Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Raffaela Wakeman
Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 3:05 PM

First, some additional information has come out about the Navy Yard shooter: He purchased the shotgun a day before in northern Virginia, says NPR, and the red flags in his previous actions just weren't red enough, writes a trio from the New York Times. Foreign Policy's J. Dana Stuster corrects the record about the medals awarded to Aaron Alexis for his service in the Navy.

GOP Members of Congress are looking to crack down on the proliferation of civilian contractors, reports Carlo Munoz in The Hill. The Pentagon will undertake a security review of its military bases in response to the attacks, writes Jeremy Herb of The Hill.

The Snowden saga inched forward a bit, with more details on the origins of the former government contractor's access to all of those classified documents: it seems he was responsible for moving sensitive documents to another location in his role as a system administrator. NPR interviewed the NSA's chief technology and information officer to collect that information.

Mr. Snowden has been nominated for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by the European Parliament, Dan Bilefsky of the Times tells us. Previous recipients include Nelson Mandela; Snowden's competition includes Malala Yousafzai.

It seems Brazil's president, Dilma Rousseff, has cancelled a state visit, the reason being that the U.S. government has surveilled her. Read about that over at the Post.

Read about and listen to the latest Intelligence Squared debate on the U.S. drone program over at NPR. The debate featured Ahmed Rashid, John Kael Weston, Admiral Dennis Blair, and General Gordon Schwartz.

Yesterday, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court released a redacted opinion, which lays out the rationale for permitting the government to collect telephony metadata. Ben and Jane summarized the opinion and called out the media for not covering this news aggressively; following that, though presumably not related, Charlie Savage at the New York Times summed it up, and NPR mentioned it very briefly.  In addition, the Washington Post highlights a fact mentioned in the opinion which appears controversial: the companies ordered to turn over said data did not challenge the Court's orders.

LinkedIn published its semiannual Transparency Report and also has filed a petition with the FISC seeking authorization to publish information about data requests from the government; the BBC reports on that.

Ellen Nakashima of the Washington Post discusses the latest audit by the Department of Justice's Inspector General. In short, the DOJ has been overstating its terrorist conviction rate as a result of poor bookkeeping.

The Chinese news agency Xinhua reports on Sibos, an annual conference organized by SWIFT for the financial industry. One of their discussion topics is cybersecurity issues for financial services. Here's the lineup of speakers on that topic.

It seems former SecDefs Gates and Panetta spoke at a panel at Southern Methodist University this week about U.S. policy regarding Syria; Thom Shanker and Lauren D'Avolio sum up their remarks at the Times. Micah Zenko writes at Foreign Policy to articulate his views on why proposals to intervene in Syria don't fulfill the international community's responsibility to protect. Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council continues to prepare for a vote on a U.S. and Russia-approved resolution regarding responding to the crisis in Syria---here's the latest Wall Street Journal story.

Lest you forget, Congress still hasn't approved a budget for FY2014, and the FBI says it might actually close its offices entirely for ten days during the holiday season to trim costs. Josh Hicks reports over at the Washington Post. Speaking of the FBI, Sari Horwitz, in the same paper, highlights a new report from the ACLU focused on what it sees as "excessive secrecy" in the agency.

Carol Rosenberg reports on the news that a former GTMO detainee who joined the anti-Assad forces in Syria has been killed; the DoD hasn't yet commented on the allegations.

Senior Judge Royce Lamberth issued an opinion in the counsel access case. The order grants reporter Jason Leopold's motion to intervene and will consider his motion to unseal the declaration of Col. Bogdan regarding the new search procedures at GTMO. Josh Gerstein reports, and here's the order itself.

The Wall Street Journal has this story about increasingly violent efforts to stymie press freedom in Afghanistan. Also in Afghanistan, the Taliban killed a senior Afghan election official, and then claimed responsibility for it on Twitter---the Times writes about that news.

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