Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Ritika Singh
Thursday, August 1, 2013, 12:21 PM

In breaking news, Edward Snowden is no longer holed up in an airport terminal---he has been granted asylum for one year in Russia.  Several Latin American countries had granted Snowden's request for permanent asylum earlier, but he was unable to travel. Here are USA Today, The Guardian’s live blog, the Washington Post, and the New York Times on the story.

Jerry Markon of the Post sat down with Edward Snowden’s father to speak about all things related to his son.

As Ben just posted, NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander spoke at a cybersecurity convention in Las Vegas. After offering a full-throated defense of the NSA’s surveillance programs, he said that if the community disagreed with what the NSA was doing, it should help to make it better. Laurie Segall of CNN has more, as does Meghashyam Mali of the Hill.

Jameel Jaffer and Brett Max Kaufman of the ACLU discuss the terms NSA officials use---and what the words really mean---in Slate.

There has been much coverage of yesterday’s Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on the NSA phone records program, where Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) expressed deep skepticism about its efficacy. Here are the Times, the Post, the Hill, and the Wall Street Journal with the details.

While the hearing was underway, Glenn Greenwald published details on the Guardian’s website about XKeyscore, another NSA program Edward Snowden obtained information about. This program allegedly allows the Agency to conduct wide-ranging surveillance of almost everything one does on the Internet---emails, chats, browsing history, and more---with no prior authorization. Here are the NSA slides Snowden leaked. Shane Harris of Foreign Policy also discusses the program, as does Amy Davidson at the New Yorker.

The NSA attempted to fend for itself with this press release on XKeyscore.

The Times editorial board argues that the three documents released by the Obama administration yesterday “clarified nothing of importance.” The Post editorial board, meanwhile, says that the administration should preemptively declassify in order to promote accountability.

Pfc. Bradley Manning’s sentencing began today. Retired Army Brig. Gen. Robert A. Carr was the government’s first witness, reports Richard A. Serrano of the Los Angeles Times. CNN speculates on how many years he will serve in prison, and what’s next for Manning.

The Times’s Room for Debate blog asks: “So will the outcome of the Manning trial have ramifications in other cases?How significant is this week’s verdict?” Check out the views of James C. Goodale, a first amendment lawyer, Faiza Patel of NYU’s Brennan center, Elizabeth L. Hillman of the National Institute for Military Justice, and Ben Wizner of the ACLU.

Speaking of all these leakers and leaks, remember James Rosen, the Fox News reporter accused of leaking highly-classified information about North Korea? Josh Gerstein of Politico informs us that lawyers for Stephen Kim, Rosen’s source, are looking into information that “the leak may have originated with or been compounded by top White House officials.”

John Kerry is in Islamabad for meetings with Pakistan’s new prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, as well as other high-ranking government representatives. No surprises as to what they’re discussing. The AP has more here and here, as does the BBC.

Ronald E. Neumann, former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, and Vanda Felbab-Brown, a senior fellow at Brookings, argue in an op-ed in the Post that the Afghan election in April of 2014 will be “a major bellwether of success, or failure, in the United States’ longest war.”

Kenneth Pollack of Brookings has released this must-read report entitled The Fall and Rise and Fall of Iraq.

In this extraordinary story, the BBC reports on efforts by French soldiers to secretly film their time in captivity in a German POW camp during WWII:

Risking death, they recorded it on a secret camera built from parts that were smuggled into the camp in sausages.

The prisoners had discovered that German soldiers would only check food sent in by cutting it down the middle. The parts were hidden in the ends.

The camera they built was concealed in a hollowed-out dictionary from the camp library. The spine of the book opened like a shutter. The 8mm reels on which the film was stored were then nailed into the heels of their makeshift shoes.

It gives an incredible insight into living conditions within the camp. The scant food they were given, the searches conducted without warning by the German soldiers. They filmed it all, even the searches, right under the noses of their guards.

And, who knew about the effect Edward Snowden would have on the price of broccoli or roses? From Hadas Gold of Politico, it’s Today’s Moment of Zen.

For more interesting law and security-related articles, follow us on Twitter, visit the Georgetown Center on National Security and the Law’s Security Law Brief, Syracuse’s Institute for National Security & Counterterrorism’s newsroll and blog, and Fordham Law’s Center on National Security’s Morning Brief and Cyber Brief. Email Raffaela Wakeman and Ritika Singh noteworthy articles to include, visit the Lawfare Events Calendar for upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings at the Lawfare Job Board