Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Raffaela Wakeman
Thursday, December 29, 2011, 12:08 PM

Headlines and Commentary took a short respite despite the plethora of goings-on this past week, so brace yourself for a lengthy news roundup today, as we go over some of the stuff you may have missed.

Two French soldiers were shot and killed by a man wearing an Afghan army uniform, and shortly thereafter a roadside bomb killed 10 Afghan police officers today. You can read coverage by Ernesto Londono at the Washington Post here, Matthew Rosenberg and Sharifullah Sahak's New York Times story here, and CNN's report here.

I, along with many others, been waiting patiently for President Obama to sign the NDAA, but it still hasn't happened. Still, Medhi Hasan at the Guardian calls the President's civil liberties record abysmal for agreeing to sign the bill. GOP Presidential candidate and Member of Congress Ron Paul assailed the NDAA this week, reports Jonathan Easley at The Hill. Elizabeth Goitein from the Brennan Center has this op-ed in The Hill pleading with President Obama to veto the NDAA. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal's Review & Outlook column notes the "political consensus" surrounding the bill's detention provisions (caution: paywall). Guess the Journal didn't follow the debate very closely.

There is a lot of talk about the order signed by Rear Adm. David Woods requiring a security review of legal mail to those prisoners facing war crimes charges. Ben Fox of the AP covers the story, as does Adam Goldman. Jess Bravin at the Wall Street Journal draws a connection (caution: paywall) between this order and a decision last month by a military judge ordering officials to stop reading Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri's  correspondence with his lawyers.

Yale Professor Bruce Ackerman has this Slate essay discussing the DOD's Inspector General's recently-released report on post-9/11 media outreach by retired military analysts.

In the world of cybersecurity, Stratfor Global Intelligence, a security research group out of Texas, was hacked by Anonymous this past weekend. Read Nicole Perlroth's stories on the Times' Bits blog here and here.

Over at the New York Times, Ben Weiser updates us on the Mohamed Ibrahim Ahmed case. Readers may recall that Ahmed is the Eritrean man who is being tried for providing material support to Al Shabab in Somalia. Weiser reports on testimony by FBI Agent Maged Sidaros regarding Ahmed's alleged "dirty" interrogation in Nigeria.

The AP writes that a British judge has given the U.K. government until January 18th to free Yunus Rahmatullah, a Pakistani man in U.S. custody in Afghanistan. Read the story, courtesy of CBSNews.

Karl Johnson at Time's Battleland blog wonders whether "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is to blame for the Wikileaks fiasco and Bradley Manning's involvement in the document leaks. And the LA Times' Brian Bennett reports on the testimony of computer hacker Adrian Lamo, who testified that Manning told him he had shared the files.

The Chinese news agency Xinhua reports that Iran's Defense Minister has boasted about Iran's defense technology, including its drones, while the AP shares reports that an Iranian surveillance plane has recorded video and still photographs of a U.S. aircraft carrier near a strategic waterway in the Persian Gulf.

Adbel Hakim Belhadj, a Libyan rebel leader, is suing the U.K. over his rendition and  "barbaric" treatment of himself and his wife. Read the Guardian's report here.

Lawyers for al-Nashiri are arguing that his restraints should be removed when he is meeting with his defense lawyers, preparing for his trial.

A few months ago, the AP reported that the New York Police Department has instituted surveillance programs on Muslim communities in the Big Apple. The AP now updates us on the mixed results of those efforts, as well as the news that 34 members of Congress have written a letter calling for an investigation into the relationship between the CIA and the NYPD.

Carol Rosenberg at the Miami Herald finds that Camp Five-Echo, the  disciplinary block in Guantanamo, cost $700,000 to build.

As Sonia noted, a civil suit by former Guantanamo detainee Abdul Razak al Janko was dismissed by D.C. District Court Judge Richard Leon. Read the New American's coverage here and Courthouse News Service's story here,

Drones, drones and more drones. Bobby posted earlier about this Washington Post report by Greg Miller, and Peter Finn wrote this article shortly before Christmas on the history of drones. William Booth at the Post discusses the expansion of the drone fleet responsible for the U.S.-Mexico border. Andrew Shalal-Esa and Tim Hepher of Reuters write on the plans for drone pilots to operate multiple aircraft at the same time, reducing the cost of flying drones significantly. And Conor Friedersdorf over at The Atlantic, building off of Karen DeYoung's drone report a few months back, argues that we should not trust Obama when it comes to drone policy.

DefenseTech indicates that the Navy will launch a kamikaze drone in its annual RIMPAC exercise in 2012. Read Michael Winter at USA Today write on the news here.

Tarek Mehanna was convicted, as Bobby reported earlier. Read the Boston Globe's coverage here. On the heels of that conviction, Wendy Kaminer at The Atlantic mulls over whether military courts are soft on terrorist suspects.

Theophilus Maranga is suing Delta Air Lines, Air France, and the convicted underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab for $10M for negligence over injuries sustained when he jumped on Abdulmutallab to stop him from setting off the bomb. Read the AP report here.

Even though the U.S. has withdrawn from Iraq, the biometric database containing information on more than 3 million Iraqis will remain in U.S. hands. Spencer Ackerman at Wired's Danger Room blog keeps us all informed.

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 we may have missed at [email protected].