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The Week That Was: All of Lawfare in One Post

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Saturday, June 1, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Hearing few objections (and indeed many expressions of support!), I forge ahead with Lawfare’s newest feature: the Week That Was.

The week’s big news was that President Obama plans to nominate James Comey to be Robert Mueller’s successor as Director of the FBI. Ben endorsed the choice.  Later, he shared a speech on intelligence and the law, which Comey delivered and which The Green Bag later published.

Reactions to President Obama’s speech at the National Defense University continued. Jack flagged his essay at the Council on Foreign Relations, but disassociated himself from a part of CFR’s initial summary of his piece.  (The relevant language was eventually changed).  Ben noted Southpark’s  interpretation of the President’s remarks, and reacted to what he called the “Chesney Conjecture”: Bobby’s positing that our current approach to counterterrorism no longer requires an AUMF, or an armed conflict approach generally. Jack weighed in on the issue, too.

Jack also wrote up a piece about the administration’s uncomfortable struggle between wanting to disclose information about its drone strikes, on the one hand, and the need to comply with secrecy rules, on the other.  He also shared excerpts from Sunday talk show interviews with former DNI Dennis Blair and Senator Charles Schumer.

Ken posted on Greg Miller’s weekend Washington Post story, which laid out the difficulties of ending the CIA’s role in the drone program in Yemen.

And John highlighted the surprising news that the UK has operated its own detention center in Afghanistan for at least 14 months.

For those looking for something Al Qaeda- and GTMO-free to read on Lawfare, check out Paul’s discussion of the Senate immigration bill’s inclusion of a biometric exit mandate. Though many describe it as new, this approach is in fact several years old.  But it has yet to be implemented by DHS for a host of reasons, as Paul explained.

Paul also shined helpful light on an often opaque-seeming process: the review undertaken by  the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.  It is examining  Japanese telecommunications firm SoftBank’s proposed acquisition of a majority stake in Sprint/Nextel.  The deal has drawn objections from a U.S. company also interested in buying Sprint: Dish Network.

Next Paul overviewed of an important case brought by the Federal Trade Commission, and arising from a breach of Wyndham Worldwide Corporation’s cybersecurity.  Among other things, the FTC seeks an order requiring the company to bolster its cyber safeguards.

Jack noted the scary news of China’s hacking of U.S. weapons design systems.  The question is how Chinese cyber activities compare to those of the United States; and how much the United States can complain about conduct in which it also engages so extensively and effectively.   In that regard, Jack recommended a Bloomberg piece entitled “How the U.S. Government Hacks the World.”

Paul asked for feedback on a work-in-progress: a paper scheduled for publication in the Stanford Journal of International Law.  It focuses on international law and private-sector hack backs.  Paul also humbly “blegged” for other assistance from informed readers. The occasion was the DOJ’s announcement that it is bringing charges against online payment system Liberty Reserve.  Paul wanted to know what the government meant when it said that the matter “involved the first search warrant executed by American officials against a cloud-based server.”

Wells promoted our latest episode of the Lawfare podcast, featuring 9/11 military commission defense counsel CDR Walter Ruiz. CDR Ruiz, we’ll “see” you and other folks (via time-delayed CCTV) in a few weeks, when hearings resume at Guantanamo.

Our friend across the pond Robin Simcox offered this guest post on last week’s violent murder of a British soldier in London. In particular, he addressed the limits of MI5 in responding to terrorist attacks.

Paul marked Memorial Day by sharing an Oliver Holmes quotation on the holiday’s meaning.

Many thanks to the 505 of you who completed our readership survey! Armed with the survey’s results, Lawfare can tweak its current programming, and also undertake some bigger and better things.

And that was the week that was. Although the feature is no longer experimental—thanks again survey respondents—I enjoy hearing feedback from readers. So drop me a line.

Filed under: The Week that Was