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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at 11:00 AM

You’ve likely heard:  in a bid to avert action by the United States, Russia has proposed that Syria abandon its chemical weapons stockpiles.  President Obama “tentatively embraced” that approach, says the New York Times.  So too, apparently, has Syria, per the Washington Post.  The Wall Street Journal also reports on the Secretary of State’s public suggestion that Syria might give up its chemical weapons and not be attacked.  David Sanger writes an update on Secretary Kerry’s seemingly changing, and somewhat less bellicose rhetoric, in the New York Times.  Ditto Mark Memmot at NPR.

More reactions to the still-murky Hand Over the Weapons Plan: Carlo Munoz of The Hill reports on those of Congressmen Adam Smith and Buck McKeon; the same newspaper’s Justin Sink reports on that of the White House.  It will take a “hard look” at Russia’s idea.   The Journal also discusses France’s efforts at bringing the Russian proposal to a vote in the United Nations.

There’s still legislative activity underway, the fluid diplomatic situation notwithstanding.  It seems the White House asked Republicans in the House to help at whipping up support among their party members for a “aye” vote—or at least that’s how the GOP-ers see it, as Jeremy Herb explains at The Hill.  AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobbying entity, is heading up to Capitol Hill, in order to encourage lawmakers to vote “aye” on a U.S. strike in Syria. Here’s the  Times.  Senator Rand Paul thinks a U.S. strike against Syria would be “on the side of Al Qaeda”—The Hill has a video clip of him saying this.  We’ll see whether today’s lunch meeting, between the Senate Republicans and President Obama, will sway Senator Paul.  The Hill reports.

Against this news backdrop I present to you the latest survey data, from the New York Times/CBS News.  In short: the vast majority of the U.S. public opposes U.S. intervention in Syria.

In its editorial today, The Times says President Obama should pursue a diplomatic resolution in Syria.  You’ll find counterargument in the Journal.  In its editorial, the latter claims military intervention in Syria could advance U.S. security interests.

Proponents and opponents of intervention make their case in many an op-ed.  The former includes a Syrian dissident, who writes in the Times, and the Post’s Marc Thiessen, who supports a strike, but only one aimed at both the Assad regime and Al-Qaeda.  (Hannah Stuart of the Henry Jackson Society, in a Journal op-ed, likewise argues that inaction on Syria will strengthen Al-Qaeda’s hand.)  In the “don’t intervene” camp are history professor Andrew Bacevich, who penned this Boston Globe piece, and Senator Ted Cruz, who explains, in this Post op-ed, his coming “nay” vote on a Syria strike.   Congressman Buck McKeon likewise writes in the Journal about why his vote might be “nay”: if President Obama refuses to restore military funding and address sequestration issues, well, then he won’t have McKeon’s support on Syria.  Not staking out a clear and firm position one way or the other on a strike—but still sharply critiquing the President’s handling of Syria in Post opinion columns—are Michael Gerson and Eugene Robinson.

National Security Advisor Susan Rice delivered Syria-related remarks yesterday at the New America Foundation.

So much for Syria; on to pork products.  After all that hubbub a few months ago, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States has approved the acquisition of U.S. pork producer Smithfield Foods by Chinese company Shuanghui International. It’s not very often that I get to refer you to these media sources: the National Hog Farmer and Food Product Design have the details.  For a more mainstream media coverage, here’s USA Today. 

Yahoo and Facebook filed suit in the FISC for permission to release national security request data, and Google has joined the effort as well. The Blog of Legal Times also has this story.

Yesterday, Steptoe & Johnson’s Stewart Baker wrote an op-ed in USA Today voicing support for the NSA surveillance programs.

Related: news that the DOJ will be releasing more documents today on national security surveillance—Brendan Sasso reports in The Hill. Buckle up folks, and get ready for Part II of Lawfare’s NSA Documents Series.

Read this profile of NSA Director General Keith Alexander—in Foreign Policy (caution: paywall).

In other international news, the trial of the Deputy President of Kenya begins at the International Criminal Court.  The Times and the Post report on that.

The Miami Herald has a batch of never-before-seen GTMO detainee  photos.  Check out the video the newspaper pulled together.

Yesterday’s oral arguments  in FCC v. Verizon on net-neutrality attracted a large crowd—here’s the New York Times and The Hill.

Tomorrow, of course, marks the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and the one-year anniversary of the attack in Benghazi.  Regarding the latter, Rep. Frank Wolf was interviewed by the Daily Caller.  The Congressman sets out twenty items learned since last year’s attacks.  And the Times’s Michael Schmidt and Eric Schmitt also describe progress made on the Benghazi investigation, and the Libyan government’s efforts to block the arrest of Benghazi suspects.

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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