Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Ritika Singh
Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 1:07 PM

No, don’t worry, we didn’t forget about you, dear readers. News and commentary just took a day off yesterday. We all need a mid-week vacation sometimes.

Let’s begin by sounding the alarm bell: Mark Mazzetti and David Sanger of the New York Times report that Gen. Keith Alexander, head of Cyber Command, testified at the House Armed Services Committee about the defensive deployment of our cyber troops.  The latter will “carry out offensive cyberattacks on foreign nations[,] if the United States [is] hit with a major attack on its own networks.” Look out, China. Here are the Hill, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. And C-SPAN has the full video of the hearing.

As Paul said yesterday, cybersecurity is the topic that keeps on giving. Here are Matt’s comments on yesterday’s Post editorial arguing for the development of a U.S. cyberstrategy. And the Times reports on National Security Advisor Tom Donilon’s remarks at the Asia Society publically calling out China. Raffaela and Paul have more on that.

But wait! Can it be? Reuters reports that China extended the olive branch to the United States yesterday, offering to discuss cybersecurity issues: “China is willing, on the basis of the principles of mutual respect and mutual trust, to have constructive dialogue and cooperation on this issue with the international community including the United States to maintain the security, openness and peace of the Internet.” I’m really, really not holding my breath.

Yup, people still are talking about it. So I still have to include it. Carlo Munoz of the Hill tells us that Republicans continue to goad the administration on Benghazi.

The Journal reports that the CIA has ramped up its presence in Iraq, in order to crack down on Al Qaeda in Iraq militants who may be aiding the Nusra Front in Syria.

Iran’s relationship with Al Qaeda is showing cracks, says Joby Warrick of the Post; the country appears to be taking a tougher stance on Al Qaeda terrorists within its borders, because of differences between the two sides over conflict in Syria.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai continues his anti-U.S. tantrum. Alissa J. Rubin of the Times says that his recent railing against America reflects a man “desperately trying to shake his widely held image as an American lackey by appealing to nationalist sentiments and invoking Afghanistan’s sovereignty.” The Journal has more.

Predictably, U.S. lawmakers have reacted to Karzai’s comments and allegations harshly. Carlo Munoz of the Hill has this story on Republican outrage.

According to the Military Times, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has ordered a halt to the production of the drone medal instated by his predecessor, Leon Panetta, pending a review of its official rank. Some have begun to refer to it as the “Nintendo medal.” Yikes.

Much hubbub over the TSA’s decision to allow knives on planes. (Do that many people really get stopped because they forget about their Swiss Army knives?) Here is the Post editorial board arguing that the Agency’s decision is reasonable and measured.

Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune writes about some of the concerns about drones that animated Rand Paul’s filibuster.

And, speaking of drones, America’s Finest News Source has this piece that is likely Rand Paul’s worst nightmare: it’s today’s Moment of Zen:

‘You’re My Best Friend,’ Says Obama To Drone That Appears Outside Bedroom Window Every Night

WASHINGTON—White House sources confirmed that after hearing a gentle tap on his window Thursday evening, President Barack Obama stepped out onto the Truman balcony to meet with the predator drone that appears outside his bedroom every night at 9 p.m.

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