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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Friday, July 12, 2013 at 1:21 PM

It’s a big day for news ladies and gentlemen. Hold on to your hats.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is resigning. She will be heading to the West Coast to lead the University of California university system. Peter Baker of the New York Times reports on the decision. Sari Horwitz and Philip Rucker of the Washington Post also have the story.

Edward Snowden continues to make airwaves. Ellen Barry of the Times tells us that he met with international human rights activists in Moscow today and renewed his plea for asylum in Russia until he can travel to Latin America. Guess he’s getting tired of drinking duty free vodka.

Max Fisher of the Post also discusses Snowden’s public appearance and whether Snowden will be able to comply with President Putin’s terms. And according to the Russian human rights commissioner, Snowden “doesn’t look very well fed, a skinny guy. But he has a great haircut.” The Times’s Lede Blog has live updates for the Snowden-obsessed among us.

Ellen Nakashima of the Post reports that an NSA internal review of the damage caused by Snowden reveals that officials are concerned that he may have “gained access to sensitive files that outline espionage operations against Chinese leaders and other critical targets.”

Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists points us to a new CRS report entitled Foreign Surveillance and the Future of Standing to Sue Post-Clapper.

Josh Gerstein of Politico says that U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ordered the U.S. military to stop groin searches of Guantanamo detainees before they meet with their attorneys. Charlie Savage of the Times also has the news; Wells posted on the decision yesterday.

Two Guantanamo Bay detainees have abandoned their hunger strike, Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald tells us.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans has ruled that accused Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan cannot access information obtained through FISA for his defense. The Associated Press reports.

Brookings Senior Fellow Daniel Byman testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs about the state of Al Qaeda after the Benghazi attacks and future terrorism challenges in North Africa. Here is his testimony, and here is a video of the hearing.

Speaking of militants in Africa, Eric Schmitt of the Times reports that surveillance drones, flying from a base in Niger, constitute a huge part of the American effort to track and curb terrorist activity in the region.

Carlo Munoz of the Hill reports that green-on-blue attacks in Afghanistan have continued to complicate security transition efforts.

Michael O’Hanlon of Brookings has an op-ed in the Post arguing that the United States should not abandon Afghanistan, and that the threatened “zero option” after 2014 is “an understandable but unwise idea. Even raising it as a bargaining device is a mistake in our ongoing mission in Afghanistan.”

James Dobbins, special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Peter Lavoy, acting assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, are also against the “zero option” in Afghanistan, explains CNN’s Jamie Crawford.

In Syria, Karen DeYoung of the Post discusses the lack of forward movement on the White House’s plan to arm opposition fighters in Syria.

Comforting, then, that while Congress has been twiddling its thumbs on Syria, the Pakistani Taliban seem to have set up a base in the country. BBC’s Ahmed Wali Mujeeb has more on that.

The Times describes the Pakistani Taliban’s continuing violent campaign against girls’ education.

And Foreign Affairs editor Gideon Rose interviewed former DNI Director John Negroponte on “the challenges of the digital age and keeping the internet open, global, and secure.”

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.