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Category Archives: AUMF: Scope and Reach

Director Brennan on al Qaeda’s Associated Forces and Jabhat al-Nusrah

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 1:00 PM

In an interview conducted yesterday at the Council on Foreign Relations, CIA Director John Brennan had an interesting exchange with Audrey Kurth Cronin on the subject of al Qaeda’s organizational scope.  Kronin asked: So my question is, we tend to use a shorthand with respect to al-Qaida, calling every group that has a Salafist agenda . . .
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The Clear and Convincing Standard and Citizen Drone Strikes

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Friday, February 28, 2014 at 3:14 PM

When last we debated the Government’s legal authority to kill an American terrorist overseas, some big-ticket questions had to do with proof: exactly how much evidence would be required before executive branch officials would approve a lethal drone strike against U.S. citizen?  And what sorts of proof would suffice, in establishing a target’s stature in . . .
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What is the Domestic Legal Basis for Planned Cyberattacks in Syria?

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 8:12 AM

David Sanger reports that the Pentagon and the NSA planned a sophisticated cyberattack aimed at “the Syrian military and President Bashar al-Assad’s command structure” that “would essentially turn the lights out for Assad.” He also reports that President Obama declined to go forward with the attacks then or since because of uncertainty about the proper role of offensive . . .
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The ISIS Expulsion and the AUMF

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 7:39 AM

Karen DeYoung and Greg Miller report in the WP that Al-Qaeda’s recent expulsion of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has raised questions about whether the AUMF “still applies” to ISIS.  “According to some administration lawyers and intelligence officials,” they report, “the expulsion of ISIS removes the group from the short list of . . .
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Reactions to Stories on Possible New U.S. Citizen Strike

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 7:18 AM

Some thoughts on this morning’s drone strike news (NYT, WSJ). The NYT says that President Obama’s announcement last May of an intention “to gradually shift drone operations from the C.I.A. to the Pentagon” was designed in part “to make them more transparent.”  The theory, I think, was that CIA strikes are covert and cannot be . . .
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Gregory Johnsen on the History of the AUMF

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014 at 8:07 AM

The estimable Gregory Johnsen has a lengthy article in Buzzfeed about the history of the AUMF. Entitled “60 Words and War Without End: The Untold Story of the Most Dangerous Sentence in U.S. History,” the article gives a critical history of the AUMF seen through the lens of several people who have played roles in its . . .
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Is the AUMF Next?

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Friday, January 17, 2014 at 7:34 AM

Hmmmm. Here’s a very interesting few paragraphs from the Wall Street Journal: The president’s speech, to be delivered at the Justice Department, caps a process that was similar to the one he undertook on other controversial, post-Sept. 11 issues, such as the use of armed drones and closing the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. . . .
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The Effect of the Proposed Repeal of the 2002 Iraq AUMF

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Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:07 PM

The Washington Post reports that Senator Paul “plans to introduce legislation to repeal the use-of-force resolution that paved the way for the Iraq war,” and notes that President Obama supports the repeal of the Iraq AUMF.  The 2002 Iraq AUMF authorizes the President to use necessary and appropriate force to “(1) defend the national security . . .
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Abdullah Files His Reply-Brief Before the D.C. Circuit

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Monday, December 30, 2013 at 12:17 PM

As Raffaela previously noted, the case of Abdullah v. Obama is an exercise in “heel dragging and losing arguments.” A brief refresher on the case: the legal saga started when Guantanamo detainee Hani Saleh Rashid Abdullah filed a habeas petition. The petition went unanswered. Accordingly, Abdullah switched tactics and instead moved for a preliminary injunction against his . . .
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Cert Petition Filed in Al Warafi v. Obama

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Friday, December 27, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Shortly before Christmas, counsel for Guantanamo detainee Mukhtar Yahia Naji Al Warafi filed a petition for a writ of certiorari in his habeas petition, having been denied earlier this year an en banc rehearing in the D.C. Circuit. (We’ve covered this case at length—read our coverage here.) Al Warafi had argued that his role was as a . . .
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Al Laithi Reply Brief Before the D.C. Circuit: Defining the Scope of Employment

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Friday, December 27, 2013 at 7:54 AM

