Skip to content

Email Wells

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 »

Fence-Sitting and War Powers Reforms

By
Friday, August 22, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Mention of politics, war powers, and legislative authorization to use further force in Iraq, reminds me: whatever happened with the War Powers Consultation Act of 2014 (“WPCA”), put forth by Senators Kaine, McCain, and King? Not much, it seems. After introduction in January, the bill was referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where it has seen no . . .
Read more »

GAO: Defense Department Violated Law In Bergdahl-GTMO Detainee Swap

By
Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 4:05 PM

So concludes this report from the Government Accountability Office, which apparently was written in response to a request by various Senators.  The document opens: This responds to your June 13, 2014, request for our opinion on whether the Department of Defense (DOD) incurred obligations in violation of section 8111 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2014 . . .
Read more »

The Internet Metadata Memo: A Summary

By , , and
Monday, August 18, 2014 at 11:45 AM

There is much to pore over in last week’s release by the Director National Intelligence. Responding to FOIA litigation, the DNI’s office posted more than thirty legal filings and related documents bearing on NSA’s historical, bulk collection of certain internet metadata—the addressing, routing, and header information in e-mails. Some of this stuff is old, including the . . .
Read more »

February 2010 OLC Opinion on the Al-Aulaqi Strike and the CIA

By
Friday, August 15, 2014 at 9:41 PM

Here it is. The seven-page, heavily redacted legal analysis was apparently released earlier today, as a consequence of the FOIA action brought by the New York Times and the ACLU.  

9/11 Case Motions Hearing: 8/14 Session

By
Friday, August 15, 2014 at 11:28 AM

Working off transripts, Lawfare’s Matt Danzer has a rundown of yesterday’s pre-trial proceedings in the 9/11 case.  We’ll post his dispatches in our “Events Coverage” section, while linking to them as they come in throughout the day.  Keep your eye on this space. 8/14 Motions Session #1: Conflicts, Conflicts Everywhere 8/14 Session #2: On Severing Al-Hawsawi . . .
Read more »

9/11 Case Motions Hearing: August 13 Session

By
Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 12:43 PM

A reminder: Lawfare won’t be traveling to Fort Meade to take in, almost live and via CCTV broadcast, the rest of this week’s pretrial hearing in the 9/11 case.  We will thus resort to our backup coverage format, by posting digests of each prior day’s events in our “Events Coverage” section. We thus commence with Matt . . .
Read more »

Al-Nashiri Order Dismissing Charges Relating to French Oil Tanker

By
Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 10:50 AM

We flagged news coverage of this important military commissions ruling earlier, when the item in question was not yet available.  You’ll now find the real thing here (and here). The military judge’s order seemingly came down to this: the prosecution had asserted—but ultimately did not submit proof of—facts that, in its view, supported military commission jurisdiction over charges regarding . . .
Read more »

This Afternoon’s Hearing in the 9/11 Case

By
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at 1:54 PM

A reminder, and a little coverage note: this afternoon will see a pre-trial hearing in the case against Ramzi Binalshibh—one of five men charged with plotting the 9/11 attacks. Unfortunately Lawfare won’t be able to take in those proceedings via Fort Meade’s Closed Circuit TV facility—but we will post a digest of the afternoon’s most significant events, once . . .
Read more »

Vice News Coverage of The Islamic State

By
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at 10:26 AM

We have flagged this remarkable, five-part Vice series before, in our news roundup; to be sure it came to readers’ attention, we opted to note report Medyan Dairieh’s up-close examination of the Islamic State in a standalone post.  Have a look.

