Wednesday’s news that the Trump Administration was preparing an executive order addressing the detention and interrogation of enemy combatants, coupled with President Trump’s interview comments that “torture works,” has resulted in understandable but premature panic over a potential policy allowing for detainee abuse.
Latest in Annals of the Trump Administration
President Trump's continued use of a dangerously insecure, out-of-date Android device should cause real panic.
As a national security blog, Lawfare, has more or less ignored issues relating to immigration. To be sure, the issue of immigration intersects with the question of border control (that, after all, is why the immigration function now resides in DHS) and thus has impacts on national security but, by and large, most observers would agree with the premise that immigration is more about economics and humanitarian considerations than it is about national security. That's all about to change.
In a post earlier today, I highlighted a variety of recent developments in which the Obama administration has adjusted constraints on using force under color of the AUMF, based in part on the report in the
With less than two months to go before it hands over power to the Trump administration, the Obama administration is continuing to fine-tune the legal, policy, and institutional architectures that guide its approach to the ongoing conflict with al Qaeda. Under that heading, I want to flag some important recent developments.
1. AUMF expansion: al Shabaab is now a full-fledged "associated force"
The other day President-Elect Trump released a video summarizing his plans for the first 100 days in office. Little noticed or remarked upon was his commitment (see 1:45 in the video) to ask the Department of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to develop a comprehensive plan to defend critical American infrastructure from cyber attacks and all other forms of attack.
Annals of the Trump Administration #5: Would Waterboarding Count as "Force," and Must It Be Disclosed?
Katherine Hawkins at the Constitution Project tweeted some good points in response to my earlier posts on Trump, interrogation, and waterboarding (here and here). One concerns the possibility that the NDAA FY'15 in fact does prohibit a Field Manual amendment that would include waterboarding.
Over at War on the Rocks, I have a post explaining that a new statute will be needed in order for General Mattis to serve as Secretary of Defense. It's been done once before, with George Marshall during the Truman Administration.
In a prior post I discussed the Trump administration's apparent interest in reviving waterboarding as an interrogation method, noted that a federal statute forbids resort to any interrogation method not listed in the relevant Army Field Manual, and explained that the Trump administration might try to overcome that barrier by pushing to have the manual amended to include a classified annex authorizing waterboarding.
What security-related executive orders are likely to be repealed in whole or in part soon after Donald Trump is sworn in as president? I list some obvious ones below, and will be happy to update the list with predictions others may send me.
1. Executive Order 13491 (Jan. 22, 2009) ("Ensuring Lawful Interrogation")