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Morning Security Brief: Syria Says It Will Relinquish Chemical Weapons, Tech Companies File Suits with FISA Court, And More

By Holly Gilbert

► Syria announced this morning that it supports a proposal to relinquish its chemical weapons to international control if that means it will, in turn, avoid becoming the target of an international military strike. That’s according to Syria’s prime minister Wael Nader Al-Halqi, as quoted by Syrian state television. The proposal comes after U.S. secretary of state John Kerry made an off-the-cuff comment to a reporter on Monday that Syria could potentially avoid facing military intervention by Western nations if Syrian president Bashar al-Assad "could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week.” Kerry added that "He isn't about to do it, and it can't be done, obviously," but Russia, which has been reluctant to pass United Nations Security Council resolutions against the Syrian government, immediately seized upon the comment as an opportunity for negotiation. As CNN.com points out, “Details of such a transfer have yet to be worked out, such as where the arms would go, who would safeguard them, and how the world could be sure Syria had handed over its entire stockpile of chemical weapons.”

► France says it will bring a formal resolution before the U.N. security council today to put the proposal of Syria relinquishing its chemical weapons stockpile into effect. According to the Washington Post, “French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said bringing the proposal to the Security Council would enable the world to judge the intentions of Russia and China, which until now have blocked efforts to sanction Syria for any actions during its 2 1/ 2-year-long civil conflict.” U.S. officials have expressed interest in working with Russia on the specifics of the proposal, though they remain skeptical, and China’s foreign affairs ministry spokesman said it supported the deal. President Obama, who has been advocating for U.S. military intervention, expressed interest in the negotiation, telling NBC on Monday “We’re going to make sure that we see how serious these proposals are.” He is scheduled to address the nation tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern Time.

► Technology companies are pushing for the government to reveal more information about how it spies on online data. The New York Times reports that technology companies such as Yahoo and Facebook are filing lawsuits with the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court “for permission to reveal information about the number and types of national security requests for user data that the companies receive.” Companies such as Google and Microsoft had already filed lawsuits with the court earlier this year, and on Monday amended their petitions “to compel the government to publish even more detail about the requests.”

► As Apple prepares to release its latest version of the iPhone today, the Wall Street Journal reports that a version of the newest model of the smartphone will feature fingerprint scanning as an added security measure.

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