The Week That Was

The Week that Was: All of Lawfare in One Post

By Jordan Brunner
Saturday, January 28, 2017, 9:18 AM

President Trump started out his presidency by giving a speech at the CIA’s headquarters. Quinta Jurecic flagged the video and transcript of Trump’s speech and the various reactions to it, and Benjamin Wittes expressed curiosity as to why the White House characterized the political opinions of apolitical career CIA employees after the speech.

Jack Goldsmith argued that if a draft executive order on detention and interrogation is real, it would probably give the new administration a symbolic boost but would be largely self-defeating, while William Lietzau and Ryan Vogel recommended a set of steps for the Trump administration to take on U.S. detention policy.

Trump signed two more executive orders after giving a speech at the Department of Homeland Security’s headquarters. Quinta flagged the speech, Shannon Togawa Mercer summarized the executive order on deportation and sanctuary cities (entitled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States”), and she later summarized the executive order on immigration (entitled “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements”). Paul Rosenzweig explored the implications of Trump’s executive order on deportation and sanctuary cities for the Privacy Shield agreement. Adam Klein and Carrie Cordero explained that the order does not deny Privacy Act protections to Europeans, but it may have symbolic effects. Stephanie Leutert and Savitri Arvey reviewed the prospects for Trump’s border wall, and Paul flagged David Inserra’s review of the Department of Homeland Security and the need for reform.

Near the end of the week, Trump signed an executive order on refugees, which Quinta flagged.

Ben and William McCants examined the legality of the Trump administration designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.

In this week's Foreign Policy Essay, Ariane Tabatabai and Dina Esfandiary take on the question of what Trump's relationship with Iran will look like.

While Trump was busy signing executive orders, investigations into Trump’s ties with Russia continued. Susan Hennessey and Jordan Brunner attempted to disentangle what various news organizations and government officials have confirmed about current investigations into Trump associates’ ties to Russia, and the Rational Security gang discussed the investigations as well, along with the rest of the dizzying array of Trump news of the week:

Stephen Bates, meanwhile, criticized the intelligence community report on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign for effectively accusing RT of giving aid and comfort to the enemy, and Darren E. Tromblay examined two major structural deficiencies that have undermined the FBI’s efforts to reform and evolve.

Daniel Byman pondered his greatest analytic mistakes during the Obama administration.

In response to a New York Times article informing us that Trump is still using his personal phone, Nicholas Weaver examined the dangers of Trump’s insecure Android phone and suggested what action could be taken to rectify them.

Hugo Zylberberg proposed a security argument for data protection to prevent Russian interference in the upcoming elections in France and Germany, Adam Segal considered how best to rebuild trust between policymakers and Silicon Valley, and Stewart Baker posted the Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast, featuring a discussion on “Introducing the Herman Kahn of Cyberspace”:

Paul discussed possible links between Russian espionage arrests and America’s reaction to the hacking of the presidential election, and he later provided an update and a correction to that article.

Michael Sulmeyer presented three observations on China’s approach to state action in cyberspace, and Christopher Mirasola described the reactions of China, U.S. allies, and other countries to President Trump’s first week in office in “Water Wars.”

As Guantanamo continues to stay open, Quinta examined a Guantanamo habeas motion that was filed in response to one of President Trump’s tweets, and she also provided an update on the litigation surrounding the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s interrogation report.

Nora Ellingsen recounted how this week’s military commission pre-trial hearings were overshadowed by defense attorney Cheryl Bormann’s broken arm, while Quinta flagged Military Commissions Chief Prosecutor Mark Martins’ statement on the hearings.

On the Lawfare Podcast, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Stewart Baker and Amie Stepanovich to discuss his new paper with Emma Kohse on the privacy benefits of privacy threats:

Quinta provided a reminder about the next Hoover Book Soiree: Edward Jay Epstein on “How America Lost Its Secrets”—coming up on Feb. 1.

Curtis Bradley and Laurence R. Chadwick examined the recent decision of the UK Supreme Court regarding Brexit and the implications it could have for debates about treaty withdrawal in the United States.

Kenneth Pollack discussed the economic folly of President Trump’s suggestion that the United States “take” Iraqi oil, and J. Dana Stuster provided us with the “Middle East Ticker.”

Bobby Chesney introduced University of Texas School of Law’s new national security law podcast.

And that was the week that was.