Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Ritika Singh
Thursday, June 6, 2013, 1:33 PM

Let’s begin with the news everyone did a huge double take when they came across: the NSA’s collection of Verizon customers’ phone records for a three month period. BenSteve and Wells offer their thoughts on the whopper of a story that Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian broke yesterday. Check out the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, The Hill, and the Wall Street Journal for detailed coverage.

Raffaela posted the government’s official talking points on the story, and The Hill reports on one administration official’s defense of the seizure of phone records: “It allows counter terrorism personnel to discover whether known or suspected terrorists have been in contact with other persons who may be engaged in terrorist activities, particularly people located inside the United States.”

Manning Watch: David Dishneau of the Associated Press reports on the third day of Pfc. Bradley Manning’s trial, at which his colleagues and supervisors testified, and Eyder Peralta of National Public Radio has this “Short(ish) Guide to Understanding the Case.” And Julian Assange posted this statement on WikiLeaks about Manning’s trial, too.

As I noted yesterday, Staff. Sgt. Robert Bales pleaded guilty to killing sixteen Afghan civilians last year and will not face the death penalty. The Times and Post have more on the case.

Cristy Lenz of CNN tells us that the father of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl---the only U.S. prisoner of war captured by the Taliban in 2009---revealed that the family had received a letter from their son through the Red Cross.

The Post editorial board speculates about whether Susan Rice’s appointment to replace Tom Donilon as President Obama’s National Security Advisor could signal a more activist U.S. foreign policy. Rice is well known, they say, for her “past advocacy of robust American action to protect humanitarian interests and human rights.”

Mark Landler of the Times says that Susan Rice and Samantha Power are both “prominent advocates of liberal interventionism” but “neither. . .has spoken out publicly in favor of a more aggressive American response to the blood bath in Syria.”

The Post editorial board also has this piece about America’s increasingly assertive rebukes of Chinese hacking practices---and what President Obama should discuss with President Xi Jinping in thier much-anticipated meeting tomorrow.

Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald reports that U.S. Southern Command has requested extra guards for Guantanamo Bay---partly due to the ongoing hunger strike at the prison, which has most detainees under lockdown, and partly due to the restarting of the 9/11 military commissions hearings.

Ryan Goodman of the Guardian has an op-ed describing why, under the laws of war, force-feeding Guantanamo detainees “violates international law and thus lacks domestic authority.”

The AP covers a hearing in the U.S. District Court yesterday in which lawyers for Guantanamo Bay detainees asked Chief Judge Royce Lamberth to call for a halt to genital searches for detainees who have to travel offsite to meet with their lawyers. The Department of Defense argues that the procedure is simply a routine search for contraband.

The Denver Post editorial board shakes its head at the defense authorization bill drafted by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon, saying that “it directly contradicts President Obama's stated plan to lift a moratorium on transfers to Yemen.” Check out Jack’s thoughts from earlier this week. Wells linked to Chairman McKeon’s mark of the bill.

According to CNN, Zubeidat Tsarnaev, mother of the accused Boston marathon bombers, received a phone call from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in prison. In case you’re wondering, he says he’s being fed rice and chicken and “everything’s fine.”

Speaking of the Boston bombing brothers, Maria Sacchetti of the Boston Globe informs us that, uncharacteristically, the FBI is still keeping mum on the events that led to the shooting of Ibragim Todashev, a friend of Tamerlan’s.

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 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.