The Week That Was

The Week That Was: All of Lawfare in One Post

By William Ford
Saturday, March 31, 2018, 9:42 AM

In response to growing concerns that President Trump will fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Adam White argued that Congress should focus on the procedural elements of any judicial review of a dismissal of the special counsel. Steve Vladeck challenged White’s argument and reiterated his previous contention that Congress should pass bipartisan legislation barring the president from firing Mueller without good cause. Bob Bauer argued that Congress should pass a bill requiring Mueller to report his findings to Congress if Trump fires him.

Benjamin Wittes posted the Rational Security Podcast: The “All the President’s Lawyers” Edition:

In this week’s Middle East Ticker, J. Dana Stuster examined the ongoing debate over the Iran nuclear deal, Turkey’s offensive beyond Afrin, and Egypt’s presidential election.

Katy Collin contended that achieving peace in Syria requires international actors to support the U.N.-backed peace process.

Daniel Byman argued that the situation in the Middle East will remain broken or will further deteriorate after the collapse of the Islamic State.

Robert Chesney and Steve Vladeck posted the National Security Law Podcast, in which the pair discuss the meaning of “terrorism,” and, among other things, John Bolton, the president’s new pick for national security adviser:

John Bellinger argued that the administration and the International Criminal Court should take action to avoid an unnecessary collision once Bolton becomes the national security adviser.

Stewart Baker commended Bolton’s work on the Proliferation Security Initiative and expressed hope that the former ambassador’s successful improvement of international WMD interdiction regimes could portend success in dealing with Iran and North Korea. 

Nicholas Miller argued that Washington’s current approach to nuclear nonproliferation, particularly its reliance on the 1968 nonproliferation treaty, often does more harm than good.

Benjamin Alter contended that the growing importance of sanctions as a tool to respond to international crises presents Congress with the opportunity to exert more control over the crafting of U.S. foreign policy.

Chris Mirasola argued that the administration's latest sanctions on Russia provide little new information about the Russian actors who coordinated international cyber attacks or interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

Thomas Ewing posited that a recent speech by Russian President Vladimir Putin reveals his stance on technological sovereignty.

Lawfare’s Editors announced the next Hoover Book Soiree, which will take place on April 5. Benjamin Wittes and Tim Maurer will discuss Maurer’s new book, “Cyber Mercenaries: The State, Hackers, and Power.”

Stewart Baker posted the Cyberlaw Podcast, which included an interview with Michael Page, a policy and ethics adviser at OpenAI:

Robert Chesney shared the syllabus for the “Cybersecurity Foundations: Law, Policy, and Institutions” course that he teaches.

Alan Rozenshtein discussed the National Academies’ new report on possible solutions to the problem of designing a secure system through which third parties like federal law enforcement might access encrypted data.

Susan Landau observed that the FBI’s initial failure to gain access the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter was not the result of a technical inability to do so but rather an unwillingness to exhaust every option in the bureau’s attempt to gain access to the phone. As Landau notes, the case “was not a ‘going dark’ issue” at all. 

Danielle Citron and Quinta Jurecic examined the strengths and weakness of the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA).

Ashley Deeks and Shannon Togawa Mercer delineated the costs and benefits of using facial recognition software.

Jesse Lempel argued that a loophole in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act—its intellectual property exception—could be used to combat “deep fakes” through “right of publicity” claims.

Susan Landau argued that the Cambridge Analytica scandal underscores Facebook’s failure to protect and prioritize users’ privacy.

Matthew Kahn posted the directive and corresponding memo issued by the director of national intelligence on the intelligence community’s policies for protecting privacy and civil liberties and providing greater transparency.

Leah West explained how C-59—a national security bill under consideration by the Canadian Parliament—will add to the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service’s capabilities by granting it the authority to collect, retain, and use “datasets.”  

Kahn shared the Lawfare Podcast, a conversation between Jack Goldsmith and Niall Ferguson about Ferguson’s new book, “The Square and the Tower: Networks, Hierarchies and the Struggle for Power”:

Rachel VanLandingham reviewed Gregory Gordon’s “Atrocity Speech Law: Foundation, Fragmentation, Fruition.”

Chinmayi Sharma summarized the administration’s new policy on transgender servicemembers.

And Kahn shared the Lawfare Podcast, a conversation between Jack Goldsmith and Amy Chua about her new book, “Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations”:

And that was the week that was.