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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 »

Readings: Henry Farrell on Critics of Snowden and Greenwald

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 8:11 PM

Some time back, Ben noted two stern critiques of Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald—one by Sean Wilentz and another by George Packer. The latter reviewed Greenwald’s book, No Place to Hide; ditto Michael Kinsley, in an article Jack mentioned (and disagreed with) here on Lawfare.   In a piece in the National Interest, Henry Farrell takes on . . .
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The Lawfare Podcast, Episode #97: Bahlul, Bahlul, Bahlul, Part Deux

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Saturday, October 25, 2014 at 1:55 PM

By now you know: Wednesday morning saw oral argument in Al Bahlul v. United States—the first since the D.C. Circuit’s en banc decision, and the matter’s remand to a three judge panel consisting of Circuit Judges Judith Rogers, David Tatel, and Karen LeCraft Henderson. On Wednesday afternoon, I sat down for post-argument analysis of the long-running military commissions . . .
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Russian Bagram Detainee Set for Federal Prosecution in U.S.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 3:45 PM

Or so I gather from this Washington Post piece, which opens thusly: A Russian captured fighting with insurgents in Afghanistan and held for years at a detention facility near Bagram air base will be flown to the United States to be prosecuted in federal court, according to U.S. officials. The move marks the first time a foreign . . .
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Oral Argument in Al Bahlul: Judge Tatel and Quirin Dicta

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at 7:24 PM

Much could be said about this morning’s argument, before a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit, in the long-running military commission case of Ali Hamza Ahmad al Bahlul v. United States. In this little read-out, I’ll make this lone observation (one I see Steve also mentioned too, over at Just Security): with his questions to . . .
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Charging Snowden With…Murder? Really?

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Offered without (or only a little) further comment: this piece from The Hill, and a rather eyebrow-raising quotation therein from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers regarding Edward Snowden: The former government contractor who leaked details about secret programs of the National Security Agency (NSA) and its British counterpart is a “traitor,” Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) told members of . . .
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Pushing Treaty Limits?

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Monday, October 20, 2014 at 2:49 PM

Suppose the United States government helps to negotiate, and subsequently champions, certain framework treaties–ones justly viewed as imposing significant constraints on all signatories. Down the road, the United States occasionally even calls out counterparties for their looser policy innovations, when the latter push the outer boundaries of what’s permitted under the treaties; a treaty-created monitoring body . . .
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Ask Wells: #ComeyCrypto, Our Mysterious Publisher, and Cancelled Hearings

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Sunday, October 19, 2014 at 5:00 PM

I am stoked to post the first installment of Lawfare’s latest (and perhaps most peculiar) experimental feature: “Ask Wells.” The format, as Benjamin Wittes explained earlier, is straightforward.  Readers can write in and ask questions on most any topic—from national security law to the site’s content and editorial choices to whatever other things may be on . . .
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U.N. Special Rapporteur Report on Mass Digital Surveillance and Article 17 of the ICCPR

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014 at 10:30 AM

Here it is, via First Look. The latest from the U.N. Special Rapporteur for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms While Countering Terrorism, Ben Emmerson QC, concludes as follows (note the language in paragraph 59): 58. States’ obligations under article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights include the . . .
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Signing Statements, the Commander in Chief Power, and Guantanamo Closure

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Friday, October 10, 2014 at 4:00 PM

According to the Wall Street Journal,  the President’s people are “drafting options” to bring about Guantanamo’s closure, an objective that would require the White House to get around a statutory restriction on transferring GTMO detainees to the United States.  Or not: Vice’s Jason Leopold reports that NSC Spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden today said the Administration does not know what “‘new press . . .
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Dhiab Preliminary Injunction Hearing Read-Out, Part Three

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Thursday, October 9, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Today marks our last little dispatch about the preliminary injunction hearing in the case of Abu Wa’El (Jihad) Dhiab, Syrian national, cleared-for-release Guantanamo detainee, and—most relevantly for present purposes—intermittent hunger-striker. Yesterday’s open proceedings can be summarized straightforwardly: in essence, the government concluded its evidence against Dhiab’s motion for a preliminary injunction with respect to certain Guantanamo . . .
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Dhiab Preliminary Injunction Hearing Read-Out, Part Two

