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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 4:30 PM

Let’s begin with the news everyone’s ga-ga about: The Royal Baby has arrived! Just kidding. We don’t do that here. Chris Kelly, writer for SNL and The Onion, said it best:

In real news, NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is being considered for DHS secretary after Janet Napolitano’s resignation. The New York Times “Room for Debate” feature weighs the pros and cons of Kelly’s controversial career thus far.

Senator Al Franken of Minnesota argues in CNN that the public debate about privacy needs to be reignited, and that greater transparency about surveillance programs is key.

Ex-FISA Court judge James G. Carr has an op-ed in the Times calling for reform of that court, saying that

Congress could . . . authorize the FISA judges to appoint, from time to time, independent lawyers with security clearances to serve “pro bono publico”—for the public’s good—to challenge the government when an application for a FISA order raises new legal issues.

Joe Nocera of the Times writes that despite the recent rulings by Judge Gladys Kessler, Judge Royce C. Lamberth, and Judge Rosemary Collyer—all of which we have covered on the site—about the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, nothing has changed.

Daniel Byman of Brookings says in Foreign Policy that “the United States is now seen as a marginal player in the Middle East,” which is harmful to its future national interests.

Check out this interactive feature from Al Jazeera about the different opposition groups in Syria.

Bill Roggio of the Long War Journal informs us that an American passport was found at an abandoned house belonging to fighters of an Al Qaeda affiliate operating in Syria, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The man who owns the passport, also a citizen of Egypt, is named Amiir Farouk Ibrahim—and will surely feature in the second edition of Ben and Dan’s paper which was released today on U.S. citizens caught up in jihadist activity overseas.

From the Department of Underreported Bad News: There has been a mass jailbreak at Abu Ghraib (remember Abu Ghraib?), launched by Al Qaeda in Iraq (remember Al Qaeda in Iraq?), in which 500-600 prisoners have escaped—a large number of whom are Al Qaeda leaders and operatives. The Associated Press has the depressing details.

Speaking of depressing, Matthew Rosenberg of the Times reports that a failed reconstruction program in Afghanistan may have led to the death or injury of U.S. soldiers. The project was supposed to install thick metal grates on roadside drainage culverts to prevent insurgents from planting IEDs in them.

The Dutch have blocked the extradition of one Sabir K. to the United States, saying he was tortured in Pakistan—with alleged U.S. involvement. The AP has more.

The excellently-named Thanassis Cambanis discusses why the European Union’s blacklisting of Hezbollah is pointless (not to mention late).

Daniel Markey of the Council on Foreign Relations, whom I interviewed for the Lawfare Podcast, has this important story in Foreign Affairs from last week about how the United States can and should negotiate with Pakistan about its drone program going forward.

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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