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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 12:27 PM

Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein pennedWashington Post op-ed.  In it, she clarifies the NSA metadata collection program’s scope and advocates for greater transparency in the program and other NSA activities.

In time for today’s Senate Judiciary hearing, the DNI declassified an order issued pursuant to FISA’s business records provision, which authorized collection of telephony metadata. And here’s Charlie Savage’s New York Times story about the hearing today, and the materials declassified.

On the topic of records, the Fifth Circuit ruled yesterday that warrantless searches of historical location data maintained by cellphone service providers are “not per se unconstitutional.” Orin Kerr wrote up a summary of the caseIn re: Application of the United States of American for Historical Cell Phone Dataat Vololk Conspiracy.  Read the Times’s story.

Meanwhile, in two related terrorism cases in Chicago, defense attorneys have asked judges for more information about the government’s acknowledged use of FISA orders to collect intelligence against their clients. The AP reports.

With the verdict in, we’re all wondering what Bradley Manning’s sentence will be, and what the outcome means for Edward Snowden and Julian Assange—who himself said that the Manning verdict set a “dangerous precedent.” If you haven’t yet, read Cully Stimson’s guest post explaining the sentencing procedure in courts martial; also catch the Washington Post’s graphic detailing how Manning’s prison time might add up.  Congressmen Rogers and Ruppersberger said they believe that “justice has been served.” And John Yoo wrote an op-ed in National Review calling the verdict a mistake; in his opinion, Manning should have been convicted of aiding the enemy.

The New York Times editorialized on the Manning verdict, calling it “mixed,” while the Wall Street Journal’s editorial urges caution to those contemplating marking Manning as a hero. The Economist puts the Manning verdict in a broader context, of the Obama administration’s broader effort to prosecute leakers.

Cybersecurity breaches continue to make headlines. And the House of Representatives, says Roll Call, is taking steps to strengthen defenses of its own network. The Senate Commerce committee also has given its stamp of approval to the Rockefeller-Thune cybersecurity bill, which would codify a security framework established in President Obama’s executive order.

MIT released a report on its role in the prosecution of Aaron Swartz, the internet freedom advocate who broke into the Institute’s campus and network, and stole millions of files from JSTOR. Here are the report itself and a Times story.

An interesting report in the Washington Post about Bitcoin, the digital currency whose value has been growing over the last few months. It seems that Bitcoin users will establish an industry group to create best practices and standards—the goal being to get the jump on attempts by government or intergovernmental bodies to regulate the online currency.

The FAA has authorized two UAV models to be used in commercial airspace.  Here are an Engadget story and the FAA’s press release on the certification.  The latter is amusingly titled “One Giant Leap for Unmanned-kind.”

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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