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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 »

WSJ on the FAA’s Draft Rules for Commercial Use of Small Drones

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Monday, November 24, 2014 at 11:32 AM

I missed yesterday’s intriguing little report from Jack Nicas and Andy Pasztor, which opens: Highly anticipated federal rules on commercial drones are expected to require operators to have a license and limit flights to daylight hours, below 400 feet and within sight of the person at the controls, according to people familiar with the rule-making . . .
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SSCI Leadership on Proposed Changes to CIA E-Mail Destruction Policy

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014 at 6:55 PM

A while back I noted certain 9/11 defense counsel’s objections to a proposed change to the CIA’s policy, regarding the destruction of CIA e-mails. In August, a federal bureaucracy charged with appraising such things—the National Archives and Records Administration (“NARA”)—had endorsed the change. But civil liberties groups, including Open the Government, later disagreed vigorously (and thus, I . . .
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NTSB Overturns ALJ Ruling in Pirker Drone Case

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014 at 11:09 AM

Robot-inclined folk probably already know the story of Rafael Pirker.  In 2011 he flew his Ritewing Zephyr powered glider over the University of Virginia, while taking aerial photos; allegedly the aircraft also performed some dangerous, low-altitude maneuvers.  This brought on Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) enforcement and a $10,000 fine. It was therefore quite a big . . .
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11/18 Session #2: Now or Later, Part Two

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014 at 3:11 PM

The prosecutor, Lt. Col. David Long, finishes his arguments regarding whether to push back argument on motion AE21, Al Hadi’s challenge to physical touching by female Guantanamo guards.   Long says no. But Al Hadi’s attorney, Lt. Col. Tom Jasper, says yes.  He rises and underscores the breaking-news aspect of the facts, as revealed during Long’s earlier . . .
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11/18 Session #1: Now or Later, Part One

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014 at 2:58 PM

Judge Waits ascends the bench and the hearing once more comes to order.  It seems Al-Hadi is here, along with attorneys for both sides. Housekeeping: The military judge explains that yesterday and this morning, Rule 802 conferences were held (two with both parties and Judge Waits; one with only the government and Judge Waits), regarding . . .
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Al Hadi Motions Hearing: November 18 Session

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014 at 1:00 PM

It’s a chilly afternoon here at Fort Meade—the venue for today’s closed circuit television broadcast of pre-trial litigation down at Guantanamo.  Proceedings in the military commission case of United States v. Abd Al Hadi Al-Iraqi are set to begin at 1 p.m. After those get underway, Lawfare will post dispatches in our “Events Coverage” section; we’ll link to . . .
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11/17 Session #4: Discovery, Both Bergdahl-Related and Not

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Monday, November 17, 2014 at 2:00 PM

In AE18, Lt. Col. Tom Jasper seeks, on behalf of Al-Hadi, to compel discovery into certain communications—those between the Convening Authority and Defense Department brass, regarding the release of Private Bowe Bergdahl. The lawyer recites the facts: the charges against Jasper’s client were first sworn in February of 2013, and forwarded to the Convening Authority some . . .
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11/17 Session #3: Common Allegations, Part Two

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Monday, November 17, 2014 at 11:26 AM

We return from recess, and Clayton resumes his argument in opposition to AE19—a motion to strike common allegations from the charge sheet against Al-Hadi. Clayton refers to Stirk’s suggestion that the law requires prosecutors to make spare or few allegations in a conspiracy case; he says he knows of no authority to that effect. And . . .
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11/17 Session #2: Common Allegations, Part One

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Monday, November 17, 2014 at 10:43 AM

In motion AE19, the defense asks the court to strike certain common allegations from the charge sheet. One of Al-Hadi’s lawyers, Maj. Ben Stirk, explains why. The incorporation of “common allegations” into the charge sheet is essentially an end-run by prosecutors——one meant to permit the members to see the government’s entire case, at trial, before . . .
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11/17 Session #1: Article 5?

