Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Raffaela Wakeman
Wednesday, January 9, 2013, 5:53 PM

Yesterday the judge in the Bradley Manning trial found that the 9 months of solitary confinement he was subjected to was "more rigorous than necessary," and, as a result, credited 112 days toward a future prison sentence. Here's NPR, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the AP on the ruling.

It seems post-2014 troop levels in Afghanistan might dip much lower than NATO estimated. Here's Ernesto Londono and Rajiv Chandrasekaran of the Post on the news that some in the administration are proposing a force of about 2,500. Also check out the Times story based on the media conference call Benjamin Rhodes had on Tuesday about President Karzai's upcoming trip to Washington to discuss troops levels.

How, oh how did those leak prevention provisions get pulled from the Intelligence Authorization Bill, you ask? According to Dorothy Samuels of the Times, it was Senator Ron Wyden: his dissenting vote in committee, and subsequent hold on the legislation   turned the tables on efforts by other senators to stop all those pesky national security leaks (or at least to discourage intelligence officials from telling all to the press).

Drones can be used for enforcing peace, the U.N. says. Thus it will deploy unarmed surveillance drones to eastern Congo shortly, writes Colum Lynch of the Post.

Looks like the Senate Dems haven't decided who will chair the Senate Appropriations Committee's Defense subcommittee. Senator Leahy, who was next in line since Senator Inouye passed away, has turned down the post.

Tunisian authorities have released the sole suspect held in connection with the Benghazi attacks, reports David Kirkpatrick of the Times, for lack of evidence.

Nicole Perlroth and Quentin Hardy update us on where cybersecurity experts think those attacks on American banks recently have been coming from: Iran.

And Ben Rooney of the Wall Street Journal tells us that, according to a Booz Allen Hamilton study of the G20 nations, the U.K. ranks first in capacity to withstand cyberattacks.

No no, we didn't forget about the nominations of Chuck Hagel to be SecDef and John Brennan to be the Director of the CIA. Here are Greg Miller and Scott Wilson of the Post on the implications that President Obama's choices for will have on the organizations that the two men will lead---provided the Senate consents, of course. Gail Collins and David Brooks focus this week's Opinionator at the Times on the Hagel pick. Senator Lindsey Graham says he will put a hold on Brennan's nomination to get more answers from the CIA on the Benghazi attack. Over at the Guardian, Naureen Shah argues that the agency should revert back to its original mission of spying and get out of the "killing business"---and that Brennan should make a commitment in this regard during his nomination hearing.

Just when you were starting to get comfortable, walking through those body scanners:  TSA has promulgated a new policy called "managed inclusion," which aims to expedite airport security checks.  The name tells us almost nothing about the new policy's workings, but Joe Sharkey of the Times describes it like this:

The idea is to selectively identify certain passengers who appear to pose no threat and invite them to use lanes dedicated to the PreCheck program that the agency began in October 2011.

D.C. moviegoers (and of course, political protesters) continue to react to "Zero Dark Thirty." Daniel Strauss of The Hill reports on the screening at the Newseum, the anti-torture protesters assembled outside the venue, and the forthcoming release into theaters district-wide.

Ted Gup, professor at Harvard's Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics and author of "The Book of Honor: Covert Lives and Classified Deaths at the CIA," has this New York Times op-ed.  His subject?  CIA secrecy, and the double standard that permits Jose Rodriguez to discuss interrogation details in the Washington Post, but sends John Kiriakou to prison:

The contrast points to the real threat to secrecy, which comes not from the likes of Mr. Kiriakou but from the agency itself. The C.I.A. invokes secrecy to serve its interests but abandons it to burnish its image and discredit critics.

CFR has just published this backgrounder on targeted killings.

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