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Category Archives: Unfiled

The Immigration Imbroglio as (Pretty) Normal Separation of Powers

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Saturday, November 22, 2014 at 10:03 AM

It has been instructive during the last six years to watch President Obama and most Democrats evolve from Executive power critics to Executive power apologists, just as it has been instructive to watch many Republicans evolve from Executive power apologists (or quiet fence-sitters) to Executive power critics.  It has also been instructive to watch President . . .
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End of Forever War Watch, Weekend Edition

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Saturday, November 22, 2014 at 6:54 AM

Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt report: President Obama decided in recent weeks to authorize a more expansive mission for the military in Afghanistan in 2015 than originally planned, a move that ensures American troops will have a direct role in fighting in the war-ravaged country for at least another year. Mr. Obama’s order allows American . . .
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Judges Brett Kavanaugh and John D. Bates on Blogs and Judges in National Security Cases

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Friday, November 21, 2014 at 8:56 AM

At a recent panel on which I spoke at the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security’s annual conference, D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh and U.S. District Judge—and former FISA presiding judge—John D. Bates had some interesting comments on the role of blogs in the judiciary’s handling of national security cases. The attached audio is . . .
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If You Haven’t Yet Contributed to Lawfare

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Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 6:13 PM

Editor’s Note: If you have already contributed to Lawfare in response to my appeals, please ignore this post. For those who have not yet done so, and you know who you are, I am reposting the appeal, and will occasionally do so again between now and the end of the year. Please considering making a donation of any . . .
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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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The Senate Kills Surveillance Reform and Glenn Greenwald Shrugs

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014 at 10:47 AM

The Senate yesterday buried—at least for now—surveillance reform, when Republican senators refused to allow the current draft of the measure to proceed to a vote. Glenn Greenwald has an interesting reaction to the legislative death of the grandiosely-named USA Freedom Act: It doesn’t matter. He writes, “it has been clear from the start that U.S. legislation is . . .
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Audio of ABA’s “24th Annual Review of the Field of National Security Law CLE Conference”

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014 at 3:38 PM

The American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Law and National Security has released audio files of sessions from its recent annual conference. Here they all are: November 6 – November 7, 2014 | The Capital Hilton Opening Remarks and Panel I - Executive Branch Updates on Developments in National Security Law (Panel I begins at ~6:57) Opening Remarks: . . .
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Bruce Riedel on the Origins of the Islamic State

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014 at 8:39 AM

A brief history of the Islamic State in the form of an animated video from my Brookings colleague Bruce Riedel. Bruce is the director of The Intelligence Project at Brookings, and he spent 30 years at the Central Intelligence Agency. 

Executive Power and Immigration Reform

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Monday, November 17, 2014 at 11:33 PM

The current flap about President Obama’s plan to proceed without Congress on immigration matters isn’t really about national security law. But it is about the law of presidential power and thus of inherent interest to readers of this site. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been struck in reading the many news stories about the brewing . . .
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OHCHR Report Uses First-Hand Accounts to Describe ISIS “Rule of Terror” in Syria

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Friday, November 14, 2014 at 4:38 PM

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has just released a report on the condition of civilians living under ISIS rule.  The document is based largely on first-hand victim and witness accounts, which in many cases were confirmed by the group’s own use of social media and publications. Even for those who . . .
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Why Does the AUMF Debate Even Matter?

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Friday, November 14, 2014 at 3:43 PM

Midday yesterday, I ran into a prominent national security reporter on the street near Brookings. The conversation quickly turned, as conversations tend to turn in our circles in Washington these days, to proposals for a new AUMF. We talked briefly about the one that Jack, Bobby, Matt, and I had drafted and about its areas of common ground . . .
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CRS Analysis of AUMF Proposals

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Friday, November 14, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Via Secrecy News, I see that the CRS has summarized and analyzed the seven proposals in Congress for a New AUMF.

The Legal Consequences of Islamic State + Al Qaeda Cooperation, and Implications for AUMF Reform

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Friday, November 14, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Deb Riechman at AP is reporting: Militant leaders from the Islamic State group and al-Qaida gathered at a farm house in northern Syria last week and agreed on a plan to stop fighting each other and work together against their opponents, a high-level Syrian opposition official and a rebel commander have told The Associated Press. . . .
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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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