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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Some Lawfare news to begin: We have officially passed the 500th roundup mark. Feel free to send us comments, sonnets, flowers, or all of the above.

Now on to the substance. As Raffaela noted yesterday, the Senate Foreign Relations committee narrowly passed its Syria AUMF. The New York Times editorial board says that the close vote is a sign of discord to come.

In that same vein, the Washington Post has this graphic of the way members of Congress are likely to vote on Syria based on their public statements. The conclusion? “There are now more than four times as many opponents of military action in the House as supporters.” Jeremy W. Peters of the Times also informs us about the barrier President Obama faces from Congressional Democrats.

Chris Lawrence of CNN’s Security Clearance blog reports that U.S. naval forces have been ready to go since the weekend, and were caught off guard by President Obama’s decision to seek Congressional approval first.

The president, for his part, is in St. Petersburg for the G-20 summit, and the press is poised to photograph the several awkward encounters he is sure to have with President Putin—who has has been an increasingly unsupportive of the American position in Syria. The Times has the story. The Post informs us that Obama met with Japanese Prime Minister Shnizo Abe and will meet with the heads of France and China in an effort to gin up support for punitive action against Syria.

Max Fisher discusses the Obama administration’s original case for action against Syria—that strikes to punish the Assad regime would uphold the international norm against the use of chemical weapons.

Remember the U.N. inspectors that were in Syria last week trying to determine whether chemical weapons had, in fact, been used? Neither does anyone in Washington, according to Colum Lynch of the Post.

C.J. Chivers of the Times tells us about the brutality of some of the Syrian rebel groups—with a horrible video to prove it. Rebel leader Gen. Salim Idriss—no surprise here—wants U.S. strikes to hit more than chemical weapons sites, says Liz Sly of the Post.

Syria also has a biological weapons program that its neighbors are now growing worried about. Joby Warrick has more in the Post.

James P. Rubin, an assistant secretary of state for public affairs during the Clinton administration, argues that “as a matter of law and policy, the Kosovo war is no precedent for airstrikes against Syria.”

Former U.S. special adviser on Syrian affairs Frederic C. Hof was interviewed by the Council on Foreign Relations about U.S. priorities in Syria.

Shane Harris parses what we’ve all been wondering: How did the Syrian Electronic Army get so good?

In other news, Maj. Nidal Hasan’s beard has been shaved off in prison, reports CNN. The Fort Hood shooter was sentenced to death last week.

The ACLU and the NRA, two of the unlikeliest partners in crime, have apparently joined forces. The NRA has filed this amicus brief in ACLU v. Clapper. The ACLU’s Blog of Rights has more.

They want to hear from you! The panel President Obama set up to assess the NSA’s surveillance program asked for public input, reports Josh Gerstein of Politico.

In case the release of the cache of NSA documents two weeks ago wasn’t enough, brace yourselves: DOJ is declassifying more documents next week, including FISA court opinions, related to the government’s interpretation of Section 215. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which filed the FOIA request, released this statement.

Al Jazeera states that the International Monetary Fund has loaned the country $6.7 billion to help rebuild its dwindling reserves and revitalize its ailing economy.

Finally, circling back, Andy Borowitz of the New Yorker describes President Obama’s reaction to Republican support on Syria—it’s Today’s Moment of Zen.

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 the Roundup Team 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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