Some commentators have suggested that then-FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce misled Congress in 2013 about the NSA’s metadata program. I am confident that Sean testified to the facts as he understood them—not because I know the facts, but because I know Sean.
David Kris is a founder of Culper Partners LLC. He previously served as assistant attorney general for national security, associate deputy attorney general, trial attorney at the Department of Justice, general counsel at Intellectual Ventures, and deputy general counsel and chief ethics and compliance officer at Time Warner. He is the author or co-author of several works on national security, including the treatise National Security Investigations and Prosecutions, and has taught at Georgetown University and the University of Washington. Randomly, but increasingly, when he submits material for prepublication review by the government, Mr. Kris has been directed to add the following disclaimer or its equivalent, which should be understood to apply to all of his published work unless otherwise indicated: “All statements of fact, opinion, or analysis expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official positions or views of the U.S. Government. Nothing in the contents should be construed as asserting or implying U.S. Government authentication of information or endorsement of the author’s views.”
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When Doug Wilson and I set out to write the first edition of “National Security Investigations and Prosecutions” (NSIP), the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were still recent, George W. Bush was in his first term as president of the United States, Vladimir Putin was in his first term as the leader of Russia, Robert Mueller was director of the FBI and Lawfare was not even a gleam in its founders’ eyes.
The news is moving quickly on events surrounding President Trump’s ill-fated phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the whistleblower complaint about the call that precipitated this latest crisis. But the complaint itself, released on Sept. 26, is a complicated document. It may be more easily understood with the benefit of three additional explanations, which I attempt to provide below.
In the wake of Watergate, a remarkable series of legislative and administrative reforms sought to prevent future abuses by making the attorney general responsible for keeping intelligence agencies within the law.
Times have changed.