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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 »

Nathan Wood: The Ferguson Consensus is Wrong: What Counterinsurgency in Iraq & Afghanistan Teaches Us About Police Militarization and Community Policing (Lawfare Research Paper Series)

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Thursday, April 9, 2015 at 9:00 AM

For interested readers: the latest installment of the Lawfare Research Paper Series.  In it, Harvard Law student Nathan Wood examines the phenomena of community policing, on the one hand, and police militarization, on the other—having in mind an emerging view that the former represents the necessary antidote to the latter. From the abstract: In the wake . . .
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The New (Old) Interim Convening Authority for Military Commissions

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at 4:33 PM

It seems Paul Oostburg Sanz, the Navy’s General Counsel, will serve for the time being as the Guantanamo military commissions’ Convening Authority—such temporary service being necessary in light of the resignation of retired Marine Major General Vaughn Ary.  (Readers will recall that the military judge presiding over the Al-Nashiri commission case recently disqualified Ary and some of . . .
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Brennan Center Report on “What Went Wrong with the FISA Court”

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at 3:15 PM

The civil liberties group’s report was released today. It was authored by Elizabeth Goitein and Faiza Patel (who has contributed pieces to Lawfare), and has a foreword by retired U.S. District Judge James Robertson—a former member of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Here are the report’s key recommendations: Congress should end programmatic surveillance and require the . . .
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3/3 Session #3: To Reconsider

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 2:43 PM

Lunch hour concludes at Guantanamo and at Fort Meade. Thus we come to AE248H, the prosecution’s motion to reconsider Judge Spath’s prior ruling, that granted a defense motion and excluded certain evidence of Al-Nashiri’s “wanton disregard for human life,” so far as concerns the charge of terrorism against the accused. In short, the government desires . . .
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3/3 Session #2: Housekeeping

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 11:10 AM

We return from recess. What will the way forward be?  The military judge mentions pending motions AE319F and G, and AE333, and AE337.  In his view, Judge Spath may be able to rule on some of these without in-court argument, between now and the case’s next session in April. His meaning is clear: “There’s only . . .
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3/3 Session #1: Suppression, and SSCI Matters

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 10:39 AM

Air Force Col. Vance Spath, the military judge, resumes proceedings.  The question is what those proceedings will comprise, the docket having been winnowed greatly, both by yesterday’s unlawful influence ruling and by some still unresolved questions about classified material.  Could there be unclassified argument with respect to AE319F and AE333?  (It seems the issue of . . .
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Al-Nashiri Motions Hearing: March 3 Session

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 9:00 AM

Litigation resumes in one of Guantanamo’s two capital military commission cases today at 0900; likewise the CCTV broadcast of the pre-trial session, which we’ll follow from our little perch here at Fort Meade, and post about throughout the day. You’ll find updates on the prosecution of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri in the “Events Coverage” section, and . . .
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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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