Faiza Patel

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Surveillance

Fixing the FISA Court by Fixing FISA: A Response to Carrie Cordero

Our friend Carrie Cordero has levied criticisms against three of the recommendations presented in our report, What Went Wrong With the FISA Court. We appreciate, as always, her constructive engagement with us on these issues. In the same spirit, we offer these points in response.

1.

Aviation Screening

Recreating Old Loopholes: Thoughts on the Revised Guidance for Federal Law Enforcement

Earlier this month, the Justice Department issued revised Guidance for Federal Law Enforcement Agencies on the Use of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, National Origin, Religion, Sexual Orientation, or Gender Identity. The prior version---issued in June 2003---didn’t cover profiling on the basis of religion or national origin, and exempted national security and border investigations altogether.

Miscellaneous

A Primer on Legal Developments Regarding Private Military Contractors

Recent events again have raised the issue of accountability for alleged human rights violations by Blackwater, the most notorious of the private contractors deployed by the United States in the Iraq war. On June 11, trial finally got underway of four Blackwater guards accused of shooting indiscriminately into traffic in Nisour Square in Baghdad, in 2007---and killing 17 civilians.

Syria

A Snag in the Destruction of Syria's Chemical Weapons?

After months of good news, the mission to wipe out Syria’s chemical arsenal may have run into trouble. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is charged with ensuring disposal of the weapons, met last week to figure out what to do about a process that the U.S. Ambassador described as “languished and stalled.”  There isn't much time.

International Law

Syria, the Security Council, and the Chemical Weapons Convention: a Reply to Jens Iverson

In his response earlier this week, Jens Iverson correctly points out that the Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits states parties from “retain[ing]” chemical weapons.  And states do, of course, keep their stockpiles (after inventory and sealing by the Organization for the Prohibition on Chemical Weapons, or "OPCW") until they are destroyed. But a close reading of the treaty shows that “retain” clearly refers to retention after the authorized period.