The Week That Was

The Week That Was: All of Lawfare in One Post

By William Ford
Saturday, February 10, 2018, 8:26 AM

Let's start with the Nunes memo.

Jack Goldsmith discussed the implications of the White House counsel’s cover letter to the release of the Nunes memo.

Carrie Cordero pondered the unintended consequences potentially created by the memo’s release.

Sophia Brill argued that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) could clear up whether it was misled—as the Nunes memo alleges it was—by the FBI and the Justice Department when they sought orders to surveil Carter Page. Susan Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes filed an amicus brief with the FISC to urge the court to inform the public of whatever action it takes in response to the allegations made in the Nunes memo. Matthew Kahn posted the New York Times’s filing with the FISC requesting the release of the applications and orders which approved the surveillance of Carter Page.

During a business meeting on Monday, February 5, the House intelligence committee voted unanimously to release Democrats’ rebuttal to the Nunes memo. Shannon Togawa Mercer shared the now-public transcript of the meeting.

In broader L’Affaire Russe news, Bob Bauer contended that the constitutional argument that the president cannot be indicted puts the special counsel in the difficult position of being responsible both to Congress and to the executive.

Nora Ellingsen, Quinta Jurecic, Sabrina McCubbin, Mercer and Wittes wrote that more than 100 pages of declassified FBI communications reveal the bureau’s real reaction to the firing of former director James Comey.

Mieke Eoyang, Ben Freeman and Wittes shared their January polling data on public confidence in government on national security matters. They found that confidence remains stable.

Bauer argued that it is folly to dismiss—as many people do—President Trump’s demagogic practices as just “words” until some related “action” occurs.

Stewart Baker interviewed Susan Landau in this week’s Cyberlaw Podcast. The two discussed Landau’s new book “Listening In: Cybersecurity in an Insecure Age.”

Benjamin Wittes posted this week's Rational Security, the "I love a Parade" Edition:

Kristen Eichensehr reviewed Lucas Kello’s “The Virtual Weapon and International Order,” a book which attempts to gauge the significance of cyber weapons to international order.

Andrew Keane Woods and Peter Swire argued that the CLOUD Act could solve the regulatory problem of which country’s law enforcement officials should be able to access Internet data in the cloud. Woods also interviewed Paddy McGuinness, the U.K. deputy national security adviser, for a British perspective on the cross-border data problem.

Hayley Evans summarized the ruling handed down by the U.K. Court of Appeal on Section 1 of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act and explained what’s next for the act.

David Kimball-Stanley summarized the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to affirm the lower court’s dismissal of Fields v. Twitter.

Nicholas Weaver argued that U.S. regulators should investigate those behind the cryptocurrency Tether in an effort to reduce criminal activity and undermine the exchanges that rely on Tether.

Matthew Kahn posted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s letter to Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The letter included a proposal for the creation of a Bureau for Cyberspace and the Digital Economy at the State Department.

Dan Geer shared his latest essay on security policy in the Aegis Paper Series.

Responding to the recent reduction of U.S. troop levels in Iraq and Turkey’s continued offensive against the Kurds in northern Syria, J. Dana Stuster posted this week’s Middle East Ticker. Stuster also discussed Saudi Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and the troubling lack of meetings between senior Israeli and Palestinian officials about a potential peace process.

Quinta Jurecic collated all the legal documents generated by Protect Democracy’s FOIA suit to obtain the Trump administration’s legal justification for the U.S. airstrikes in Syria during April 2017.

She also posted the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Linde v. Arab Bank.  

Michael Smith called for a more aggressive set of government policies and laws to motivate technology companies to contribute more to counterterrorism efforts.

Daniel Byman explained why improving governance is an unrealistic policy proposal and why the U.S. does not undertake governance-improvement programs.

Sarah Grant addressed the recent personnel changes made by the Pentagon to the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay.

Robert Chesney and Steve Vladeck shared this week’s National Security Law Podcast, in which the two discuss, among other things, President Trump’s treason remarks, military commissions, and the Doe v. Mattis status report.

Contributing to Lawfare’s coverage of the Pentagon this week, Brenna Gautam summarized the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review. Gregory Kulacki argued that the approach to China outlined in the document is deeply flawed.

Mercer addressed important matters of international security related to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, including North Korea-South Korea relations.

Lawfare’s Editors announced the next Hoover Book Soiree, which will take place on Feb. 28. Benjamin Wittes will interview Max Boot about his new book, “The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam.”

Tim Maurer and Agustin Rossi explained why Latin America needs to prepare for election meddling now; they offered ways the U.S. can help.

And that was the week that was.