Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Raffaela Wakeman
Tuesday, April 3, 2012, 11:24 AM

Dina Temple-Raston interviews Brig. Gen. Mark Martins on the  military commissions on today's Morning Edition.

In case you were wondering why your internet browser hasn't gotten you to Al Qaeda's websites recently, Ellen Nakashima and Joby Warrick at the Washington Post will ease your fears that it could be your fault. It appears that the Al Qaeda sites have been hacked.

Late last week, the National Science Advisory Board met to reconsider its January decision to discourage publication of research on the lethal strain of avian flu that was engineered from seeing the light of day. David Brown in the Washington Post reported over the weekend that the Board reversed its decision, and suggested that there were two facts that helped flip the vote:

One is that the papers don’t provide step-by-step directions for how to make the engineered H5N1 strain. Specifically, they don’t provide a final list of mutations that made the bird flu easily transmissible in mammals, which it isn’t naturally.


The second fact is that new surveillance shows that “wild” H5N1 viruses circulating in chicken flocks overseas contain mutations similar to ones in the lab-engineered strains. Consequently, publishing the papers would give public health officials information that would help them identify wild H5N1 strains evolving in an especially dangerous direction.

Yesterday marked the official U.S. handover of Parwan detention facility to the Afghan government. Carlo Munoz at The Hill reports.

Richard Leiby at the Post has more on the story of the conviction of Bin Laden's wives and daughters in Pakistan.

There was another drone strike over the weekend in North Waziristan.

Eric Schmitt and Ian Austin at the New York Times reported late last week on the U.S. government's confirmation that a Canadian naval officer was passing intelligence to Russia in breach of the "Five Eyes" alliance (which is composed of the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand). He will be the first person to be charged under the  Security of Information Act.

The New American reports that a number of journalists and commentators have filed suit against the government over the detention provisions of the NDAA. The article quotes the complaint, which says that:

The Homeland Battlefield Bill [NDAA] is sufficiently broad as to include within its scope Plaintiff’s writings and journalistic endeavors that have the effect of conveying, promoting or disseminating the ideas, philosophy and program of organizations, persons and entities in a state of hostility with the United States since September 11, 2001 or with organizations, persons and entities allied or associated with persons in a state of hostilities as defined under the AUMF and the Homeland Battlefield Bill.
Accordingly, Plaintiff as a result of his journalistic endeavor and profession, is in jeopardy of detention under the Homeland Battlefield Bill because he produces material, an example of which is set forth, supra, that may be deemed within the scope of “substantially” or “directly” supporting persons, organizations, entities and their associates, allies and colleagues, who are in a state of hostility with the United States.

And commentators aren't the only ones--Fox News reports that members in the House are considering revising the detention provisions.

Add SecDef Panetta to the growing list of those lamenting political dysfunction:

“Dysfunction in Washington ... threatens our security and raises questions about the capacity of our democracy to respond to crisis.”

The DOJ has offered a $10 million bounty on Hafiz Sayeed, the leader of Lashkar-i-Taiba, which is believed to be behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The Obama administration arrested more than 3,100 immigrants in a six-day sweep focusing on people in the country illegally who were "convicted of serious crimes or otherwise considered fugitives or threats to national security," reports Fox News.

Over in the UK, citizens and lawmakers alike are protesting the government's plan to allow intelligence and security services the ability to monitor communications of all British citizens. Alan Cowell at the New York Times reports.

Read our last news roundup here. For more interesting law and security-related articles, follow us on Twitter, visit the Georgetown Center on National Security and the Law’s Security Law Brief, Fordham Law’s Center on National Security’s Morning Brief, and Fordham Law’s Cyber Brief. Email us noteworthy articles we may have missed at [email protected] and  [email protected].