Many of us think about international agreements as inherently public documents, but states commonly employ secret agreements as diplomatic tools. Russia and the United States concluded such an agreement in July to bar Iranian-backed foreign fighters from certain areas in Syria.
Ashley Deeks is a Professor of Law at the University of Virginia Law School and a senior fellow at UVA's Miller Center. She teachs and writes in the areas of national security law, international law, cyber, artificial intelligence, and government secrecy. She joined the Virginia faculty in 2012 after two years as an academic fellow at Columbia Law School. In 2021-21, she took leave from UVA to serve as the Deputy Legal Advisor for the National Security Council and Associate White House Counsel. Before joining UVA, she worked for ten years in the Legal Adviser's Office at the State Department, including as the Assistant Legal Adviser for Political-Military Affairs. In 2007-08 she held an International Affairs Fellowship from the Council on Foreign Relations. After graduating from the University of Chicago Law School, she clerked for Judge Edward Becker on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
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Several analysts, including Mike Schmitt and Liis Vihul at Just Security and Arun Sukumar at Lawfare, have highlighted (here and here) the collapse of the 2017 Group of Government Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security (GGE).
Many people are unaccustomed to thinking about Congress as a key player when it comes to foreign policy or international law outside of Congress’s few clearly established roles, such as providing advice and consent to treaty ratification or defining and punishing violations of the law of nations.
Early last year on Lawfare, Ashley discussed the 2015 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) interim rule “establishing registration and marking requirements for small unmanned aircraft used recreationally—i.e., drones.” The post predicted that state and local laws as well as strong private forces all but guaranteed imminent litigation:
Late last week, CNN reported that the Justice Department is close to bringing criminal charges against Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks and a longtime resident of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated that Assange’s arrest is now a “priority.” DOJ has struggled for some time to determine whether and how to charge Assange.
As the Lawfare readership knows, the United States and its NATO allies relied on a series of factors in 1999 to argue that NATO’s intervention in Kosovo was legitimate. They used these factors to justify their intervention, though the factors served a second function of narrowing the ways in which others could use Kosovo as a precedent. But virtually no NATO state argued that the intervention was lawful, largely because the Charter does not legalize state uses of force in this context.
On Tuesday, Jack expressed concern about the possibility that the Trump presidency will end up being overly weak, and he highlighted a variety of actors who have robustly begun to check Trump’s exercises of power. One set of actors he did not include—but which have an important role to play here—are foreign military and intelligence services. Those foreign actors with whom the United States cooperates can play a powerful role in constraining U.S.