The National Security Law Podcast

The National Security Law Podcast: Don’t Pop the Accountability Champagne Quite Yet

By Robert Chesney, Steve Vladeck
Wednesday, August 9, 2017, 10:13 AM

In this bizarrely titled episode (OK, they pretty much all have bizarre titles), Professors Vladeck and Chesney take on four developments in national security law from the past week. First, they explore the district court ruling in Salim v. Mitchell in which the court rejected motions for summary judgment in an Alien Tort Statute suit former CIA detainees brought against two psychologists who designed and helped implement the “enhanced interrogation techniques” program. Second, they unpack the meaning and significance of the press conference Attorney General Jeff Sessions held last week in which he warned that the Justice Department and the FBI would ramp up their anti-leak efforts. Third, they offer some preliminary thoughts on legal issues that would arise if the U.S. begins air strikes against Islamic State targets in the Philippines, as recent media reports have suggested might occur. Fourth, they drag us all into the weeds of treaty law–particularly the “non-self-execution doctrine”–in connection with the 9th Circuit’s opinion rejecting an attempt by the Marshall Islands to get a court to declare the U.S. government in violation of its obligation (under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) to negotiate in good faith toward nuclear disarmament.

One might hope they’d be exhausted at that point and end it there. But no, they trudge on, sharing their “insights” about the latest episode of "Game of Thrones" at remarkable length. Happily, there are only a few episodes left in this season of GoT, so soon your hosts will have to move on to something else!