Al-Nashiri Case: French Oil Tanker Charges Dismissed

By
Monday, August 11, 2014 at 2:49 PM

That’s the word from the Miami Herald’s Carol Rosenberg. I haven’t yet seen the ruling, but gather from the story that the dismissal had to do with the absence of certain evidence—rather than the boundaries of the commission’s jurisdiction.  (The fit—or the lack thereof—between the latter and the acts alleged has been an important and recurring feature of the . . .
Read more »

8/11 Session #1: Severance, Reconsidered

By
Monday, August 11, 2014 at 10:25 AM

The military judge, Army Col. James Pohl, takes the bench.  Only one accused is present: Ramzi Binalshibh, whose case the court recently separated out from that against the other four accused in the 9/11 case.  His lawyers are there too, including Jim Harrington and LCDR Bogucki. The court opens by summarizing the state of play, . . .
Read more »

9/11 Case Motions Hearing: August 11 Session

By
Monday, August 11, 2014 at 9:04 AM

Today your correspondent will observe, via CCTV, pre-trial proceedings in the case of United States v. Ramzi Binalshibh.  That’s the prosecution against only one of the five men accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks.  The military judge has severed Binalshibh’s case, for the moment, from that against the other four; today, military prosecutors will ask the . . .
Read more »

Chief Prosecutor Statement on This Week’s Hearing in the 9/11 Case

By
Monday, August 11, 2014 at 5:00 AM

You can find the whole thing here, and the opening paragraphs below. And that’s a good a reminder as any, that today Lawfare returns to Fort Meade, for almost-live-blog coverage of pre-trial proceedings in United States v. Mohammed et al.   From the statement: Good evening. On the eve of continuing pre-trial sessions this week, I wish to . . .
Read more »

Chief Prosecutor Statement on this Week’s Hearings in Al-Nashiri

By
Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 3:23 PM

Here y’are.  Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, the Chief Prosecutor at Guantanamo, opens his statement as follows: Good afternoon. This Friday will mark sixty-nine years since the signing of the London Agreement and Charter by representatives of the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and France, thus establishing the International Military Tribunal for the trial . . .
Read more »

Air Strikes or Supply Drops in Iraq?

By
Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 12:30 PM

The New York Times reports:  WASHINGTON — President Obama is considering airstrikes or airdrops of food and medicine to address a humanitarian crisis among as many as 40,000 religious minorities in Iraq who have been dying of heat and thirst on a mountaintop after death threats from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, administration officials said . . .
Read more »

Al-Nashiri Motions Hearing: August 6 Session

By
Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 9:48 AM

This week’s pre-trial session in United States v. Al-Nashiri came to a close yesterday; courtesy of new Lawfare contributor Zoe Bedell, you’ll find summaries of the day’s key developments in our “Events Coverage” section, and links to those summaries below.  Enjoy. 8/6 Motions Hearing #1: Tu Quoque 8/6 Motions Hearing #2: MRIs and Skype

Al-Nashiri Motions Hearing: August 5 Session

By
Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at 4:36 PM

A reminder: Lawfare has digests of yesterday’s pre-trial proceedings in United States v. Al-Nashiri available in our “Events Coverage” section; you will find links to Lauren Bateman’s dispatches below, too. 8/5 Motions Hearing #1: Death Penalty Procedures and Mitigation Experts  8/5 Motions Hearing #2: Things Classified 8/5 Motions Hearing #3: Cole Photographs and the Yemen Friendship Agreement 8/5 . . .
Read more »

Senator Feinstein: Redactions Obscure Facts, Must Be Addressed Before SSCI Report Can Be Released

By
Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 4:42 PM

That’s the gist of this statement, made today by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca.), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Washington—Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on the committee study of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program: After further review of the redacted version of the executive summary, . . .
Read more »

Programming Note: Military Commissions Coverage This Week

By
Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 9:03 AM

A little update from Lawfare HQ, regarding our remaining coverage of this week’s pre-trial motions hearings in the military commission case of United States v. Al-Nashiri: circumstances have conspired to keep your correspondent away from live-blogging the proceedings today, tomorrow and Thursday. As a consequence, and per our usual practice, Lawfare will await the issuance of transcripts each . . .
Read more »

8/4 Session #5: Things 120, Part Two

By
Monday, August 4, 2014 at 4:03 PM

CIA discovery—the subject of Judge Pohl’s ruling in AE120C, and a subsequent order on reconsideration—is still before us. In motion AE120BB, the defense seeks a timeline for getting its hands on such discovery under Judge Pohl’s order. Maybe AE120BB will be moot in time, forecasts Al-Nashiri’s Learned Counsel, Richard Kammen. In the event that it . . .
Read more »