Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Ritika Singh
Thursday, November 17, 2011, 7:36 PM

First, NDAA news: the Associated Press reports on the letter Defense Secretary Leon Panetta wrote to the Senate Armed Services Committee expressing serious concerns with the detainee provisions in the bill, as does Adam Serwer of Mother Jones. The Hill informs us that Senate Majority leader Harry Reid "dial[ed] up the pressure" to move the legislation forward. Ben and Bobby have discussed the matter at length here, here and here.

In Iraq news, Secretary Panetta and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff encountered harsh criticism from Republicans about the United States withdrawal from Iraq, says the New York Times. Senator John McCain had quite a few testy remarks for Panetta, and this video of them sparring at Tuesday's Senate Armed Services Committee hearing has gone viral. Meanwhile, the Times also reports that unemployment is soaring in some places in Iraq because, well, the Americans left.

Meanwhile, Pakistan's ambassador to Washington, Hussain Haqqani, has offered to resign after Mansoor Ijaz, a Pakistani-American businessman alleged that Haqqani asked him to appeal to Admiral Mike Mullen for help to stop a revolt by Pakistani officers angered by the U.S. strike that killed bin Laden, reports Bloomberg.

The Times has more on Afghan President Hamid Karzai's speech at the opening of the loya jirga (grand assembly), in which he provided conditions for the ongoing U.S.-Afghanistan partnership. Two rockets were fired at the site, probably by the Taliban, according to the AP.

The Politico informs us that a Muslim advocacy group that submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for the entire text of the FBI’s main investigative manual isn’t going to get to get it. U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan’s ruling on the matter is available here. In related news, the Guardian describes the growing controversy behind FBI entrapment cases.

Air Force General Robert Kehler, head of U.S. Strategic Command, said that the United States has a "legal framework in place to cover offensive operations in cyberspace," according to Reuters. Another Reuters piece tells us that the United States reserves the right to retaliate with military force to counter a cyber attack if it deems necessary. Those who noticed Lawfare's two-hour outage the other day will surely agree that kinetic military retaliation against those responsible would be appropriate--though attribution remains a problem.

Not all that much terrorist trial news today. FBI special agent Brad Davis testified at Tarek Mehanna's trial about an interview he conducted with Mehanna concerning why the defendant had traveled to Yemen. Federal prosecutors allege that it was for terrorism training, while Mehanna's lawyers claim it was to further his religious education, reports the Boston Globe.

David Ignatius writes from the United Arab Emirates about the reaction in the Middle East--or lack thereof--to the Republican candidates' statements on national security policy from Saturday's debate in South Carolina: "Perhaps it’s a sign that foreigners don’t take U.S. politics very seriously, but the inflammatory talk created barely a ripple in this part of the world."

And a reader, inspired by yesterday's Moment of Zen Disgust, sent in today's Moment of Zen:

Zawahiri's video reminds one of the scene in The Producers in which Franz Liebkind, the author of Springtime for Hitler, talks about his wanting people to know the real Fuhrer--

Liebkind: You know, not many people knew about it, but the Fuhrer vas a terrific dancer. . . Hitler vas better looking than Churchill, he vas a better dresser than Churchill, he had more hair, he told funnier jokes, and he could dance the pants off Churchill!

Bialystock: That's exactly why we want to produce this play. To show the world the true Hitler, the Hitler you loved, the Hitler you knew, the Hitler with a song in his heart.

For more interesting law and security-related articles, follow us on Twitter, and visit the Georgetown Center on National Security and the Law’s Security Law Brief as well as the Fordham Law Center on National Security's Morning Brief. Feel free to email me noteworthy articles I may have missed at