the Obama administration convened the first meeting of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, as Greg Sargent reports in the Post.

U.S. News and World Report’s Steven Nelson wonders whether Senator Rand Paul will head down to the Senate floor to filibuster the latest high-profile executive branch nominee—James B. Comey—as he did with CIA Director John Brennan over drones.

The Wall Street Journal editorial team made its opinion of Comey, the president’s nominee to become the next FBI Director, fairly clear, accusing him—among other things—of “abusing his role as Acting AG implicitly to threaten the White House with the likely exposure of the classified program—all because his interpretation of the law differed from that of Mr. Gonzales and other government lawyers”:

None of this may stand in the way of Mr. Comey’s confirmation in a Democratic Senate. But before Senators yawn their way to rubber-stamping President Obama’s “bipartisan” pick, they should ask Mr. Comey some harder questions than the ones to which his media fan base have accustomed him.

America already had an FBI director who thought he was accountable to no political master and ruined many lives. There’s a building named after him in Washington, D.C., but one such director is more than enough.

The U.S. delegate for the U.S.-Afghan-Taliban peace talks meets with Afghan President Hamid Karzai today discuss taking the next step toward a peace agreement (Wall Street Journal).

Senators are reaching out to Obama administration officials regarding the CFIUS review of the Smithfield Foods/Shuanghui International acquisition: they want to make sure that the interagency committee thinks through the food safety implications of the transaction.  The Wall Street Journal editorial team thinks that those senators’ concerns are overblown.

For more interesting law and security-related articles, follow us on Twitter, visit the Georgetown Center on National Security and the Law’s Security Law Brief, Syracuse’s Institute for National Security & Counterterrorism’s newsroll and blog, 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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