The Week That Was

The Week That Was: All of Lawfare in One Post

By Alex Potcovaru
Saturday, August 12, 2017, 6:27 AM

To better understand Russian interference in the 2016 election, Benjamin Wittes recommended watching the movie "Icarus," a documentary that focuses on Russia’s Olympic doping program and that details Russian covert actions used to corrupt neutral international processes.

Michel Paradis analyzed recent Senate efforts to protect special counsel Robert Mueller from being fired by President Trump and explained how proposed legislation could actually harm Mueller and his investigation. Bob Bauer responded with some doubt to Rick Pildes’s Aug. 3 argument that a judicially enforceable codification of regulations on the DOJ special counsel would be constitutional.

Matthew Kahn posted the Lawfare Podcast, featuring Benjamin Wittes’s interview on the North Korean threat with Mira Rapp-Hooper of the Center for a New American Security and Stephan Haggard, a professor at the University of California, San Diego.

Alex Potcovaru discussed the international law of anticipatory self-defense and how it relates to U.S. options for addressing the North Korean threat.

Wittes posted the Rational Security podcast, in which the gang discussed President Trump’s warnings against North Korea’s aggression, the Department of Justice’s crackdown on leaks to the press, and developments in the Russia investigation—plus Twitter cocktail suggestions and Rational Security mugs.

Wittes and Susan Hennessey posted excerpts from their Lawfare@FP column considering the implications of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s Aug. 4 announcement that the DOJ would step up investigations into intelligence leaks. Helen Klein Murillo discussed the Sessions announcement as an intervention in a decades-long balancing act between the government and the press.

Robert Chesney analyzed the Government Accountability Office’s recent report that included a discussion on separating the National Security Agency and CYBERCOM. He suggested caution when evaluating the evidence the report uses to make its claims.

Former NSA deputy director Rick Ledgett argued that the government should not disclose all the digital vulnerabilities of which it is aware.

Merritt Baer and Chinmayi Sharma examined legal theories of harm in data-breach litigation.

Ashley Deeks previewed her forthcoming article on the use of secret commitments between states in contemporary practice, noting that a majority of those now-revealed commitments have complied with the U.N. Charter.

J. Dana Stuster posted the Middle East Ticker, covering the faltering of Russian-backed cease-fires in western Syria, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s warning to the U.S. over the international nuclear agreement and the possible indictment of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Dipali Mukhopadhyay and Omar Sharifi assessed the progress of state-building in Afghanistan. They urged Western support for Afghan institutions critical to bolstering democracy and also suggested that foreign donors offer targeted, smart support for individuals and groups driving change.

Sarah Grant covered last week’s military commissions proceedings in the USS Cole case.

Quinta Jurecic posted the D.C. Circuit's decision to grant a writ of mandamus to the Court of Military Commisison Review in the 9/11 case.

Helen Klein Murillo reviewed a lawsuit filed by five transgender service members against Trump’s announced policy of banning transgender individuals from serving in the military.

Chesney and Steve Vladeck posted the latest episode of the National Security Law podcast in which they cover Salim v. Mitchell, the anti-leak crackdown, possible airstrikes against ISIS in the Philippines, and a bit of complex treaty law.

Emmah Wabuke analyzed the legal questions around internally deploying national military forces in Kenya following a March 17 decision by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Emily Holland and Rebecca Friedman Lissner discussed how to counter growing Russian influence in the Balkans, arguing that the West should infuse economic aid and investment.

In Water Wars, Eliot Kim and Jared Dummitt covered the framework Code of Conduct for the South China Sea formally endorsed at the ASEAN forum and also examined China’s recent display of military capacity. In another edition of Water Wars, Jimmy Chalk and Sarah Grant covered the third Trump-era U.S. FONOP, this time near Mischief Reef.

Luis Moreno Ocampo reviewed Catherine MacKinnon’s new book "Butterfly Politics."

And that was the week that was.