Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Ritika Singh
Tuesday, March 25, 2014, 2:16 PM

Besides everyone being in a tizzy about President Obama's proposal to end bulk metadata collection---and a competing proposal announced today, by the House Intel Committee---it turns out there's a lot going on.

Yesterday, the Group of 8 booted Russia and boycotted the group's summit scheduled for later this month in Sochi. Although no sanctions were slapped on Russia, this has been the most powerful move by Western countries in response to the Ukraine crisis. Vladimir Putin's spokesman said that Russia wants to continue dialogue with the other nations.

Meanwhile, at the Hague security summit: The Wall Street Journal reports that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with Ukrainian Foreign Minister for the first time since Russia annexed Crimea and "urged constitutional reforms to protect Russian speakers in the country." Mr. Lavrov also shrugged off the news about Russia's dismissal from the G-8.

And former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was allegedly recorded saying some nasty things about Russians. She claims the conversation was edited and fabricated by Russian security services.

Benjamin Weiser of the New York Times updates us on the closing arguments in Sulaiman Abu Ghaith's trial, which goes to the jury today.

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld lashed out at President Obama for his handling of Afghanistan. His most un-politically correct remark? "A trained ape could get a status of forces agreement." Ummm ... okay.

Michael O'Hanlon of Brookings has a piece in Politico Magazine arguing that Afghanistan is doing much better than people think; he breaks down the security situation by region and says "This war may not be won in a classic sense, but it is also surely not being lost."

Afghans who put themselves at risk to help U.S. forces fear that they will not get visas before American troops withdraw. The Times has more.

Carlotta Gall had an important article in the New York Times Magazine this past weekend on the security landscape in Pakistan, the ISI and its relationship with Al Qaeda, how much the ISI knew about Osama bin Laden, and more.

Uruguayan President José Mujica said today that any Guantanamo Bay detainees transferred there will be treated like refugees and allowed to travel. His country has tentatively agreed to take four Syrians and a Palestinian.

Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald reports that two guards at Guantanamo Bay have been accused of sexually assaulting junior soldiers when the hunger strike was taking place at the prison. Their courts martial will take place in San Antonio's Fort Sam Houston next month.

Speaking of which, the sentence handed down last week in the high-profile sexual assault case involving Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair is still making news. The Washington Post editorial board discusses the need for more reforms to the military justice system.

Prosecutors are asking Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly to accept the 13-month sentence for Stephen Kim, the State Department contractor who leaked classified information on North Korea to Fox News. Josh Gerstein at Politico has  the story; the DOJ memo is here, and the defense's response memo is here.

As you've heard, the Obama administration is ramping up its hunt for Joseph Kony. The State Department has released a fact sheet about what U.S. engagement in the Central African conflict will look like.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced yesterday morning that based on new analysis, MH370 crashed into the Indian Ocean. Little is still known about how or why, and the Post editorial board complains about the Malaysian government's lack of transparency and openness with regards to the tragedy.

And, Becky Richards, the NSA's new civil liberties officer, was interviewed by the Department of Defense's "Armed with Science" blog a few days ago. Watch it here:

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