The Week That Was

The Week that Was: All of Lawfare in One Post

By Rishabh Bhandari
Saturday, June 25, 2016, 10:03 AM

Britain’s decision to leave the European Union on Thursday night stunned the political establishment throughout the West. Zoe Bedell wrote a post on the legal and regulatory implications of Brexit. Timothy Edgar penned a piece speculating that Britain’s exit from the EU could be a blow for civil liberties advocates and U.S. national security.

On Orlando, Marc Meyer framed the slaughter as another heartbreaking instance of violence leveled at the LGBT community. Carrie Cordero suggested legislation that could enhance law enforcement officials’ capabilities to tackle lone wolves. Nora Ellingsen recapped the options currently available to the FBI when it encounters someone who likely supports a terrorist group but has yet to perpetrate a violent crime. Clara Spera reviewed the gun control proposals that came up on the Senate floor this week as the nation began another round of heated debate surrounding the Second Amendment. Rishabh Bhandari urged Congress to discharge its constitutional duty and pass an ISIS-specific Authorization for Use of Military Force in the wake of the Orlando attack.

Nora also updated us on two cases in California in which defendants were charged with providing material support to foreign terrorist groups.

Ashley Deeks and Marty Lederman questioned the legality and efficacy of potential airstrikes against the Assad regime after 51 employees at the State Department penned a withering dissent cable lamenting the White House’s Syria strategy. Charlie Savage joined the fray with an observation that the debate so far about the legality of fighting Assad does not accurately reflect the opinion of the Obama administration. Jack Goldsmith also responded to Deeks and Lederman with a similar legal justification if the White House decided to go after Damascus without Congressional or U.N. Security Council support.

Jessica Brandt and Robert L. McKenzie proposed a series of solutions to the Syrian refugee crisis.

Paul Rosenzweig highlighted some of the unresolved questions in the field of cyber warfare. Benjamin Wittes explored the same subject in the latest Lawfare Podcast, wherein he interviews Fred Kaplan, the author of Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War.

Jack observed that the U.S.-China cyberespionage agreement is facilitating President Xi Jinping’s efforts to centralize control of the military.

Meanwhile, Julian Ku dismissed China’s recent efforts to undermine the legitimacy of UNCLOS, as Beijing waits to hear from an international tribunal over its claims in the South China Sea. Ken Anderson drew our attention to a public statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry stating that Beijing and Moscow will sign a joint declaration affirming their shared interpretation of international law. He also spotlighted a report from the Center for a New American Security that investigates how drones will be deployed in the Asia-Pacific.

Ben dismissed the intellectual reasoning behind a New York Times editorial that called for the closure of the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He also flagged another material support suit that a father of one of the women killed in the Paris massacre last November has filed against Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

Isaac Park analyzed the Supreme Court’s ruling in RJR Nabisco, Inc. v. European Community.

Herb Lin clarified a recent statement CIA Director John Brennan made during congressional testimony vis-à-vis the ability of foreign companies to produce technologically desirable and also encrypted products. He also encouraged us to read a white paper from Microsoft that calls for the creation of an independent body to judge attribution disputes in transnational cyber complaints.

Ryan Hagemann praised the bipartisan Digital Security Commission Act, co-sponsored by Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), as a serious contribution to our ongoing encryption debates.

Ken shared a brief review of Ann Larabee’s 2015 book The Wrong Hands: Popular Weapons Manuals and Their Historic Challenges to a Democratic Society. He also filled us in after finishing the Oxford Handbook of The Use of Force in International Law, a mammoth anthology of articles and chapters compiled by leading scholars of international law.

Oona Hathaway and Jack Goldsmith read a report by the Defense Department’s Inspector General and concluded that the broken pre-publication review process can’t be repaired on an agency-by-agency basis.

Ammar Abdulhamid traced the complex and evolving relationship Islam has had with modernity.

Sultan Barakat suggested three ways Iran and Saudi Arabia can enhance regional stability and improve bilateral relations.

Paul Rosenzweig shared a link to a semi-serious geopolitics-meets-game theory analysis by The Economist 1843 of “Game of Thrones.

Benjamin Wittes posted the latest podcast from Rational Security, which features a guest appearance by Jonathan Rauch to discuss his Atlantic cover story on how the U.S. political system has broken down and its implications for our foreign policy.

Samuel Moyn gave us a comprehensive rundown of Mark Danner’s latest book, Spiral: Trapped in the Forever War.

Matthew Wein highlighted the new strategies the Transportation Security Administration is adopting to minimize the trade-off between travel convenience and security in airport screening.

And Stewart Baker posted the latest episode from the Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast, which includes an interview with Jamie Smith, the global chief communications officer for the BitFury Group, one of the largest full-service blockchain technology companies.

And that was the week that was.