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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Friday, February 14, 2014 at 11:22 AM

Yesterday, Ritika and Yishai told you about the NSA memo that reveals that Edward Snowden used the login information of a civilian employee of the NSA to gain access to classified documents. A group of Senators has since released a report claiming that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is unable to monitor and account for “core” intelligence contractors.  Read more about it in The Hill.  

The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf comments on the “selective outrage” he has observed regarding national security leaks in the United States. Why are we so angry over Snowden’s revelations, but not others that have come after?  On that point, Friedersdorf calls Chris Donesa’s recent piece here on Lawfare “refreshing,” given its critique of officials who reveal sensitive information about U.S. intelligence capabilities.

Afghan President Karzai isn’t keeping quiet about the increasingly tense relationship between the United States and Afghanistan. By now you know President Karzai earlier ordered the release of 65 prisoners captured by United States forces. Now, the Pentagon has released a dossier with details of each detainee held in Bagram—highlighting just how dangerous the U.S. government thinks these people are. The Washington Post has also published a list of past prisoners who were released and then found to have returned to fight for the Taliban. The Post lastly has a useful Q&A regarding the prisoner release.

The U.N. has called on the United States and Russia to help move Syrian peace talks along. The discussions in Geneva have been deadlocked since earlier in the week, with very little progress to report. Meanwhile, the U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs has suggested that the Security Council pass a resolution to stop “flagrant violation of humanitarian laws” in Syria. But, with Russia and China reluctant to impose sanctions on the Syrian government, it is unlikely that any resolution of substance will pass through the Council. The Times has more on the Security Council situation, as well as American and Russian involvement in the Syrian conflict.

A Pakistani anti-drone campaigner was released from detention after having been abducted from his home last week. Karim Khan was seized just outside of Islamabad on February 5, only days before he was scheduled to testify before the European Parliament about U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan. It remains unclear who abducted Khan.

Paul told you about the recently released NIST Cybersecurity Framework. Wyatt Kash of InformationWeek has penned a piece explaining why NIST’s new guidelines should be taken very seriously, and as more than just a suggestion.

The alleged victim in a closely-watched Navy sexual assault case is seeking to prevent a military court from reviewing—and potentially disclosing to the defense—the victim’s counseling records.  Read more in the Post.  

Secretary of State Kerry has asked China to help reign in the cantankerous North Korean regime and to bring the country back to the table for nuclear disarmament talks. According to the Globe and Mail, Kerry met with Chinese President Xi Jinping this morning to ask him reinforce his commitment to managing the North Korean threat.

The Kenyan Cabinet Secretary accused the United States of funding anti-government protests in Nairobi, according to the BBC. The United States vehemently denies any involvement in the violence, or of trying to influence the upcoming Kenyan elections.

Should big-time political donors, who lack experience in or knowledge of foreign lands, nevertheless receive ambassadorial posts?  The Post explores the question.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of our dear readers. If you’re frantically looking to purchase some flowers last minute, you’ll have to look to other delivery methods than the drones operated by a Detroit-based florist.  The FAA has rejected the latter’s bid to have robots carry flowers from shop to sweetheart.

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