Rick Perlstein Slimes Lawfare

By Benjamin Wittes
Saturday, December 21, 2013, 9:05 AM

I would normally leave a very slimy blog post like this one uncommented upon. But Rick Perlstein, the author of this particular post on The Nation's web site, is a very distinguished author of some very fine books. And this post is making the rounds on Twitter in way that is conveying a lot of misinformation about Lawfare, about our relationship with the New Republic, and about our joint relationship with Northrop Grumman, which sponsored our Security States project for a month.

Perlstein ran the piece without checking any facts in it with me, with Jack, or with the New Republic. After running it, he sent us copies asking for our responses. I sent him a brief note last night and corrected some of his facts on Twitter as well. As he has not responded in either forum, I thought it best to correct the record on Lawfare for the benefit of anyone who might be confused.

First, our Security States project with the New Republic has no active sponsorship from Northrop, though I sincerely wish we did and look forward to working with them (or other companies) in the future. The company's sponsorship of Security States was for one month only---the month of October.

In other words, the premise of Perlstein's piece is false.

Second, not a dime of the money from the sponsorship we used to have from Northrop has been paid to Jack or anyone else for writing for Lawfare. Lawfare is a labor of love for all involved. It is a tiny non-profit we are working to stand up, one from which nobody is getting paid---let alone getting rich.

Third, the Security States project with the New Republic, in any event, had nothing whatsoever to do with the "Inside NSA" podcast series, which developed--as Bobby and I made very clear on the site--out of dialogues Bobby has been organizing between the agency and academics.

Perlstein got one thing right: I am, as he alleges, not a lawyer.