Yesterday, French President François Hollande signed into law a bill that extends the state of emergency for three months and expands the government’s already broad police powers. Passed in haste, the law avoided a preliminary constitutional review. Meanwhile, the government has urged other far-reaching legal and policy changes to enhance counterterrorism.
Latest in France
Editor’s Note: For over a decade, the Islamic State and its predecessors focused almost exclusively on Iraq, Syria, and their neighbors. The downing of the Russian airplane over the Sinai Peninsula and especially the recent killing spree in Paris suggest that the Islamic State is now going global. Jennifer Williams, long my Lawfare colleague and now at Vox, explains why I and other terrorism experts may have missed this change.
Here's the video, which I am watching now:
Glenn Greenwald has seen the big picture in Paris. With 129 people dead, terrorists still at large, and ISIS crowing over the carnage, Greenwald has jumped on the real problem: Someone, somewhere might think the Edward Snowden leaks had something to do with an attack to which our signals intelligence was blind.
We do not know yet why three coordinated teams of terrorists were able to plan and execute the worst act of political violence on French soil since World War II. There are serious questions that need to be answered about why the attackers escaped detection by the French intelligence services.
On Friday night, as attacks now attributed to ISIS unfolded across Paris, French President François Hollande declared a nationwide state of emergency. This marks the first time since the Algerian war of independence in the early 1960s that France has assumed broad police powers over the entire country. It remains unclear to what extent these expanded powers will affect France’s legal regime after the worst terrorist attack in the nation’s history.
In the wake of yesterday’s terrible Paris attacks, will France turn to NATO or the UN Security Council for support? In the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks, those were the two most significant international organizations to react. France has incentives to turn to both, though its situation right now is dissimilar in important ways from the U.S. situation 14 years ago.
The only photograph that hangs in my attic office is that of René Char, the poet and World War II Resistance fighter. Trying to find an appropriate expression of solidarity with the French people in the wake of the Paris attacks, it seemed right to look to Feuillets d'Hypnos, the wartime diary Char kept during his years of fighting in the Resistance and then edited and published after the war. The diary consists of short poems, aphorisms, epigrams, and brief accounts of Hypnos' (Char's nom-de-guerre) experiences; I've selected a handful that seemed to say something to this moment.
Why President Obama Should Seek Formal Congressional Support If He Ramps Up Force Against the Islamic State After Paris
The gruesome events in Paris could strengthen President Obama’s domestic war powers authority under Article II in two ways.
Anyone reading this site probably already knows about the horror unfolding tonight in Paris. But just in case not: Dozens are dead at multiple locations, and there appears to be a Beslan/Mumbai-style hostage crisis underway at this time at a Paris theater. There are reports of at least one suicide bomber. The government has declared a state of national emergency, and the borders have been closed. In the days ahead we likely will learn the identity of the perpetrators and, perhaps, their organizational ties.