Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Raffaela Wakeman
Thursday, September 1, 2011, 12:46 PM

I'm in the process of collecting and posting reviews of and commentary on Vice President Dick Cheney's book that will be of interest to Lawfare readers. If you have found noteworthy ones, please send them to me at

Reuters reports that the Obama administration is in the process of selling Global Hawk drones to South Korea.

As Ben noted yesterday, Peter Finn and Julie Tate at the Washington Post have the scoop on information coming out of court documents from a Hudson, NY court house concerning the CIA's Rendition program. The documents have been made available because of a billing dispute between contractors:

On Aug. 12, 2003, a Gulfstream IV aircraft carrying six passengers took off from Dulles International Airport and flew to Bangkok with fueling stops in Cold Bay, Alaska, and Osaka, Japan.

Before it returned four days later, the plane also touched down in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates and Ireland. As these unusual flights happened, U.S. officials took custody of an Indonesian terrorist, Riduan Isamuddin, who had been captured in Thailand and would spend the next three years being shuttled among secret prisons operated by the CIA.

The Gulfstream IV’s itinerary, as well as the $339,228.05 price tag for the journey, are among the details of shadowy CIA flights that have emerged in a small Upstate New York courthouse in a billing dispute between contractors. The court documents offer a rare glimpse of the costs and operations of the controversial rendition program.

For all the secrecy that once surrounded the CIA program, a significant part of its operation was entrusted to very small aviation companies whose previous experience involved flying sports teams across the country.

Adam Zagorin at Time's Battleland Blog writes on this developing story here, the Guardian covers it here, and Stephen Braun at the AP also has a brief story on this topic.

Over at the Politico, Josh Gerstein reports that Jeffrey Sterling, the CIA officer indicted last year for allegedly leaking intelligence regarding a CIA effort to sabotage the Iranian nuclear program, has filed a request for more information about other potential sources of the leak, including the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's General Counsel at the time, Vicki Divoll. Sterling's lawyers suggest that Divoll was fired from the Committee for leaking information to the New York Times, which Divoll, who was also a lawyer for the CIA and the Clinton White House, denies.

In its most recent annual report on terrorism, the State Department finds that Pakistan is not capable of prosecuting terror suspects (reporting that 3 out of 4 suspects are aquitted). The Telegraph's Dean Nelson writes on the results of the report.

Doug Johnson at PBS's blog The Rundown reports on how the drone strike that killed al Qaeda's second in command last week is increasing animosity between the U.S. and Pakistan, and the disagreement over the number of civilian deaths from drone attacks.

Micah Zenko of the Council on Foreign Relations writes on on whether or not the U.S. overuses drones in warfare.

Scott Shane at the Times covers Wikileaks' most recent release of diplomatic cables, in which it did not redact the names of sources needing special protection, diplomats, and government officials concerned that may put them in danger.

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