Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Ritika Singh
Monday, November 21, 2011, 2:54 PM

A thwarted terrorist plot to kick-start your week: the New York Times reports that a Manhattan man by the name of Jose Pimentel, a convert to Islam, was approximately an hour away from completing at least three bombs to detonate in New York City. Reuters has more, as does the Los Angeles Times. CNN has video of Pimmentel’s arraignment and other fun stuff.

In news from previously-thwarted terrorist plots, a man named Oumar Issa, who hails from Mali and is alleged to be an associate of Al Qaeda, pled guilty in New York last week to a terrorism charge, according to the Sacramento Bee.

On the cheerful subject of successful cyber attacks against critical infrastructure, the Washington Post informs us that a foreign attack caused an Illinois water plant to fail. This story comes days after the Pentagon released this report laying out its cybersecurity strategy and a few weeks after the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive released this report accusing China and Russia of cyberexploitation. The Post has a piece on the steps government agencies and companies are taking to prevent cyberattacks.

Meanwhile, according to the Post, "Bradley Manning, the Army private accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, will appear for the first time in a military courtroom next month."

The United States is "heartened" by the decision of Afghanistan's loya jirga to endorse President Hamid Karzai's plan for a continued U.S. military presence in the country, says the Wall Street Journal.

A Pakistani publication, The News, announces that alleged Al Qaeda commander Abdul Moeedul Islam was killed in a raid in Pakistan on Friday. In related news, two British men suspected of terrorist ties have been killed in a drone strike, reports the Telegraph.

Just what we need: the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports on the appearance of yet another Al Qaeda affiliate: Al Qaeda in the Sinai. On a positive note, Egyptian officials arrested two leading members of the group last week--as well as its head.

National Public Radio has this story by Dina Temple-Raston about Guantanamo, which she describes as "a terrorist museum" following her recent visit there.

U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy Jr. retired on Friday, and Senior Judge Ricardo Urbina will retire in March 2012. Both judges presided over important national security cases, reports the Blog of Legal Times.

After the capture of Barry Bujol, Muslims in Houston are worried about the FBI's investigative tactics in the area, reports the Houston Chronicle.

The Department of Justice has refused to release a key legal opinion regarding the FBI's use of "exigent letters," says Josh Gerstein of the Politico. Office of Legal Counsel attorney Paul Colborn describes the confidentiality concerns in this declaration filed in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. 

Guess where else you can find drones? Patrolling the border. The Associated Press describes how Predator drones are being used to enhance border security, according to Mercury News.

The CIA has been “forced to curtail its spying in Lebanon, where U.S. operatives and their agents collect crucial intelligence on Syria, terrorist groups and other targets, after the arrests of several CIA informants in Beirut this year,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Post editorial board argues that Congress is overreaching on detainee policy, that “the new [detainee] proposals are as problematic as the old and should be scrapped,” and that President Obama should veto the NDAA if the detention provisions remain.

Writing in the Times, Eric Lewis, who litigated a case against the military over interrogation abuses, asserts that the Obama administration hasn’t done enough to prevent the future use of torture by the United States.

Senator Lindsey Graham had a thought-provoking piece in National Review Online, on November 11, describing President Obama’s “strategic errors in the War on Terror” and the administration’s lack of a “comprehensive strategic vision in fighting and winning the War on Terror.”

And here, after all that, is your magical North Korean Moment of Zen.

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 [email protected].