Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Ritika Singh
Friday, October 4, 2013, 2:23 PM

Yesterday, one Miriam Carey struck a security barrier outside the White House and then sped across town to the grounds of the Capitol.  A car chase ensued.  She was shot and killed by law enforcement, and Carey's one-year old daughter was allegedly taken from her car.  The motive and explanation both remain unclear, reports the Washington Post, but the incident appears to be isolated and unrelated to national security.

Government Shutdown Watch: We're into Day Four. The Post says that President Obama has cancelled the rest of his Asia trip in order to stay in Washington and babysit. We are also told that the shutdown has halted a training program for diplomatic security officers that was ordered to be kicked into high gear after the Benghazi attacks. The Hill reports that the heads of the two largest defense trade associations wrote a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel saying that they will have no choice but to "halt certain defense manufacturing production and furlough [thousands of] employees absent government guidance and payment."

Josh Rogin and Eli Lake of the Daily Beast tell us that Iran sanctions are currently not being enforced because the relevant officials at the Treasury Department have---you got it---been furloughed.

Wendy Sherman, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, testified at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing about what further U.S. engagement with Iran might look like. CNN reports on her remarks. The New York Times describes the similarity of American and Israeli goals on Iran---but the lack of convergence on a strategy.

David Ignatius of the Post compares the current situation between Israel and Iran to the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, and Roger Cohen of the Times believes it's time for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to scale back his rhetoric on Iran.

Meanwhile, CNN reports that one Nizar Trabelsi has been extradited to the United States for allegedly planning to bomb a NATO base in Belgium. He is believed to have met with Osama bin Laden and was nearing the end of his sentence in Belgium.

The Associated Press informs us about the increasing collaboration between terrorist groups in Africa. Speaking of which, the House Foreign Affairs committee held a hearing yesterday on the state of Al Shabaab after the horrific Westgate Mall attacks last week, according to McClatchy. Check out the video and witness  statements here.

Syria's civil war continues. The Times covers the recent fighting between more moderate rebel groups and an Al Qaeda affiliate, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Russia has backed a U.N. Security Council statement demanding that Syria lift obstacles to humanitarian aid for its civilians, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The Post editorial board argues that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons's mission this week in Syria is essential, and that it is imperative to verify that the Assad regime does not conceal any stocks.

Duke Law held an event last week on Syria, which you can watch here.

In surveillance news, the Center for National Security Studies wrote a letter to the FISA Court, urging it to order public briefing, in that court, on the renewal of the NSA's telephony metadata program.

British spy agency Government Communications Headquarters is facing some of the same woes as its American counterpart, the NSA. Three organizations have filed a legal challenge to its online surveillance activities in the European Court of Human Rights. The Times and the Guardian brief us.

Reuters reports that the U.S. has indicted thirteen members of Anonymous's "Operation Payback," in which members allegedly launched DDOS attacks to shut down a variety of banking and government websites.

Freedom House released a new study that demonstrates that internet freedom has declined globally.

Court records about Lavabit---Edward Snowden's email provider, which opted to shut down rather than turn over information to the government about its security systems---were unsealed today. Wired and the Times have more on the affair.

Moving swiftly along to Asia, 38North has more evidence that North Korea has restarted its 5 MWe plutonium production reactor at the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center---and some fancy satellite images to boot.

High level meetings this week between Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and their Japanese counterparts resulted in some important agreements. The "U.S. military will deploy long-range Global Hawk surveillance drones from Japan next year," reports the Post. Cybersecurity was also on the agenda, says Reuters. The Journal has an overview of all the agreeing both sides did.

Michael Knights of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy has an op-ed in BBC entitled "Iraq's never-ending security crisis."

And, the Washington Post reports on a new national security threat. It's serious. It's deadly. And it's in your backyard. It's Today's Moment of Zen.

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 the Roundup Team 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.