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Monday, November 17, 2014 at 10:06 AM

The military judge, Capt. Keith Waits, calls our session to order.  All parties are present, including the accused.  That means a quick colloquy about Al-Hadi’s right to be present, the consequences of knowingly and intelligently waiving that right, and so on.  Does he understand the right to be here, and the risks of deciding not . . .
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Chief Prosecutor Statement on This Week’s Hearing in Al-Hadi

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Monday, November 17, 2014 at 9:03 AM

You’ll find it here.  Brig. Gen. Mark Martins’ remarks begin as follows: Good evening. Before turning to the proceedings scheduled for this coming week, I wish to update observers interested in United States v. Al Nashiri on the interlocutory appeal previously pending before the U.S. Court of Military Commission Review (“U.S.C.M.C.R.”). In September, the government appealed to the . . .
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Al-Hadi Motions Hearing: November 17 Session

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Monday, November 17, 2014 at 8:56 AM

Today marks the first of a possibly three-day, pre-trial motions hearing in the military commission case of United States v. Abd. Al Hadi Al-Iraqi.   Y’all know the drill: from 9 a.m. onward, video and audio from the Guantanamo courtroom will be zapped, via closed circuit television, to Fort Meade’s Smallwood Hall.  Lawfare will view the proceedings . . .
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DC Circuit Temporarily Stays United States’ Appeal in Al-Nashiri, Pending Consideration of Mandamus Petition

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 8:55 PM

The order grants a motion filed by Al-Nashiri, and was handed down today by Circuit Judges Cornelia Pillard and Judith Rogers, over the dissent of Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh. It’s gist is temporarily to pause the government’s appeal, to the Court of Military Commission Review (“CMCR”), of the dismissal of some (though not all) of the capital military . . .
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The Preamble to the ISIS AUMF

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 11:49 AM

Allow me to stress an issue perhaps in the capillaries, rather than at the heart, of the ISIS AUMF debate: language in the next AUMF’s preamble. So far as I know, nobody is talking about this just yet. And that makes sense, given the need first to agree about what the broader contours of a congressional authorization—substantive . . .
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Wilson Center Event on ISIS and Congressional Authorization

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Streaming video is below. As noted earlier, Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va) will give remarks on ISIS and congressional authorization; afterwards, Wilson Center Director and former Representative Jane Harman, and Lawfare’s own Jack Goldsmith, will join with Senator Kaine for a moderated discussion. UPDATE: the event has ended. Archived video can be found here; Senator Kaine’s remarks can . . .
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PCLOB Hearing on “Defining Privacy”

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 9:50 AM

It’s ongoing now.  Details are available here. and live streaming video is available over at C-SPAN.

The Obama Administration’s Position on the CAT

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 9:34 AM

The New York Times’ Charlie Savage has the scoop: WASHINGTON — A treaty ban on cruel treatment will restrict how the United States may treat prisoners in certain places abroad, the Obama administration is expected to tell the United Nations on Wednesday, according to officials. That interpretation would change a disputed Bush administration theory that the cruelty ban does . . .
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Happy Veterans Day

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014 at 2:08 PM

From all of us here at Lawfare: a note of profound gratitude for the sacrifices made by our veterans and their families.  

ICYMI: Coverage of Last Week’s Hearing in Al-Nashiri

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Monday, November 10, 2014 at 10:44 AM

ICYMI, GTMO policy folks: Matt Danzer’s final round of digests on last week’s hearing in United States v. Al-Nashiri can be found below, and in our “Events Coverage” section.  (Earlier coverage of the hearing is here, too.) Enjoy. 11/5 Session #4: Statements, Transcripts, and Questionnaires 11/6 Session: Fighting Over MRIs and Hearsay

9/11 Defense Counsel on Proposed Destruction of CIA Emails

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Thursday, November 6, 2014 at 2:14 PM

Attorneys for Ammar al-Baluchi, one of the five men accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks, said the following today in a statement: WASHINGTON, DC-Today, the legal team representing Ammar al Baluchi submitted its opposition to the CIA’s plan to destroy its emails from 2003 to 2006.On August 18, 2014, the National Archives recommended approval of . . .
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