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Posts by Wells Bennett

Wells C. Bennett is managing editor of Lawfare and a Fellow in National Security Law at the Brookings Institution. His position is supported with a grant from the Markle Foundation. Before coming to Brookings, he was an Associate at Arnold & Porter LLP. Full bio »

3/2 Session #3: Odds and Ends

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Monday, March 2, 2015 at 3:37 PM

Motion AE319J is next. In it, the defense asks to postpone the government’s bid to admit hearsay, pending the Court of Military Commission Review’s (“CMCR”) resolution of an interlocutory appeal concerning charges against Al-Nashiri pertaining to the Limburg.  (As readers likely know, Judge Spath dismissed charges touching Al-Nashiri’s role in the attack on that vessel; . . .
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3/2 Session #2: How to Do Hearsay

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Monday, March 2, 2015 at 2:12 PM

The lunch hour comes to a close and we go back in the record in United States v. Al-Nashiri.   What’s the way forward?  We wonder, given Judge Vance Spath’s prior ruling on unlawful influence, which excised any and all evidentiary hearings from the week’s agenda, and shortened an April hearing to boot. Some discussion . . .
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3/2 Session #1: Unlawful Influence

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Monday, March 2, 2015 at 11:36 AM

The military judge, Air Force Col. Vance Spath, ascends the bench.  Our proceedings return to order. And they begin with a bang: That is, with the court partially granting defense motion AE332, regarding unlawful influence owing to actions of the Defense Department and the commissions’ Convening Authority, retired Marine Maj. Gen. Vaughn Ary.  A written ruling, . . .
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Al-Nashiri Motions Hearing: March 2 Session

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Monday, March 2, 2015 at 10:28 AM

We today resume with Lawfare’s  almost-live coverage of pretrial proceedings in the military commission case of United States v. Al-Nashiri. Our two-week hearing’s second week is set to commence today sometime after 10:30; around that time, we expect a ruling from the military judge, on a key defense filing regarding alleged unlawful influence. We’ll view the Guantanamo proceedings remotely . . .
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DoD Withdraws Order Requiring MiliComms Judges to Live at GTMO

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Friday, February 27, 2015 at 12:25 PM

That’s the word from the Miami Herald’s Carol Rosenberg.  I reckon this will mean the 9/11 case will be swiftly unpaused.  From Rosenberg’s piece: In an abrupt retreat Friday, the Pentagon withdrew an order to war court judges to take up residence at this remote base, the Miami Herald has learned. The order has stirred controversy since . . .
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The End of the United States’ War in Afghanistan Requires Detainee’s Release From GTMO

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Friday, February 27, 2015 at 8:00 AM

Such is this gist of this quite important Motion to Grant Petition For Writ of Habeas Corpus, filed last night by attorneys for Guantanamo detainee Mukhtar Yahia Naji al Warafi.  His filing opens as follows: Under the Authorization for Use of Military Force, Pub. L. No. 107-40, § 2(a), 115 Stat. 224 (2002) (“AUMF”), the Government . . .
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Defense Counsel: 9/11 Case Halted, Pending Change in Judges’ Assignment Rule

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 3:14 PM

Wow.  This just in from J. Connell III, an attorney for 9/11 defendant Ammar al-Baluchi: WASHINGTON, DC-Today, a military commissions judge ordered a halt to the 9/11 case at Guantanamo Bay because Department of Defense officials tried to unlawfully influence the military commissions judiciary.  The order, known as “abatement,” means that no further proceedings will . . .
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Senate Commerce Committee Hearing on “Preserving the Multistakeholder Model of Internet Governance”

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 9:55 AM

The Senate panel, led by Chairman John Thune (R-SD), will discuss internet governance matters this morning at 10:00 a.m. A livestream can be found at the Commerce Committee’s website; we’ll post embedded video if it is available. The witnesses (with links to testimony): Mr. Fadi Chehadé CEO, Internet Corporation for Assigned Name and Numbers (ICANN) Ambassador . . .
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Status of Various Executive Branch Agencies’ Guidelines Regarding U.S. Person Information

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Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 12:26 PM

From the website of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB): this helpful table, which was assembled by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and released today. It describes the status of various agencies’ Attorney General-approved guidelines for collecting, retaining and disseminating U.S. person information pursuant to Executive Order 12,333. As the table reflects, . . .
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CMCR Voids David Hicks’ Guilty Plea and Sentence

