Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Wells Bennett
Thursday, June 27, 2013, 2:56 PM

Still leading the news: the story of Edward Snowden, his leaks of classified information about U.S. surveillance activities, an ensuing domestic and international debate over privacy and security, and Snowden's international travel, first to Hong Kong and most recently to the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport---where he so far remains.

Presumably relying upon further Snowden-furnished stuff, the Guardian's Glenn Greenwald and Spencer Ackerman today revealed more about NSA's surveillance of internet metadata.  This apparently commenced during the Bush Administration, and continued for the Obama Administration's first two years.  The piece didn't rattle President Obama, or at least didn't seem to, judging by his cool public remarks.  Addressing L'Affaire Snowden during a trip abroad, the President said he won't be "scrambling jets to get a 29-year old hacker."

Philip Rucker and Sari Horwitz, of the Washington Post, write that the Obama Administration's Snowden playbook has been more legally than diplomatically flavored.  Speaking of diplomacy, Ecuador---from which Snowden now seeks asylum---reportedly will quit a U.S. trade agreement so as to avoid "blackmail" over Snowden.  That's the word from Chris Kraul and Pablo Jaramillo Viteri, of the Los Angeles Times.   

A bit more Snowdenia: the Wall Street Journal's Jose De Cordoba and Jack Nicas describe Snowden's less-than-clear path to Ecuadorian asylum here.   But Ecuador's government reportedly has not issued temporary travel documents to Snowden.  Lastly, here are two more Times pieces, one by Scott Shane, on Snowden''s apparent denunciation of leakers, in 2009,  and another by Chris Buckley, on China's calling out of the United States for hypocrisy about spying.

In significant though unsurprising terrorism trial news, accused Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been indicted by a grand jury on 30 counts.  The Post has more details about the charges, which could yield a death sentence.   CBS News has a copy of the indictment, too.

A story from yesterday's Wall Street Journal bears this title: "U.S. Begins Shipping Arms for Syrian Rebels."

According to Choe Sang-Hun's Times pieceChina and South Korea have agreed to work to resume multilateral discussions aimed at stopping North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

The United States continues to press for a Middle East peace agreement, and Secretary of State John Kerry wants to see progress in that regard, by no later than September.  

Hannah Armstrong, a fellow at the Institution of Current World Affairs in the Sahel, writes in the Times about the French-led military campaign in Mali.  Though initially it rallied support from diverse quarters, the circumstances have greatly changed, and the intervention now is "uniting the critics," the author says.

Department of Can't Make This Stuff Up: a man who claimed falsely to be a British Spy---and, by means of that ruse, fraudulently came by oodles of bucks---has been ordered to leave the United States by a federal court.  The district judge sentenced the man, Kevin Halligen, to time already served, and ordered him to pay $2.1 billion in restitution to deception's victim.  Julie Zauzmer reports in the Post.  

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