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Monthly Archives: August 2011

Eleventh Circuit Dismisses ATS Suit Against Senior Bolivian Officials

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 11:43 PM

On August 30, the Eleventh Circuit decisively dismissed a classic lawfare lawsuit — an Alien Tort Statute suit brought against the former President and former Defense Minister of Bolivia (Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada and Jose Carlos Sanchez Berzain) in connection with military and police actions they had ordered to quell civil unrest in La Paz, . . .
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Ooops! I forgot to Assert the State Secrets Privilege

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 4:37 PM

That’s what somebody in the government is saying today, on reading this Washington Post story about a contract dispute between two aviation companies involved in CIA renditions–a dispute that seems to involve airing a lot of material in public. Money quote: In other cases, the government has invoked the “state secrets” privilege to shut down . . .
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The “Gamification” of Hacking

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 2:22 PM

The Washington Post has an interesting article this morning on a website that posts rankings of hackers.  The concept is that hackers earn points based on level of difficulty of the hack, as well as the identity of the targeted site.  For those who want to maximize their scores, moreover, the website includes a function that tells . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 10:55 AM

The new Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, Alan Krueger, challenged the Bush administration’s assertion that invading Iraq would reduce world-wide terror, Nancy Scola at the Atlantic writes. Amnesty International continues to lobby for an investigation of Dick Cheney for war crimes, reports the Talk Radio News Service. Strains in the U.S.-Pakistani relationship continue as . . .
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National Security as Fading Priority

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at 10:22 PM

Business Insider is reporting: According to Twitter users set a record on Sunday night when Beyonce revealed her baby bump to the record-breaking VMA audience. From @twitterglobalpr: “Last night at 10:35pm ET, Beyonce’s big MTV #VMA moment gave Twitter a record bump: 8,868 Tweets per second.” That beats both the Virginia earthquake at 5500 tweets per second, and as the Atlantic Wire notes it also beats the record for Osama . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at 10:39 AM

And we’re back. Ibrahim al-Rubeish, a senior member of Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia, who is also a former Guantanamo detainee has recommended to UAE interior minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud to expel non-Muslims from the country, reports the AFP. Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald reports on the first days on the . . .
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The Triple Agent: The al-Qaeda Mole Who Infiltrated the CIA

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Monday, August 29, 2011 at 12:08 PM

The Triple Agent: The Al-Qaeda Mole who Infiltrated the CIA, by Washington Post reporter Joby Warrick, ranks among the very best pieces of narrative journalism I have read related to the history of America’s conflict with Al Qaeda. Like the other books in that category—George Crile’s Charlie Wilson’s War, Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower, and . . .
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Job Announcement

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Monday, August 29, 2011 at 11:22 AM

If you apply for this job, you probably should refrain from mentioning that you read about it on Lawfare: Counsel, Liberty and National Security Program Location: Washington, DC Department: Liberty and National Security Program Type: Temporary to Full Time Min. Experience: Mid Level The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law seeks an attorney for . . .
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Mea Culpa: Trial Forums of all Types

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Monday, August 29, 2011 at 11:14 AM

In kicking off Lawfare’s 9/11 10th anniversary project devoted to laying bare our own non-trivial errors of analysis or understanding over the last decade, I have a number from which to choose. All, however, pale in comparison to my vacillations over the appropriate trial forum for terrorism cases. My many critics have been gracious enough . . .
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Matthew Waxman on Detention Policy Lessons Learned

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Monday, August 29, 2011 at 7:39 AM

Over at the Council on Foreign Relations web site, Matthew Waxman offers a brief essay on lessons learned on detention policy from the last ten years: An important lesson since the 9/11 attacks is that detention decisions and practices have legal, political, diplomatic, operational, and other ripple effects across many aspects of counterterrorism policy, and . . .
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Tom Joscelyn on Al Kandari

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Monday, August 29, 2011 at 7:35 AM

