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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 10:09 AM

The world mourns Nelson Mandela’s passing today. A memorial service was held in Soweto, South Africa.

Members of the House and Senate armed services committees have reached a deal regarding the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act. Earlier today, I noted some GTMO-related provisions agreed upon by the group. Here are a few stories: New York TimesNational Journal, Washington Post, The Hill, and Huffington Post.

Andy Worthington has a lengthy piece in Al Jazeera about the “secretive” Periodic Review Boards, which assess the detention-worthy-ness of individual Guantanamo detainees.

Those aching for an account of the legal authority for the latest surveillance program leaked by Edward Snowden—collecting cell phone location data—should read Ellen Nakashima’s Monday story in the Post.

Time writes about the economic impact of the Snowden leaks on tech companies. Recall the proposed Wyden amendment to the 2014 NDAA, which would require a quantitative assessment of this very issue. Meanwhile, The Hill reports on tech companies’ warnings about their future in foreign markets.

Jane flagged this interesting story already: the Washington Post’s take on the revelation that the intelligence community is monitoring the virtual gaming world.

In Yemen, a drone strike killed three people; Bill Roggio discusses at Long War Journal.

And in Connecticut, two defendants recently extradited from the UK and charged with providing material support will appear in court today, explains the AP.

Al Jazeera, meanwhile, reports on Abu Qatada, the Islamic cleric extradited from the UK to Jordan to face charges of conspiracy to commit terrorist attacks; he says he is innocent.

In a significant development, Israel, Jordan, and Palestine are within striking distance of an agreement to share water resources, says Reuters.

And big surprise here: Chinese hackers are being tied to cyber breaches of Central and Eastern European foreign ministries, writes Nicole Perlroth of the Times.

On to bitcoin. The New York Times Room for Debate topic du jour is whether physical cash is on the decline. Peter Henning writes in the Times about the now well-known challenges of enforcing existing laws as they pertain to bitcoin transactions.

Gerald Ferguson of BakerHostetler writes in Information Week on the importance of the private sector’s consideration of the NIST cybersecurity framework. It was released in draft form earlier this fall and will be finalized in February.

And negotiations over the Trans Pacific Partnership continue, despite significant gaps in the parties’ viewpoints about the would-be trade agreement, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Both houses of Congress have renewed a ban on plastic guns, according to this NPR story.

President Obama provided an official answer to the longstanding question about the existence of Area 51. It’s a yes, in case you didn’t hear.  The truth is out there, man.

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