Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Raffaela Wakeman
Wednesday, October 2, 2013, 12:00 PM

Ideologically extreme members of Congress, 1; federal government employees, veteranstourists, and Panda Cam viewers, 0. The markets took a downward turn this morning, says the AP. In a mark of complete irony, yesterday's Google Doodle commemorated the 123rd year of Yosemite National Park.

Here's how the shutdown is affecting national security related matters: President Obama has cancelled his trip to the Philippines and Malaysia, and sent SecState Kerry in his stead. Some NSA staffers have been told not to come in to work, and Andy Greenberg of Forbes got his hands on the memo telling them so. A few GTMO offices are closed (but not the detention facility itself), too, says Ryan Reilly at HuffPo.

The Senate Judiciary Committee holds its hearing on NSA surveillance programs today, featuring Georgetown Law's Carrie Cordero and Laura Donohue, Princeton's Edward Felton, and General Alexander and DNI Clapper.  The Senate Select Intelligence Committee has cancelled its markup on an NSA reform bill. A pair at The Hill report.

At the Defense Department, SecDef Hagel says that the shutdown is affecting our credibility abroad.  Meanwhile, Air Force-piloted drones continue to fly, according to the New York Times's Lede Blog.  In a letter, House Armed Services Committee Chair Rep. Buck McKeon told the Pentagon to call civilian employees back to their offices, citing recently-passed military pay legislation.  The latter, in McKeon's view, authorizes the DoD to select which civilians should be at work. Jeremy Herb of The Hill has more details about McKeon's letter.  Larry Abramson of NPR reports on how the shutdown is affecting the military, and support services for the military.  And the Senate Armed Services Committee plans to hold a hearing about how the shutdown is affecting the military next week. At least Congress's doors are open, right (even if they're just talking about the shutdown, rather than ending it)?

But what, you ask, is the truly most outrageous item to be affected by the shutdown? College sports. The DoD suspended all intercollegiate athletic competitions at Service Academies, and so the Navy-Air Force football game scheduled for this weekend might be canceled. Here's The Hill with more.

Slate is publishing a series of pieces in which "American events are described using the tropes and tone normally employed by the American media to describe events in other countries." Worth a read.

OK, let's talk about something else. Paul and Alan Wehler write over at GovInfoSecurity about the FBI's new cloud computing usage policy.

General Dynamics won a big cybersecurity contract: it will be protecting the U.S. Navy computer networks, says UPI.

As Wells noted last night, military commissions Judge Pohl has denied the 9/11 defense team's motion to abate proceedings until the IT problems have been resolved. Here's the AP, too.

Yahoo is now asking the FISC to review any declassified materials related to data it has turned over to the government prior to releasing them to the public. The company seemingly fears that the documents might mislead the public. Here's PCWorld with a story.

Apropos of technology and surveillance, Ben and Raj De's recent colloquy regarding Google Voice's recording system is playing out in the courtroom: Google is actually defending itself against allegations that it is wiretapping Google users every day. Claire Cain Miller in the Times explains.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the United Nations on Tuesday, and there reiterated his country's commitment not to let Iran get nuclear weapons. Colum Lynch and Scott Wilson write at the Washington Post.

Russia is moving forward with charging five Greenpeace activists with piracy, says James Marson of the Wall Street Journal. At Volokh Conspiracy, Eugene Kontorovich is skeptical the charges will stand up.

The International Academy of Spiritual Unity and Cooperation of Peoples of the World has decided to nominate President Vladimir Putin for the Nobel Peace Prize. From their press conference as reported by David Herszenhorn at the Times:

Barack Obama has the title of Nobel Prize winner — the man who initiated and approved such aggressive actions on the part of the United States of America as in Iraq, Afghanistan, some others, and now is preparing for invasion of Syria . . . . I think our president, who is trying to stop the bloodshed, who is trying to help to resolve this conflict situation through a political dialogue, through diplomatic language, deserves this title more.

According to the United Nations mission in Iraq, nearly one thousand people were killed there in September. The AP has this story.

Over in Bangladesh, a war crimes tribunal convened to try individuals for their roles in the 1971 war for independence has found Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury guilty on 9 of the 23 charges.  (Chowdhury is currently an opposition lawmaker; his party is expected to make significant gains in the next election.) This represents the court's seventh guilty verdict. Ellen Barry reports at the Times.

Another unpleasant UN finding reported by the AP: 27 people have been tortured to death by the militias that have been running some Libyan jails since Qaddafi was overthrown.

Meanwhile, Yaroslav Trofimov explains in the Journal that we have reached a "critical moment" in U.S.-Afghan talks: the parties are far apart with regards to future U.S. action in response to external aggression and in its role in counterterrorism operations.

Some more details come out as the investigation into the Kenyan mall siege moves forward: the state response was unorganized and slow to respond, reports a trio from the Times.

The man who developed the CIA's spy satellites and helped launch its office of science and technology, Albert Wheelon, passed away late last week. Here's the Wall Street Journal on his career.

No, this headline didn't come from The Onion or Duffel Blog, but instead from Dan Bilefsky's New York Times piece.  It is, moreover, 100% legitimate, accurate, and has a national security-nexus: Jellyfish Invasion Paralyzes Swedish Reactor.

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