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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Let’s start the day’s news with an update on all things WMD. It’s been a while, I know.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons representative in Syria says that the Syrian government has cooperated with it as it conducts site visits and assesses the country’s chemical weapons cache. Reuters has this story. And a second team is headed there, writes Ben Hubbard of the New York Times.

Jay Solomon of the Wall Street Journal says the package of nuclear limits that Iran is putting together for its upcoming talks in Geneva should be considered seriously.

Over in Asia, more details are emerging about the alleged restart of North Korea’s nuclear reactor, which has been shut down since 2007. Choe Sang-Hun reports in the New York Times.

The Government Accountability Office is scheduled to release a report today about a shortage of a key material in American nuclear reactors. Lithium-7, which is produced only by China and Russia, is the material in question, and it seems no particular government authority is taking the lead on securing a U.S. supply. Here’s what the Times’s Matthew Wald says about the report.

The wife of Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, captured over the weekend, says her husband parted ways with Al Qaeda back in 1996; that is, before the 1997 Embassy bombings that the U.S. alleges he was involved with. Here’s a piece from ABC News.

Meanwhile, a certain trio from the Grand Old Party—Senators Lindsey Graham, Kelly Ayotte, and Saxby Chambliss—are calling for al-Ruqai to be sent down to Guantanamo. This sounds familiar.

David Frakt, former defense counsel in the military commissions, writes an op-ed over at CNN urging the administration to, well, ignore those calls. Senator Graham explained to reporters on Tuesday that al-Ruqai could have key intelligence regarding last year’s Benghazi attacks; thus, he believes al-Ruqai should go down to the island.

President Obama seemed to dodge raid-related questions in his remarks on Tuesday, concludes Jeremy Herb at The HillHere’s Reuters’ recap of the president’s remarks regarding the weekend raids.

And with regards to the reason for the Navy SEALs’ pull-back over the weekend, it seems that intelligence pertaining to the presence of civilians at the time of the raid was “imperfect,” writes the Times pair of Nicholas Kulish and Eric Schmitt.

The Times Schmitt and Schmidt, meanwhile, heard from senior Obama administration officials that Libya did approve the raids, contrary to the Libyan governments’ recent remarks.

Politico’s Josh Gerstein discusses Deputy National Security Advisor Lisa Monaco’s appearance on PBS Newshour, in which she labeled al-Ruqai as a “member” of al Qaeda, but did not go so far as to say that he is an “operational leader,” nor did she agree that he posed an “imminent” threat, two key requirements for a targeted killing strike.

The Miami Herald’s Carol Rosenberg presents the history of U.S. interrogations at sea post-9/11, to provide some context. The Times’s Benjamin Weiser tells us that Manhattan’s chief federal public defender wants al-Ruqai to receive a lawyer.

Among the White House’s top military goals is to help build a Somali army that can take on the Islamist militants who laid siege to the Kenyan mall. That’s what the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs said on the Hill yesterday.

The White House will likely cut significantly military aid to Egypt in response to  the surge in violence, write Mark Landler and Michael Gordon at the Times.

The CIA is calling back thousands of furloughed employees, writes Greg Miller in the Washington Post

The government shutdown’s effects are taking their toll on the judiciary as well. While the D.C. Circuit rejected the government’s motion to postpone certain oral arguments scheduled for next week, the DOJ and technology companies asked for an extension to turn in filings in those disclosure request cases with the FISC. Kate Tummarello explains at The Hill.

The House intelligence committee, meanwhile, is pushing through a legislative proposal that would preserve existing surveillance powers of the NSA. That story is also at The Hill.

NSA’s problems in its Utah data farm have been “mitigated,” reports NPR.

There seems to be non-surveillance, non-shutdown legislative activity as well: Senator Saxby Chambliss plans to introduce bipartisan cybersecurity legislation similar to CISPA, the House-approved bill recommending information sharing between government and the private sector. The Hill has more, yet again.

Tony Romm gripes at Politico at the lack of progress on cybersecurity legislation. How about the lack of progress on, well, everything?

Also in the world of cyber activities, Congressman Mac Thornberry went on the record to discuss the President’s authority to conduct cyberattacks: he wants Obama to consult with the first branch of government regarding the rules of engagement in cyberspace.

And sad news in the world of news tracking comes from Secrecy News: The CIA is terminating support for the Open Source Center for the “World News Connection,” which is available to non-governmental subscribers through the National Technical Information Service. Read Steven Aftergood’s piece on the significance of this policy change.

Matthew Rosenberg writes in the Times regarding Pakistan’s non-release of a Taliban co-founder, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. The Pakistani government had agreed to release him from detention last month as part of an effort to re-launch peace talks, but he remains in Pakistani hands.

Mexican authorities arrested thirteen of their country’s police officers, who are alleged to have engaged in a kidnapping and murder gang in Acapulco.

The drone industry may be taking off here in the U.S. of A., but Europe’s industry isn’t doing so hot. David Pearson explores why in the Wall Street Journal.

If the GOP can’t agree on terms to reopen the federal government, then Democratic members of Congress can protest their branch’s other non-action, right? It seems that 8 Congressional Democrats were arrested in a rather large immigration protest outside of the Capitol. Julia Preston names names in the Times.

Email the Lawfare Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Visit the Lawfare Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings at the Lawfare Job Board.

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