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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Friday, July 19, 2013 at 2:55 PM

Wells hosted Bob Litt, general counsel to the ODNI, this morning at Brookings, for an address about privacy and intelligence collection practices. Check out the C-SPAN video. Here is coverage from Shane Harris of Foreign PolicySpencer Ackerman at the Guardian, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and USA Today.

Ravi Somaiya of the New York Times reports that Sgt. Sean Murphy of the Massachusetts State Police was relieved of duty after giving Boston Magazine several images of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s dramatic capture. Sgt. Murphy’s motivation? The most recent issue of Rolling Stone, which features Tsarnaev on its cover.  The cover has ignited a maelstrom of controversy, reports CNN.

The Times editorial board argues that hysteria over the Rolling Stone cover is “over the top” and could be “heat-wave induced.”

Robert Seldon Lady, ex-CIA station chief, was arrested on the border between Costa Rica and Panama. Lady was convicted in Italy for his role in kidnapping a Muslim cleric in Milan and shipping him off to Egypt in 2003. Elisabeth Malkin of the Times has the details. The Washington Post reports that Panamanian authorities sent him back to the United States this morning.

The Associated Press says that one Shelton Thomas Bell, 19, of Jacksonville, FL, has been indicted by a grand jury on “charges of conspiring and attempting to provide material support to terrorists.” Apparently the teenager had planned to travel to Yemen and join Ansar Al-Sharia.

Bad news on the Afghanistan front, according to Carlo Munoz of the Hill. He says that the country is seeing an influx of foreign insurgents from Pakistan before American troops withdraw in 2014.

Speaking of Pakistan, a senior Taliban commander wrote a letter (in horrible English, I might add) to Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban last year. The letter, written in Adnan Rashid’s personal capacity, blamed Malala for “running a smearing campaign to malign [the Taliban’s] efforts to establish Islamic system in Swat” and said her “writings were provocative.” Robert Mackey of the Times has more.

The AP informs us that the number of hunger strikers at Guantanamo Bay has dropped to 75.

Josh Gerstein of Politico reports that ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said that Edward Snowden “did this country a service by starting a debate that was anemic, that was left to government officials who did not understand fully what was happening.”

No Surprise Here: The NSA, after an internal review, has instituted new rules to restrict Snowden-like events in the future. The Times explains how some of these new procedures will work.

Big Brother vs. Big Business: Gen. Keith Alexander suggested the phone companies could hold telephonic metadata instead of the government, Robert O’Harrow Jr. of the Post tells us.

Tal Kopan of Politico informs us that Rep. Adam Schiff will introduce a bill requiring FISC judges to be confirmed by the Senate. Here is the statement from Rep. Schiff’s website.

And, ordinary Americans react to the Rolling Stone incident—it’s Today’s Moment of Zen.

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