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 2:23 PM

The Miami Herald (via the AP’s Ben Fox) has a piece on the Court of Military Commission Review’s (CMCR) ruling; Jess Bravin also has this report in the Wall Street Journal.  The decision can be found here, and opens as follows: SILLIMAN, DEPUTY CHIEF JUDGE: Appellant urges us to set aside his guilty plea to providing material support to terrorism, in violation . . .
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“The President As Lawmaker: Moderating Executive Authority in Wartime”

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015 at 8:31 AM

That’s the title of this interesting piece, on foreign affairs preemption and executive agreements. The author is Daniel Silverberg, a lawyer working in the House of Representatives on national security and foreign affairs issues. His article concludes: This article constitutes an effort to examine the scope of the Executive’s power to preempt state law where . . .
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Pretrial Proceedings in the 9/11 Case Resume Today

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015 at 9:15 AM

Alas, Lawfare won’t be live-blogging the session, which presumably will reveal a bit more about what one accused, Ramzi Binalshibh, told the judge on Monday: that the detainee recognized one of his translators, who, as Binalshibh recalled, had worked at a CIA blacksite where Binalshibh had been held. This put the hearing on pause for a day; . . .
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2/9 Session #2: The Translator, Part Two

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Monday, February 9, 2015 at 10:59 AM

Our session is once more called to order.  The defense and accused are here, but now the Special Review Team is not—its place having been taken by the ordinary prosecution team.  (The two groups, you’ll recall, maintain strict independence from one another, given the conflict allegations arising from the FBI’s approach to a member of . . .
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2/9 Session #1: The Translator

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Monday, February 9, 2015 at 9:10 AM

The gavel bangs. The military judge, Army Col. James L. Pohl, calls the proceedings to order. Members of the prosecution are absent, their place taken by a Special Review Team that has been looking into conflict allegations involving one accused, Ramzi Binalshibh. Housekeeping: LCDR Kevin Bogucki asks to withdraw as the latter’s counsel, owing to . . .
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9/11 Case Motions Hearing: February 9 Session

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Monday, February 9, 2015 at 8:50 AM

Your correspondent returns to Fort Meade’s Smallwood Hall—venue for closed circuit TV monitoring of courtroom proceedings down at Guantanamo.  At the base in Cuba, the military commission case against the five alleged plotters of the 9/11 attacks will resume this morning at 9 a.m. We will follow along, and post dispatches throughout the day in . . .
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Chief Prosecutor Statement on This Week’s Hearing in the 9/11 Case

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Sunday, February 8, 2015 at 10:00 PM

Here y’are.  Brig. Gen. Mark Martins’ remarks begin as follows: Good afternoon. On this day in 1949, the bill that ultimately became the Uniform Code of Military Justice was introduced into both houses of Congress, and on the same day two years later, the President prescribed the Manual for Courts-Martial. Creating uniformity of procedures across . . .
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DNI Report on Signals Intelligence Reform

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 10:29 AM

Today’s document details the implementation of reforms that the President announced a little more than a year ago.  For background on the directive, Lisa Monaco’s statement from the White House is here. The report opens as follows:                                     . . .
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Chief Prosecutor Statement on the Conclusion of This Week’s Al-Hadi Hearings

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Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 8:55 AM

You’ll find it here. Thursday’s remarks by Chief Prosecutor Brig. Gen. Mark Martins open: Good afternoon. This week, the Military Commission convened to try the charges against Abd al Hadi al-Iraqi held its fourth series of pre-trial sessions without panel members present since he was arraigned. The charges against Abd al Hadi are only allegations. . . .
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Senator Feinstein on the CIA Accountability Review Board

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 1:04 PM

To the long-running story of the CIA-SSCI dispute–and to its most recent chapter, regarding the conclusions of a CIA Accountability Review Board—we can add today’s statement by Senator Dianne Feinstein. It reads as follows: Washington—Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released a list of 15 factual errors and omissions in the December . . .
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Harvard Event with Bruce Schneier and Edward Snowden

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Monday, January 26, 2015 at 12:20 PM

On Friday, the former spoke by videolink with the latter, about (unsurprisingly enough) surveillance, privacy and data security. Youtube has a video of their discussion: