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The week ended with a bang, as news broke that the NSA is halting “about” collection under Section 702 because of difficulty in complying with regulations imposed by the FISA Court. Quinta Jurecic alerted us to the story, and Susan Hennessey posted NSA’s public statement on the matter. Bobby Chesney asked whether the agency can pause “about” collection without also limiting upstream “to/from” collection.
Pondering the recent leaks of hacking tools from NSA and CIA, Bruce Schneier asked who exactly is behind these disclosures and what their aim is.
In light of recent news that the United States will seek to press charges against Julian Assange, Ashley Deeks considered whether the U.S. will really be able to extradite the Wikileaks founder. Bobby Chesney and Steve Vladeck weighed in on the possibility of an Assange prosecution on the National Security Law Podcast, as did Alan Cohn and Maury Shenk on the Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast:
As the investigations into connections between Russia and the Trump campaign continue, Benjamin Wittes cautioned against reading too much into reports that the Senate Select Intelligence Committee investigation is moving too slowly but also argued that reports of staffing shortages are clearly correct. Quinta flagged a press conference by House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings on the White House’s refusal to release documents on Michael Flynn, and posted three letters released by Rep. Cummings indicating that Flynn may not have disclosed his payments from foreign governments on his application to renew his security clearance.
The Rational Security gang weighed in on both Flynn’s security clearance and the SSCI investigation in the “SF-86’d” Edition:
This week’s Lawfare Podcast featured Justice Department prosecutor Mona Sedky on her work prosecuting sextortion cases:
Elena Chachko reviewed the stalled state of cyber reform in Israel in light of a leaked letter revealing conflict between the government and security forces over a new agenda to promote cybersecurity and cyber defense.
In the Middle East Ticker, Dana Stuster updated us on Iran’s upcoming presidential election and possible escalations of U.S. engagement in Yemen and Syria. Noha Abdoueldahab warned against impulsive promises for justice in Syria, while Quinta posted a letter to the White House by Senator Tim Kaine and Representative Adam Schiff requesting information on the administration’s legal justification for the recent airstrikes on a Syrian airbase. Meanwhile, Yuri Zhukov took a look at Russia’s increased involvement in the Middle East.
Former International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo argued that if the United States wants to avoid an ICC investigation into U.S. detention and interrogation practices in Afghanistan, its best bet is to present the status of forces agreement between the U.S. and Afghanistan to the ICC Prosecutor.
Eliot Kim examined a visit to a disputed island in the South China Sea by Filipino military officials in this week’s Water Wars.
In a major blow to the Trump administration’s executive order on immigration policy, a federal district judge issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against a provision of the order allowing the Justice Department to restrict federal grants from cities deemed sanctuary jurisdictions. Russell Spivak summarized the order, and Jane Chong criticized press coverage of the issue.
Ryan Scoville argued that an originalist interpretation of the Appointments Clause would seriously limit President Trump’s ambitious trade agenda. Bobby also took a look at the President’s appointment power, considering Trump’s ability to potentially hamstring an agency such as the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board simply by not nominating anyone to fill open positions. Quinta examined Trump’s two Twitter accounts, @POTUS and @realDonaldTrump, as a new manifestation of the medieval political theology of the king’s “body politic” and “body natural.”
As military commissions hearings took place this week in the case of Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, Quinta provided us with Chief Prosecutor Brigadier General Mark Martins’ statement on the proceedings and posted case coverage. Jordan Brunner summarized the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s ruling reaffirming the district court’s earlier denial of a motion by Guantanamo detainee Saifullah Paracha to hold a range of statutory provisions unconstitutional as bills of attainder.
Considering the rise in recruitment by militant jihadist groups, Aaron Zelin argued that programs on Countering Violent Extremism are now increasingly important.
Jack Goldsmith and Benjamin Wittes invited readers to the upcoming Hoover Book Soiree on Mark Moyar’s new book, Oppose Any Foe: The Rise of America’s Special Operations Forces.
And that was the week that was.