Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Raffaela Wakeman
Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 12:54 PM

Intelligence officials say that Al Qaeda is altering its M.O. so to avoid letting communications get caught by the NSA surveillance programs. Read this piece by Kimberly Dozier of the AP. She writes:

Two U.S. intelligence officials say members of virtually every terrorist group, including core al-Qaida, are attempting to change how they communicate, based on what they are reading in the media, to hide from U.S. surveillance - the first time intelligence officials have described which groups are reacting to the leaks. The officials spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to speak about the intelligence matters publicly.

The officials wouldn't go into details on how they know this, whether it's terrorists switching email accounts or cellphone providers or adopting new encryption techniques, but a lawmaker briefed on the matter said al-Qaida's Yemeni offshoot, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, has been among the first to alter how it reaches out to its operatives.

Colum Lynch reminds us at the Washington Post that we won't know the full impact of Snowden's leaks for years, perhaps, and analyzes how the leaks are affecting international diplomacy.

A propos of that, Edward Snowden Watch very much continues: he apparently is still sitting in the airport transit area of Moscow's Sheryemetyevo airport. Andrew Roth and Ellen Barry have details at the New York Times. Anne Applebaum's Post column likewise discusses the impact of Snowden's continued presence in Russia on U.S.-Russia relations. Here are a separate Washington Post story on that, and a Times story about the diplomatic jousting going on between the U.S. and Russia.

Meanwhile, Keith Bradsher writes in the Times that, with Edward Snowden out, attention in Hong Kong has shifted to U.S. surveillance activities in there and in mainland China:

Leung Chun-ying, the territory’s chief executive, has called repeatedly for the United States to explain its surveillance activities here, brushing aside White House criticism that Mr. Snowden was allowed to fly to Moscow despite a pending American request for his arrest.

“Snowden has left, but the matter is not over,” Mr. Leung said at a tea with local journalists on Tuesday, the contents of which were confirmed on Wednesday by the government. “The Hong Kong government needs to safeguard the interests of Hong Kong.”

Didi Kirsten Tatlow reports at the Times on a recent exchange at China's news agency Xinhua about "Prismgate": one of the commentators calls the U.S. a "hacker empire."

The SoftBank-Sprint transaction has been approved by Sprint shareholders. But the future of Clearwire---a company that Sprint still wishes badly to buy---remains up in the air, as this Times article explains.

Read Emily Heil's Washington Post profile of Senate Intelligence Committee Chair (and PRISM program defender) Dianne Feinstein.

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, Syracuse’s Institute for National Security & Counterterrorism’s newsroll and blog, and Fordham Law’s Center on National Security’s Morning Brief and Cyber Brief. Email Raffaela Wakeman and Ritika Singh noteworthy articles to include, visit the Lawfare Events Calendar for upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings at the Lawfare Job Board.