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Posts by Clara Spera

Clara Spera is a first-year student at Harvard Law School, where she is a Senior Editor of the National Security Journal. She previously worked as a national security research intern at the Brookings Institution. Prior to law school, she also interned at the Legal Resources Centre in Durban, South Africa, at the American Civil Liberties Union, and worked as a research assistant at Columbia Law School. She graduated with an M.Phil from the University of Cambridge in 2014, and with a B.A. from the University of Chicago in 2012.

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, March 23, 2015 at 9:40 AM

American troops are evacuating Yemen. The AP reports that the evacuation came as Al Qaeda militants seized the southern city of al-Houta, near the American al-Annad air base, where around 100 American soldiers were stationed. The New York Times describes the evacuation as the “latest blow in the Obama administration’s counterterrorism campaign.” The Wall Street . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Friday, March 20, 2015 at 10:44 AM

The negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program have stalled. The Times tells us that the parties—Iran and the United States, Russia, China, France, United Kingdom and Germany —haven’t made much headway when it comes to the number of operational centrifuges Iran would be able to retain.  One unnamed European diplomat is quoted as saying that the . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, March 9, 2015 at 9:10 AM

Friday, the Pentagon announced that Iraqi troops pushed back Islamic State militants from the town of Al Baghdadi, an important IS stronghold, located a few miles away from a U.S. Marine air base. The Hill explains that the U.S.-led coalition helped the Iraqi forces by launching several airstrikes in the region, as well as providing surveillance and . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 8:33 AM

Tensions between the United Kingdom and Germany may be on the rise as a result of Germany’s ongoing parliamentary inquiry into foreign spying. The Telegraph explains that the parliamentary official charged with heading the investigation, Mr. Patrick Sensburg, believes that his phone has been hacked by British intelligence services. In other spying news, new Snowden . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, February 23, 2015 at 10:50 AM

Nuclear talks between the United States and Iran continued today in Geneva. The New York Times points out that these talks are the first time that the “top nuclear officials” from both nations have joined their diplomatic counterparts at the negotiating table. But there may be a bump in the road. Bloomberg informs us that, . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, February 2, 2015 at 9:40 AM

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) executed Kenji Goto, a Japanese hostage, over the weekend. The Los Angeles Times reports on the atrocity. The Atlantic tells us more about Goto’s life and work. The BBC covers Japan’s reaction to the country’s recent tragedy. Here’s Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s short but pointed statement. . . .
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Declassified FISA Court Orders Fill in History of NSA Warrantless Surveillance

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Friday, January 30, 2015 at 8:30 AM

Some key news from earlier in the week: The New York Times obtained two previously classified rulings of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) from May and August 2007. Authored by Judge Roger Vinson (a district court judge who has since left the FISC), the pair were handed to the Times in response to a FOIA lawsuit.  The Times’ Charlie . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, January 26, 2015 at 9:47 AM

President Obama arrived in India over the weekend. Al Jazeera explains that the president’s visit is a landmark and unprecedented one, as it is the first time a sitting president has visiting India twice. Reuters tells us that it didn’t take long for President Obama to make headway in in India: on Sunday, the president . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, January 12, 2015 at 9:42 AM

More developments on the situation in France: 1.5 million people gathered in Paris on Sunday, and were joined by another 3 million people around the globe, in response to the Charlie Hebdo killings. The Washington Post described the scene in Paris: French President François Hollande led the crowd, joined by German German Chancellor Angela Merkel, . . .
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To Die Standing Up

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Thursday, January 8, 2015 at 9:47 AM

“I would rather die standing up than live on my knees,” so presciently declared Stéphane Charbonnier in response to “friendly” suggestions that he tone down his provocative commentary satirizing religious fanaticism. Yesterday in Paris, at the marches following the attack that left twelve employees of the publication Charlie Hebdo dead in their office, protestors stood up, carrying signs with . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, January 5, 2015 at 11:01 AM

A U.S. drone strike killed between six and nine suspected militants in northwest Pakistan yesterday. Reuters has the story. The Daily Beast reveals, after obtaining an internal U.S. Air Force service memo, that the military does not have enough manpower to operate its drone fleet and fulfill the demands of the Pentagon. Calls for the number . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, December 29, 2014 at 9:34 AM

On the night before Christmas eve, the National Security Agency quietly released hundreds of surveillance-related documents, some of which describe the inadvertent targeting of U.S. citizens. We’ve begun and will continue to cover the document dump. In the meantime, here’s coverage from the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, and Bloomberg, the first to report on the story. . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, December 22, 2014 at 11:04 AM

The news of President Obama’s plans to normalize relations with Cuba took firmer shape over the weekend. The Wall Street Journal tells us that the president’s plan faces strong opposition in Congress, led by Senator Marco Rubio. Jeffrey Goldberg at the Atlantic, however, argues that in the long run, President Obama’s plan will be justified . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, December 1, 2014 at 10:59 AM

The U.S.-led coalition to fight back the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq struck Raqqa, an IS stronghold in Syria, hard last night.  CNN reports at least thirty airstrikes were launched against the city, as confirmed both by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based organization, and by rebels on the ground. The United . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, November 24, 2014 at 10:32 AM

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will step down from his post, according to the New York Times. Hagel will do so “under pressure” from the administration, but the exact reasons are still unclear. Per the Times: The officials described Mr. Obama’s decision to remove Mr. Hagel, 68, as a recognition that the threat from the Islamic State would require . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, November 17, 2014 at 8:01 AM

The Islamic State has executed another American hostage. This weekend, ISIS released a video documenting the beheading of humanitarian aid worker and former Army Ranger, Peter Kassig, also known by is Muslim name, Abdul-Rahman Kassig. The New York Times reports that President Obama was quick to condemn the “act of pure evil.” Some outlets have picked . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, November 10, 2014 at 10:08 AM

The United States carried out a series of airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria this weekend. The New York Times reports that the strikes hit “a convoy of 10 armed trucks of the Islamic State … as well as vehicles and two of the group’s checkpoints near the border with Syria.” Per the AP, it is . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 9:43 AM

A new set of monitoring guidelines for people arriving to the United States from West Africa has been put in place by the federal government. The New York Times reports on new measures that are supposed to prevent Ebola from entering into the United States.  Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal further explains the new Center for . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, October 20, 2014 at 11:14 AM

The US-led coalition fighting against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) launched new airstrikes in Kobani, a Syrian town along the Syrian-Turkish border. Reuters reports on the airstrikes. CNN reports that at least 70 ISIS militants were brought to a western Syrian hospital over the weekend, a direct result of the US-led airstrikes in . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, October 6, 2014 at 11:20 AM

CNN has put together a kind of “family tree” that helps us understand how ISIS is organized. The structure of the organization is expanding, and looking more and more like a country’s executive structure, as opposed to a confused terrorist organization, perhaps lending credibility to its name, the Islamic State. The New York Times reports . . .
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