In response to the government’s brief, counsel for the Plaintiffs in Al Laithi v. Rumsfeld et. al.  filed a reply brief on Dec. 18th.  (The Plaintiffs—all former Guantanamo detainees—allege various abuses at the hands of U.S. government officials, and seek, among other things, civil damages from the officials in their individual capacities.) For the most part, the Plaintiffs chose . . .
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Oral Argument Preview: Hatim v. Obama, or the “Counsel Access Case”

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Friday, December 6, 2013 at 5:25 PM

On Monday morning, a significant Guantanamo case, Hatim v. Obama et al., will be argued before D.C. Circuit Judges Merrick Garland, Karen L. Henderson, and Thomas B. Griffith.  Petitioners and respondents both will have fifteen minutes to present arguments, in what has come to be known as the “Counsel Access Case.”  It will be the first matter heard . . .
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D.C. Circuit Affirms Habeas Denial in Ali v. Obama

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013 at 5:41 PM

As Steve already noted, the D.C. Circuit has affirmed the district court’s denial of a writ of habeas corpus to Guantanamo detainee Abdul Razak Ali. We covered the oral argument this fall, in preview and recap posts. The D.C. Circuit concludes, in an opinion authored by Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh and joined by Senior Circuit Judge Stephen . . .
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Judge Edwards and “Functionally Useless” Habeas

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013 at 11:39 AM

This morning’s D.C. Circuit decision in Ali v. Obama is not exactly a shocker, given the court’s ever-solidifying body of jurisprudence on the scope of the government’s power to detain non-citizen terrorism suspects at Guantánamo. In short, Judge Kavanaugh’s opinion for a (mostly) unanimous panel affirms the district court’s denial of habeas relief to Abdul Razak . . .
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How Does the President’s Policy on Lethal Force Apply in Yemen Today?

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Long War Journal reports an airstrike on three AQAP fighters in Hadramout, Yemen, earlier today.  By LWJ’s count, this would be strike number 23 for the year (suggesting 2013 might fall short of 2012′s high of 42 strikes, but still far north of 2011′s 10 strikes).  I mention this in part because the numbers are . . .
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Back to Lethal Force in Somalia: What If Anything Does the Drone Strike on Ibrahim Ali Signify?

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Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 5:38 PM

When U.S. Navy SEALs attempted the capture of an al Shabab figure in Somalia earlier this month, contemporaneous with the successful capture of an al Qaeda target in Libya, it generated a considerable amount of coverage and discussion, including speculation about what this might signify regarding the administration’s position on the use of lethal force . . .
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Gabor Rona of Human Rights First Responds…

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Sunday, October 27, 2013 at 4:08 PM

…to my revised meta-study of drone strike casualties. Ritika Singh’s updated meta-study of drone strike casualties reaches exactly the right conclusion: the more we hear from non-government sources, the more we understand the inadequacy of the US government’s disclosures and indeed, the duplicity in its claims that drone strikes are “surgical.” (Not that surgery is always so surgical). But I wish Ritika . . .
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Speaking the Law: Chapter 3

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Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 7:58 AM

The Hoover Institution has released Chapter 3 of our serialized book: Speaking the Law: The Obama Administration’s Addresses on National Security Law. The Introduction and Chapter 1 came out in March. Chapter 2 came out in May. Chapter 3 offers a detailed account of President Obama’s May 23 speech at the National Defense University. It attempts to describe . . .
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Interim Report by UN Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson on Drones in Counterterrorism Operations

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Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 3:00 PM

You can find the interim report—the final won’t be submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council until 2014, apparently—here. There’s a good bit to pore over in the paper authored by Emmerson, with whom Lawfare chatted during his May fact-finding trip to the United States.  (Just Security’s Sarah Knuckey, who Emmerson consulted in the course of his work, . . .
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Thoughts About the Obama Administration’s Counterterrorism Paradigm in Light of the Al-Liby and Ikrima Operations

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Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Mary DeRosa and Marty Lederman, both of whom were senior national security lawyers in the Obama administration, have a helpful if somewhat hopeful post at Just Security on the significance of the recent al-Liby and Ikrima capture operations.  The post is long, but I would summarize it as follows (this is my summary, not theirs): . . .
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