Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Ritika Singh
Thursday, May 22, 2014, 12:23 PM

President Obama has sent 80 U.S. troops to Chad to help the Nigerian government locate the 200 kidnapped schoolgirls. Keeping in line with the War Powers Resolution, here is the President's letter to Congress.

It was only a matter of time: After almost half a year of political turmoil in Thailand, the Thai military finally intervened in the current crisis this morning, declaring a coup. Martial law was imposed earlier this week, and media freedoms were curtailed in an effort to control debate. Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, the head of the army, insisted that it wasn't a coup at the time and summoned the leaders of all sides to the negotiating table. Talks were supposed to continue today.  Instead, the participants found themselves detained as a coup d'etat was announced.

In news from other countries with over-enthusiastic militaries, Pakistan's military says it has killed 60 alleged militants in aerial raids in North Waziristan---the worst such strikes in recent months. The BBC and the New York Times report.

Bruce Riedel believes that newly-elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Obama should make counterterrorism their top security priority---specifically, the two countries should cooperate on bringing down Lakshaar-e-Taiba.

Barbara Starr of CNN informs us that there has been a steady "threat stream" from Al Qaeda groups to attack American and Western targets, which has gotten the intelligence community worried.

Remember Syria? Jonathan Stevenson, a professor at the United States Naval War College, has an op-ed in the Times describing the importance of providing covert assistance to the Syrian opposition.

There's a lot going on in Congress: The House of Representatives is expected to vote soon on an NSA reform bill. The Judiciary and Intelligence Committees approved a compromise bill last week, but closed-door negotiations with the Obama administration led to changes in the legislation that have angered privacy advocates. Ben breaks down the proposal, and Charlie Savage of the New York Times and Siobhan Gorman of the Wall Street Journal have stories.

The House is also expected to vote on the NDAA today, after members debated amendments late into the night. Adam Smith (D-WA) introduced an amendment to end Guantanamo detainee transfer restrictions and make moves toward closing the prison---which the White House strongly supported---but it was defeated. Adam Schiff (D-CA) introduced an amendment to sunset the AUMF, which was also defeated this morning.

The White House threatened to veto the NDAA if Congress passes a bill that places further restrictions on the Obama administration's ability to close the prison, says Josh Gerstein of Politico.

Nancy Pelosi appointed five Democrats to the House special committee investigating the Benghazi attacks.

David Barron's confirmation vote is scheduled for 2 pm today after the Senate voted to advance his nomination yesterday. Sorry, Rand Paul.

The Journal editorial board discusses David Barron's nomination, arguing that his "liberal judicial philosophy" is the real problem.

Wells gave us the details from yesterday's hunger strike hearing at which U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler ruled that the government had to turn over videotapes documenting Guantanamo detainee Abu Wa'el Dhiab's force-feeding. Here is the Guardian with the story.

The FBI is officially closing its investigation into a member of a defense team at Guantanamo Bay.

Karen De Young assesses how many of President Obama counterterrorism policies have stalled or haven't even begun a year after his National Defense University speech.

Eli Lake of the Daily Beast describes the clash between President Obama's push to scale down the War on Terror and the intelligence community's objections.

Another op-ed worth checking out in the Times, this one from Jacob Wood and Ken Harbaugh, both former military members who served in Afghanistan. They discuss the rise of drone warfare, and believe that "our military leadership has become so enamored of the technological mystique of drones that they have lost touch with the realities of the modern battlefield."

And, in truly bad taste, Cannes filmmakers have announced that they are making a thriller based on the disappearance of MH370.

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