Shannon Togawa Mercer

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Shannon Togawa Mercer is a Senior Editor at Lawfare. She graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center cum laude, where she was the Editor-in-Chief of the Georgetown Journal of International Law. In 2011, she graduated cum laude from Princeton University with an A.B. in Politics and minors in Near Eastern Studies and Arabic Language. Shannon is from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

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Intelligence Oversight

Thoughts on the Nunes Memo: We Need to Talk About Devin

After more than two weeks of mounting anticipation and hype, the memo on alleged surveillance abuses prepared by Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, has finally been #released. So does the memo document surveillance abuses “worse than Watergate,” as Rep. Steve King tweeted last month?

Politics & National Security

National Security Highlights in the 2017 State of the Union

We watched the State of the Union so you don’t have to.

With an eye towards the national security sections of the speech, we’ve selected the parts we think are most relevant to Lawfare readers, organizing them by subject matter. The full text of the President's address, as delivered, is available here, courtesy of the White House.

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On border security and immigration:

Intelligence Oversight

Don't Recklessly #ReleaseTheMemo

Late last week, word surfaced of an incendiary memo authored by House intelligence committee Chairman Devin Nunes and his staff. The memo supposedly alleges surveillance abuses by the intelligence community in general and the FBI specifically. The actual allegations aren’t entirely clear. Reportedly, while the memo itself is classified, it does not contain the more sensitive underlying intelligence information justifying its conclusions.

Detention

Document: District Court Memorandum Opinion in ACLU v. Mattis

Judge Tanya Chutkan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued the following Memorandum Opinion in ACLU v. Mattis that, among other things, denies the Defense Department's motion to dismiss and orders the Defense Department to "allow the ACLUF immediate and unmonitored access to the detainee for the sole purpose of determining whether the detainee wishes for the ACLUF to continue this action on his behalf."

The Russia Connection

The Flynn Plea: A Quick and Dirty Analysis

The news that former national security adviser Michael Flynn has reached a cooperation and plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller could not come as less of a surprise. Reports of Flynn’s bizarre behavior across a wide spectrum of areas began trickling out even before his tenure as national security adviser ended after only 24 days. These behaviors raised a raft of substantial criminal law questions that have been a matter of open speculation and reporting for months.