The week started with some unexpected early excitement over China’s seizure of a U.S. navy drone in international waters in the South China Sea. Julian Ku kicked off our discussion the weak legal basis for China’s actions. James Kraska and Raul “Pete” Pedrozo also weighed in on what the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea has to say about the seizure. (Julian, James, and Pete’s posts also made a surprise appearance on Chinese state television in Shenzen, which did not take kindly to their interpretation of international law.)
Writing from Jerusalem, Benjamin Wittes and Paul Rosenzweig argued that Donald Trump’s controversial pick for ambassador to Israel, who is a settlement enthusiast who has expressed the desire to relocate the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, poses a serious danger to the region.
April C. Hill and Jane Chong considered what lies ahead for the new administration regarding climate policy, which poses a serious national security threat.
On the Lawfare Podcast, Shane Harris, Susan Hennessey, Timothy Edgar, Carrie Cordero, and former National Counterterrorism Center director Matthew Olsen discussed Trump’s troubled relationship with the intelligence community, and what it means for the years ahead:
News on Russian interference in the U.S. election continued to heat up, with news from Crowdstrike attributing the DNC hack to Russia’s military intelligence agency with even greater confidence. Andrew McClure reviewed the United States’ response so far to the Kremlin’s meddling, while Matt Tait cautioned against a hasty response. Stewart Baker and the rest of the crew also weighed the difficulties of retaliation on the Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast:
Herb Lin also considered the destructive effects of cyberattacks more generally, noting how such attacks can have second- or third-order consequences beyond immediate damage.
Adam Klein provided some recommendations for surveillance policy under Trump based on a new report from the Center for a New American Security. On a similar note, Paul considered the trouble facing the weakened Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. And the House Intelligence Committee released a full, unclassified version of its report on Edward Snowden.
Orin Kerr responded to April Doss’s earlier post on United States v. Mohamed Mohamud, criticizing the Ninth Circuit’s decision. Andrew Keane Woods studied the implications of another court case from across the Atlantic: the European Court of Justice’s opinion invalidating large portions of the U.K. Investigatory Powers Act.
Scott Montgomery defended the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation Program, which provides civilian government agencies with a means by which to improve cybersecurity, against a major cut in funding.
Clara Spera and David Ryan rounded out Lawfare’s coverage of the previous week’s pretrial hearings in the USS Cole case, and Quinta Jurecic brought us Military Commissions Chief Prosecutor Mark Martins’ statement on the conclusion of this round of hearings. Ben flagged a Guantanamo habeas hearing that took place on Tuesday. Ben and Quinta also noted a motion to preserve the Senate Intelligence Committee’s “torture report” filed in the habeas case of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.
In the Foreign Policy Essay, Audrey Alexander noted the increased number of American female jihadis a year after the San Bernardino attacks. On the flipside, Russel Spivak and Adam Aliano examined a court case that has the potential to decide whether American women must register for Selective Service along with their male peers.
J. Dana Stuster updated the Middle East Ticker with a busy week of news, including Trump’s pick for ambassador to Israel and the assassination of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey. He also reviewed what 2016 has meant for the region.
Ashley Deeks alerted us to her new paper on the Obama administration’s minimalist approach to international law.
Paul wished us all a happy holiday season with a flashback to 1914.
And that was the week that was.