The Week That Was

The Week That Was: All of Lawfare in One Post

By Alex R. McQuade
Saturday, January 16, 2016, 10:58 AM

President Obama delivered his final State of the Union address Tuesday night. We watched it for you and Cody outlined the national security sections relevant to Lawfare readers. Interestingly enough, President Obama did not mention anything about cybersecurity, surveillance, or encryption in his address. Timothy Edgar provided his thoughts on the president’s silence on these issues. President Obama did, however, state his intentions to shut down Guantanamo Bay. Jack explained why he thinks, despite the President's repeated assertions to the contrary, that Obama won’t do it.

Later, Ammar Abdulhamid offered his response to the address from a Syrian perspective, suggesting the president is right on one point: Syrians didn’t call Moscow or Beijing for help; “they called America, who didn’t answer.”

Ben unveiled the latest Rational Security, “The State of the Union is Pretty Chill” edition. It’s pretty chill too, so you should listen to it.

Fox Business Network hosted the sixth Republican presidential debate on Thursday night. Elina Saxena summarized the sections most relevant to Lawfare readers.

Did you see that Twitter was sued for providing material support to ISIS? Ben and Zoe Bedell noted that the case theory “is precisely the one that [they] hypothesized” a few months ago in regards to Apple providing end-to-end encryption to terrorists. They argue this case will be an important one to follow.

Susan Hennessey offered a three part analysis explaining CISA. Read part one, part two, and part three.

Speaking of laws relating to cyber, Stewart Baker and Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) dove into the 215 metadata program and its USA FREEDOM Act replacement, in the latest edition of the Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast.

Bobby shared the upcoming Strauss Center’s Cybersecurity Conference on “Going Dark, Hacking Back, Botnet Takedowns, and More.” Check out Bobby’s post for the full agenda.

Cody shared the latest edition of the Lawfare Podcast with Nick Weaver. Nick tells us why we need to get rid of our Bitcoin. Note that since Ben and Nick recorded this podcast, the price of one bitcoin has fallen by approximately 20 percent. Coincidence? You decide.

Both Jack and Paul wrote about their sad experiences with the “feckless OPM” following the agency’s data breach.

Ben updated us on his application for Estonian digital residency. He’s was later ecstatic to announce that his application has been approved!

Cody flagged a new NSA report on the implementation of the USA Freedom Act, as well as the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community’s Semiannual Report to the Director of National Intelligence.

In Sunday’s Foreign Policy Essay, Ariane Tabatabai and Dina Esfandiary highlighted Yemen as key to making progress in the region as a whole.

Jumping to Africa, Aaron Zelin released the latest Jihadology Podcast featuring Andrew Lebovich. They discussed the different jihadi groups that have been active in Mali in recent years.

Carrie Cordero recalled her trip to Israel’s borders with Syria and Egypt last month and reflected on what those areas mean for counterterrorism.

Mai El-Sadany commented on the awful images of children with sunken eyes and emaciated bodies in Syria and explained starvation, a favorite tactic of the brutal Assad regime, under IHL.

Naz Modirzadeh commented on whether medical humanitarians should stay put in light of all the attacks on medical facilities in recent months, especially in Yemen.

The Lawfare staff shared the latest edition of Water Wars, our own weekly roundup of the latest developments in the South China Sea, where Beijing has faced pushback over its decision to land multiple civilian aircraft on the contested Fiery Cross Reef.

Speaking of tensions with China, Julian Ku considered whether and to what extent the United States has an obligation to defend Taiwan against military action by China.

Adam Klein explained whether Iran’s photographs of captured U.S. Navy sailors constituted a violation of the Geneva Conventions. The State Department deemed that it did not.

David Bosco commented on British war crimes investigations being conducted in the shadow of the International Criminal Court.

Clara Spera summarized the proposed legislative reforms to the Uniform Code of Military Justice currently pending in Congress.

Helen Klein commented on the D.C. Circuit's upcoming Abd al-Rahim al Nashiri’s case. Al Nashiri, charged with planning the USS Cole attack in Yemen in 2000, currently awaits his military commission trial.

Carrie also shared the Harvard Law Review’s new article outlining the role of the President and the National Security Council in overseeing the collection of foreign intelligence. She says that anyone interested in these issues, especially all Lawfare readers who are students, practitioners, and scholars of the Intelligence Community will certainly want to read it.

And that was the week that was.