Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Raffaela Wakeman
Monday, April 22, 2013, 1:00 PM

There is a plethora of analysis, debate, and speculation about the capture of suspected Boston bomber Dzokhar Tsarnaev. Drake Bennett at Bloomberg talks about the facial recognition technology that might have been used in the FBI's search, and reminds us that the FBI is rolling out a hefty biometric information system (with 12 million searchable images) for similar investigations.  The system will go online next year.

Eric Schmitt and Michael Schmidt report in the Times that future attacks were in the works (in New York City, at least), and that Russia was the "unknown foreign government" who tipped the FBI off to Tamerlan Tsarnaev's suspicious behavior. And Time's Michael Crowley says that the brothers' "stupid mistake" of releasing their carjacking victim helped to lead authorities, quickly, to the bombing suspects.

Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain may have an ally in the Wall Street Journal.  The paper's editorial says the U.S. homeland should be considered part of the battlefield, and Tsarnaev deemed an "enemy combatant."

This New York Times editorial takes a contrary view, and favors trying the suspect in federal court.

And Michael Mukasey, former Attorney General under the Bush administration, thinks the FBI's High-Value Interrogation Group---which reportedly will question Tsnarnaev---won't delve deeply enough into the suspect's intentions and connections.  Thus Mukasey suggests his own list of interrogation queries in this Journal op-ed

The Economist discusses the Boston case's implications for immigration reform.  Tamerlan Tsarnaev's citizenship application was held up due to his 2011 interview with the FBI, which, contrary to some pundits, kept him on the FBI and DHS's radar ever since.  We shall see what role---if any---this factoid, discussed in Julia Preston's Sunday New York Times article, will play in the immigration reform debate.

And over the weekend, the Washington Post editorialized on the "arbitrary" target imposed by the Gang of Eight's immigration bill---that is, stopping illegal border crossings 90% of the time.

On to Things GTMO: on Saturday, Carol Rosenberg reported that "nearly half" of GTMO prisoners are now participating in the hunger strike ongoing at the detention center.

A Pakistani judge extended Former President Pervez Musharraf's detention for a period of two weeks.  (He is accused of unlawfully dismissing other members of the judiciary in 2007, before he left office.)  The development may diminish Musharraf's impact on Pakistan's May elections. Here's Declan Walsh and Salman Masood in the Times.

Another major player in Pakistan certainly wants to influence those elections: in recent weeks, the Taliban has targeted the Awami National Party, the country's predominant secular political party. Declan Walsh reports on this as well.

James Traub reviews former Obama adviser Vali Nasr's latest book, The Indispensable Nation, in the Wall Street Journal.  Nasr's book critiques the administration's approach to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Times's Rod Nordland describes a tabulation, released last week, on recent Taliban attacks in Afghanistan. Data show a 47% increase in the first three months of 2013, as compared to the same time period in 2012.

Also in the Times, Benjamin Weiser keeps us informed of the goings-on with UBL's son-in-law Sulaiman Abu Ghaith. The latest: according to his lawyer, jail officials and prosecutors won't allow Abu Ghaith more than one phone call to family per month. That prohibition, attorneys say, causes the defendant "mental harm."  (He has a larger family than most federal prisoners; Weiser counts two wives, one ex-wife, eleven children, and "several" siblings.)

Steve Vogel notes in the Washington Post that, while TSA has escaped the sequester's automatic furloughs, the FAA has not.  Some 47,000 agency employees, including air traffic controllers, will be furloughed.

There appears to be some confusion down in Guatemala, over whether the genocide trial of former dictator Efrain Rios Montt should move forward.  A judge annulled the proceedings last week, only to be overruled the following day. Elisabeth Malkin has the latest over at the New York Times.

With a new bird flu strain circulating in China, and a SARS-like virus infecting people in the Middle East, the Economist assesses global preparedness for an epidemic.  The self-styled newspaper's outlook is not, shall we say, optimistic.

In the Journal, Siobhan Gorman outlines the Obama administration's possible responses to an onslaught of Chinese cyber attacks.  The options include both sanctions and criminal indictments.

Today's Washington Post editorial describes an optimal cybersecurity policy, particularly in light of the House's passage of its own cybersecurity bill. Now it's up to the Senate to move the issue forward, as Jennifer Martinez reminds us in The Hill.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology today will release its plan to establish a federally-funded cybersecurity research and development center.  It will work with government, the private sector and scholars, in order to address emerging cybersecurity issues. Here's Government Security News with the details.

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