Benjamin Wittes outlined the journalistic sourcing conventions at work in stories about the Russia investigation and the White House.
John McKay discussed Robert Mueller’s reported investigation of the Trump family’s finances—and why efforts to curtail it are wrongheaded.
Matthew Kahn flagged a DOJ filing that contradicted President Trump’s claim that President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the 2016 election.
In their Foreign Policy column this week, Susan Hennessey and Wittes cautioned the Senate Intelligence Committee against wrapping up its investigation before it fully answers the ever-lengthening list of questions about the President, the campaign, and Russian interference in the election.
Wittes posted this week’s episode of Rational Security:
Matthew Waxman wrote an essay on the 100th anniversary of Charles Evans Hughes's dictum that “the power to wage war is the power to wage war successfully”—and the relevance today of the speech from which it comes.
Josh Blackman explained why the administration’s decision to end DACA undermines constitutional and political norms on Lawfare’s Foreign Policy Feed.
Kahn posted the Justice Department’s brief opposing the cert petition in Bahlul v. United States. Russell Spivak summarized the Second Circuit’s opinion in Doe v. Hagenbeck, a case about how West Point’s leadership responded to sexual assaults. John Bellinger flagged Jennifer Newstead’s nomination as State Department Legal Advisor. Peter Margulies shared his thoughts on the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Hawaii v. Trump.
Blackman defended his stance that the judiciary should maintain the “presumption of regularity” in matters related to President Trump.
Lawfare ran a series of responses to Timothy Edgar’s new book “Beyond Snowden: Privacy, Mass Surveillance and the Struggle to Reform the NSA.” Edgar introduced the book and detailed how his experience in the intelligence community shaped his perspective. Teeing off, Paul Rosenzweig outlined his disagreements with Edgar’s treatment of transparency as good for its own sake. Mieke Eoyang highlighted Edgar’s portrayal of the various policy communities involved in the debate about NSA surveillance. Siobhan Gorman reviewed the badly broken oversight system for U.S. surveillance programs. Robert Litt noted how public servants can help clarify public debates about surveillance. Liza Goitein argued that the book fell short in making recommendations about the most topical debate: the reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act’s Section 702. Benjamin Wizner explained how Edgar’s focus on oversight and transparency helps to bridge the divide between the intelligence community and civil society.
On the subject of surveillance, Sarah Grant, Matthew Kahn, and Shannon Togawa Mercer summarized documents that ODNI released in August in response to a FOIA request from the ACLU about Section 702. And Ben Buchanan shared his essay analyzing the successes and failures of the U.S.’s ‘Nobody But Us’ approach to signals intelligence for the Hoover Institution’s Aegis Paper Series. Robert Chesney and Steve Vladeck posted the latest episode of the National Security Law Podcast, discussing the reported decline in FBI arrests of Islamic State supporters in the U.S.; the state of pre-trial proceedings in the 9/11 military commissions case; and legal issues surrounding the Trump administration’s decision to end DACA:
J. Dana Stuster posted the Middle East Ticker, covering the IAEA’s review of the Iran nuclear deal, tensions within the rebel coalition in Yemen, and the Islamic State’s diminishing territory in Syria and Iraq.
In the Foreign Policy Essay, Kristin Smith Diwan argued that policymakers should discard their assumptions about the behavior of Gulf leaders because of a sea change in attitudes among a new generation of monarchs. Stuster interviewed Grant Rumley and Amir Tibon, authors of The Last Palestinian: The Rise and Reign of Mahmoud Abbas. Elissa Miller cautioned that British and French interference in Libya could be undermining the U.N. effort to create a negotiated settlement between rival factions.
Nora Ellingsen summarized FBI and Justice Department actions related to international terrorism prosecutions over the spring and summer.
Nicholas Weaver considered how iOS11 may affect Customs and Border Protection searches of devices crossing the border. Rosenzweig flagged the Klobuchar-Graham NDAA amendment on protecting electoral cybersecurity infrastructure. And Stewart Baker posted the Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast, featuring analysis of U.S. government use of Kaspersky software and an discussion of blockchain technology with Michael Mainelli:
George Perkovich reviewed Arundhati Roy’s new novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.
Mieke Eoyang, Ben Freeman, and Benjamin Wittes published August 2017 data from their project on confidence in government in national securtiy matters, assessing public attitudes about government institutions, political parties, and foreign policy.
Robert Chesney shared the announcement for the Mike Lewis Prize for National Security Law Scholarship, supported by the ONU Pettit College of Law and the Strauss Center at UT-Austin.
Matthew Kahn flagged an upcoming conference at Harvard Law School on “Populist Plutocrats.”
And that was the week that was.