Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Raffaela Wakeman
Thursday, September 13, 2012, 1:41 PM

To Libya first: the Economist argues that there actually has been progress in Libya toward peaceful, stable governance. Greg Miller and Michael Birnbaum write in the Washington Post on the lead up to the attacks on the consulate in Bengazi, and Robert Worth writes in the New York Times that the attacks are being viewed as a battle over the direction of the fledgling governments in the Muslim world. Ramsey Cox of The Hill reports on the response from Congress, including remarks by the Three Amigos (aka Senators John McCain, Joseph Lieberman and Lindsay Graham) on the need for continued support of Libya and the Arab world---rather than abandoning it, as some House Republicans have suggested. The New York Times editorial today focuses on the attack as well.

In addition to sending Marines to Libya, the military has deployed two U.S. Navy destroyers to the Libyan coast, says President Obama has also asked the Libyan government to work with the U.S. to "assure the security of our personnel."

Here is the obituary for Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. As many reporters have reminded us, he is the first U.S. ambassador to be killed in a violent attack since 1979.

Here's a New York Times story on that movie that may have helped provoke some of the demonstrations. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey called Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who has expressed his support for the film, asking him to back off. As it turns out, Dempsey did the same a few years ago when Jones was calling for burning Qurans.

Helene Cooper and Mark Landler identify Egypt as a bigger cause for concern than Libya right now.

Anger towards the U.S. has spread to Yemen, with protesters gathering outside the U.S. embassy there. Here's the Times and the Post, which notes that protests have also been reported in Tunisia and Bangladesh.

Glen Kessler writes over at the Post about some misleading reporting by Fox News about the timing of a statement coming out of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and the protests outside of the embassy.

Brandon Webb, a former Navy SEAL, has a lot to say about No Easy Day over at TIME, including the optimistic conclusion that:

Mark Owen may have saved the SEALs from themselves. This book will drive future policy changes that are bound to reduce, or possibly eliminate, the wider world’s access to the SEALs and their missions.

Maybe that means SEALs will be able to go back to being quiet professionals again.

And now that we are in full-campaign 2012 swing, don’t expect Mitt Romney to shy away from injecting criticism of Obama in any newsworthy story. The Times writes on Mitt Romney's response to the President's message yesterday regarding the attacks on the embassy. Romney said Obama's response sent "mixed messages" about the U.S. point of view.

The Somali president, recently elected by the Parliament this week, was targeted in a suicide bombing today, but managed to escape unharmed (an African Union soldier was killed however). Here's the New York Times on that event.

Now that Congress is back from its well-deserved August recess, let's see what members are up to. Senator Ron Wyden has sent a letter to the White House requesting clarity in its executive order on cyber security regarding which companies and organizations exactly are subject to its rules. Said Wyden: "It would be a profound mistake to subject our growing digital economy to onerous new cyber rules and regulations that stifle innovation, creativity, and job growth...Such rules will not serve to combat the real threat to the nation's critical infrastructure and national security."

The House has approved amendments to FISA that authorize intelligence agencies to monitor terrorists without a court order. Here's The Hill and the Post's Ellen Nakashima on the vote.

The White House has threatened to veto a Republican bill that would prevent cuts to the Pentagon's budget.

Congressman Ed Markey has introduced a bill that would require cell phone companies to get consent from cell phone users to install tracking software on their phone. Here's Jennifer Martinez of The Hill on that bill.

Here's an NPR story on the increase in funding to support defense of our southern border.

If that GAO report about vulnerable dirty bomb materials at hospitals didn't make you nervous, here's some recently-disclosed information regarding the 2010 breaking of the National Security Complex in Tennessee from Dana Priest---a determination that the over 200 false alarms a day triggered by animals in the area "numbed guards to the first line of defense."

Andrew Cohen writes in The Atlantic on the death of Adnan Latif. He concludes:

Blocked by the courts, spurned by the president, scorned by lawmakers, Adnan Latif lived in a place wholly unrecognizable to most Americans, even in fiction; a place where men are turned mad by indifference, where flawed evidence is made material by weaselly judges, and where injustice is done in the name of justice. For generations now, all over the world, people will cite this case when they cite the many ways in which America has lost its moral compass in the treatment of the detainees. And it's a disgrace not just because Latif died the way he did, his due process rights a mockery, but because even after his death nothing much under law, or at Guantanamo, is likely to change.

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