Over at the Weekly Standard’s blog, Thomas Joscelyn has this piece critiquing a CNN report on Fayiz Mohammed Ahmed Al Kandari, whose habeas case we have covered here. I haven’t dissected the CNN piece about which Joscelyn links, but having looked at it briefly, I do have to say that Kandari is a funny subject . . .
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New Details on US-Mexico Intelligence and Logistical Coordination against Cartels

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Sunday, August 28, 2011 at 3:10 PM

Another Mark Mazzetti story from the past week that deserves your attention: this piece, which sheds some additional light on the intelligence and logistical support that the United States is providing to Mexico’s conflict with the cartels.   The story primarily focuses on “boomerang” operations in which Mexican security forces preparing to conduct a raid on . . .
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Is AQAP Part-and-Parcel of al Qaeda? Some New Evidence

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Sunday, August 28, 2011 at 2:56 PM

Mark Mazzetti had a piece yesterday in the Times covering the important news that CIA once again has located and killed al Qaeda’s top officer for operational planning (Atiyah abd al-Rahman, who took over that position after a drone killed Sheikh Saeed al-Masri last year, and who more recently became al Qaeda’s #2 overall official . . .
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Lawfare’s 9/11 10th Anniversary Project

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Friday, August 26, 2011 at 11:35 AM

The 10th anniversary of September 11 is, as everyone knows, coming up soon, and it promises a veritable orgy of selective memory. America’s debate over law and security is, in general, characterized by an overabundance of certainty; everyone is way too convinced that he or she is right about whatever the issue at hand happens to be . . .
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Redactions to Ali Soufan’s New Book

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Friday, August 26, 2011 at 7:45 AM

The New York Times is reporting that the CIA has demanded “extensive cuts from the memoir of a former F.B.I. agent who spent years near the center of the battle against Al Qaeda.” Ali Soufan has been a vocal critic of the agency’s harsh interrogation practices, and the book is apparently his latest argument that they were counterproductive. . . .
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Thomas Drake Oped

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Friday, August 26, 2011 at 7:29 AM

Thomas Drake, the former NSA employee who was charged with leaking classified information, in a case that collapsed last month, has this oped in the Washington Post today. Money quote: From 2001 through 2008, I was a senior executive at the National Security Agency. Shortly after Sept. 11, I heard more than rumblings about secret . . .
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Charlie Savage on Cheney’s Memoir

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Thursday, August 25, 2011 at 1:25 PM

The New York Time’s Charlie Savage has obtained a copy of former Vice President Cheney’s forthcoming memoir. Not a lot in his story about the book that will surprise on matters of interest to readers of this site. Here’s they are: Mr. Cheney’s book — which is often pugnacious in tone and in which he expresses . . .
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Are Times a’Changin’?

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Thursday, August 25, 2011 at 12:57 PM

I just had a meeting with a thoughtful European journalist who was working on a September 11 10th anniversary feature. Much to my surprise, she did not want to talk about Guantanamo, or interrogation, or rendition, or any other of the parade of horrible that together constitute the only things European journalists ever seem to . . .
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Matt Dahl on Cybercrime and the Executive Order on Transnational Criminal Organizations

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Thursday, August 25, 2011 at 10:47 AM

Matt Dahl is a 2009 graduate of the University of Richmond School of Law who works on legal and policy issues for a cybersecurity company in Virginia.  We are pleased to welcome his guest post, which discusses the potential application to cybercriminal groups of the recent IEEPA-based executive order on Transnational Criminal Organizations: The Executive . . .
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Warrick on the CIA’s War (III): Against Which Groups Are We Fighting?

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Thursday, August 25, 2011 at 10:32 AM

Another interesting legal issue touched upon in Joby Warrick’s The Triple Agent concerns the difficulty of defining the set of groups or networks against which force lawfully may be used.  This issue has several dimensions.  One concerns the difficulty of defining the institutional boundaries of “al Qaeda,” including the question of how close another entity . . .
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