Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Ritika Singh
Friday, November 2, 2012, 1:50 PM

Lots of Libya news before the weekend. Greg Miller at the Washington Post reports on the breaking news about the CIA’s response and rescue efforts in the immediate aftermath of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. According to officials, “[t]he agency mobilized the evacuation effort, took control of an unarmed U.S. military drone to map possible escape routes, dispatched an emergency security team from Tripoli, the capital, and chartered aircraft that ultimately carried surviving American personnel to safety.” Eric Schmitt of the New York Times also gives us an account of the CIA’s role, and Adam Entous, Siobhan Gorman, and Margaret Coker of the Wall Street Journal have more on the story.

Judah Grunstein, editor in chief of World Politics Review, argues in this op-ed in the Times that

Not every guy with a gun and a grievance is a terrorist. Those responsible for the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi were operating locally, for largely local objectives, and they threaten neither Americans nor America. So while Americans should feel outraged by the attack, it would be absurd for them to feel terrorized by it.

David Ignatius of the Post says that “[w]hile there were multiple errors that led to the final tragedy, there’s no evidence that the White House or CIA leadership deliberately delayed or impeded rescue efforts.”

Let this next story be a reminder of the absurdities that can arise when dealing with terrorist groups. Huma Yusuf reports in the Times that Hafiz Saeed, the Lashkar-e-Taiba leader who has a $10 million bounty on his head, released a statement earlier this week offering humanitarian aid and supplies to the United States in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Recall that this is the man who is wanted for being the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, in which Americans were killed, and who frequently speaks at anti-American rallies in Pakistan. Check out the Twitter exchange between the US Embassy in Islamabad and Jamaat-ud-Dawa, LeT’s charitable arm.

US Embassy Islamabad @usembislamabad

We respect the Islamic tradition of help to the needy, but we can’t take Hafiz Saeed’s offer seriously.

31 Oct 12

US Embassy Islamabad @usembislamabad

Saaed is wanted for suspected involvement in the Mumbai attacks, which killed 166. JuD is a UN&US-designated terrorist org.

31 Oct 12

Jamat 'ud' Da'wah @JuD_Official

@usembislamabad Our offer was precisely due to the seriousness of the matter. We hope Muslims in #US will keep the tradition alive.Inshallah

31 Oct 12

You may remember a Rezwan Ferdaus of Ashland, MA, who pled guilty to a plot to fly model airplanes into the Pentagon and Capitol building. He was just sentenced to 17 years in prison as part of a plea deal, says Brian Ballou of the Boston Globe.

Carlos Munoz of the Hill tells us that CIA Director David Petraeus is meeting Egyptian military and intelligence officials to discuss U.S.-Egyptian counterterrorism cooperation and the rising threat of the country’s---and region’s---growing Islamist groups.

The Institute for the Study of War has released this study on the oft-discussed “green-on-blue” attacks. The study “includes density maps showing the geographic distribution of insider attacks in the provinces and districts of Afghanistan, graphs that place data about green-on-blue attacks in context, and charts examining trends in green-on-blue violence.” Speaking of which, another insider attack killed four Afghan policemen, says the Associated Press.

From the Department of This is Never Going to Happen: The Associated Press reports that lawyers for the five Guantanamo Bay defendants have written a letter to SecDef Panetta asking for televised broadcasts of the 9/11 trial.

The Post editorial board argues that the U.S. drone war demands “greater disclosure, more political accountability, more checks and balances and more collaboration with allies.”

Hussain Haqqani, ex-Pakistani ambassador to the United States has an op-ed in the Post about why the United States needs Muslim allies moving forward.

Jill Dougherty of CNN’s Security Clearance blog reports that the State Department is identifying Syrians who have leadership qualities and “bringing them to the attention” of the opposition in an attempt to bolster the movement against President Assad. That’s behind the scenes leadership.

And, even if Hurricane Sandy ruined your Halloween, let this awe-inspiring video make you look forward to next year: it’s today’s Moment of Pumpkin Zen.

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