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 1:11 PM

We continue with our coverage of a preliminary injunction hearing in the case of Guantanamo detainee and intermittent hunger-striker Abu Wa’El (Jihad) Dhiab. As before, we recount the prior day’s proceedings in summary fashion. In short, the day saw further cross-examination of one of the detainee’s experts, Dr. Stephen Xenakis; direct and cross-examination of another expert, . . .
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Dhiab Preliminary Injunction Hearing Read-Out: Part One

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 10:38 AM

Below you’ll find a read-out on the first of a three-day, preliminary injunction hearing in the case of Guantanamo detainee and intermittent hunger-striker Abu Wa’El (Jihad) Dhiab. The Syrian national’s habeas case is likely familiar to readers by now. He has been cleared for release, and awaits a possible transfer to Uruguay after the latter’s upcoming . . .
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Lawfare’s Digest of Declassified Documents from CIA’s In-House Intelligence Journal

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Friday, October 3, 2014 at 3:15 PM

A few weeks back, in response to a FOIA request, the Central Intelligence Agency made public a trove of documents from Studies in Intelligence, the agency’s in-house intelligence publication. The FOIA-released materials have since been folded over into a larger compendium of declassified material—which Lawfare (in the persons of Taj Moore, Jodie Liu, Clara Spera, and Michael Knapp) has . . .
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NPR: AG Holder Will Step Down

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Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 11:26 AM

That’s the word from this piece by NPR’s Carrie Johnson.  It begins: Eric Holder Jr., the nation’s first black U.S. attorney general, is preparing to announce his resignation Thursday after a tumultuous tenure marked by civil rights advances, national security threats, reforms to the criminal justice system and 5 1/2 years of fights with Republicans . . .
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DCCA: USG Must Respond to Detainees’ Petition for En Banc Rehearing in Hatim

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Now this is interesting. Last week, detainees Saeed Mohammed Saleh Hatim, Abdurrahman al-Shubati and Fadel Hentif together sought en banc rehearing in Hatim v. Obama, the so-called “counsel access” case. Yesterday, the D.C. Circuit ordered the United States to respond to the detainees’ arguments supporting rehearing—a summary of which can be found here—within 15 days. Stay tuned.

Al-Nashiri: USG Appeals Dismissal of French Oil Tanker Charges

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Friday, September 19, 2014 at 2:48 PM

The United States today appealed an adverse ruling in the capital military commission case against Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. The Guantanamo detainee stands accused, among other things, of orchestrating the 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole—and in playing a role in another attack against the M/V Limburg, a French oil tanker. Only legally controversial counts regarding the latter are it issue for . . .
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Monday’s Hearing in al-Hadi

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 9:19 AM

This week’s hearing in the military commission case of United States v. Abd al Hadi al-Iraqi turned out to be a quick one.  Monday afternoon was evidently sufficient time for court and counsel to debate the government’s motion for an order to protect national security information; the proceedings were recessed thereafter. You can read all about it over in . . .
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Al-Hadi Case: September 15 Session

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Monday, September 15, 2014 at 12:45 PM

 A note to readers: business back at Brookings will keep your correspondent away from Fort Meade, and from observing, almost live and via CCTV broadcast,  a two-day pre-trial hearing in the military commission case of United States v. Abd al Hadi al-Iraqi.  The session commences today at 1 p.m., and could continue through tomorrow.   Nearly-live . . .
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Chief Prosecutor Statement on This Week’s Hearing in Al-Hadi

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Monday, September 15, 2014 at 12:00 PM

On the docket today and tomorrow at Guantanamo: argument on the government’s motion to protect national security information in United States v. Abd al Hadi al-Iraqi. The Chief Prosecutor issued a statement in advance of the pre-trial hearing, which commences this afternoon at 1 p.m.  The statement opens: Good evening. Since we last met, there . . .
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In Re Directives Documents Released

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Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 8:48 PM

As we noted earlier today, documents bearing on the In Re Directives litigation have now been declassified. The voluminous materials—including briefs and an apparently less redacted version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review’s 2008 opinion—indeed can now be found at the DNI’s Tumblr site, and below. We’ll likely have more to say on this; stay . . .
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