The Week That Was

The Week That Was: All of Lawfare in One Post

By Rachel Bercovitz
Saturday, May 19, 2018, 10:17 AM

On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee released more than 2,500 pages of transcripts and communications connected to the Committee’s investigation of Donald Trump, Jr.’s June 9, 2016 meeting at the Trump Tower. Quinta Jurecic posted the released documents and presented the first part of Lawfare’s summaries of the documents.

On Thursday, the Senate confirmed Gina Haspel to serve as director of the CIA. Prior to the confirmation vote, Matthew Kahn posted Haspel’s responses to written questions from members of the Senate Committee on Intelligence. After the vote, Matt Tait assessed the CIA’s rendition, detention, and interrogation program, concluding on the basis of thousands of pages of declassified CIA documents that the program was “conducted unsafely, with a lack of discipline and with a reckless disregard for foreseeable consequences from the very start.”

Ronald R. Krebs and James Ron presented a defense of foreign funding of civil society organizations, arguing that such funding is of particular significance when domestic funding sources are unavailable or insufficient.

Susan Hennessey highlighted the launch of Sourcelist, a public directory of female experts in technology policy. The first list, Women+, aggregates profiles on women and underrepresented genders in technology policy.

John Dehn responded to Jack Goldsmith’s and Michael Glennon’s arguments regarding U.S. constitutional and international laws that regulate the use of war powers.

In a Sunday tweet, President Trump announced the U.S. would reverse course with respect to Chinese telecom ZTE, whose survival has been threatened by the U.S. ban on exports to ZTE. Nicholas Weaver teased out the components of the U.S.’s current strategy toward ZTE—the Commerce Department’s sanctions, and government efforts to end the reliance of U.S. infrastructure on products purchased from ZTE.

Susan Landau critiqued Ray Ozzie’s “Clear” proposal for affording law enforcement agents “exceptional access” to encrypted communications and locked devices, noting the proposal fails to account for critical security concerns.

Stewart Baker posted the latest Cyberlaw podcast:

In this week’s Middle East ticker, J. Dana Stuster flagged the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, fallout from protests along the Gaza-Israel border, the outcome of Iraq and Lebanon’s parliamentary elections, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s preparations for snap elections in June. Morgan Kaplan explained why the period following Iraq’s May 12 elections will shape the political fortunes of Iraqi Kurdish parties.

Michael Nesbitt critiqued Canada’s legislative proposals to reform intelligence sharing among the country’s national security and intelligence agencies.

Sarah Grant reported the latest from the military commission in United States v. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed et al. (the “9/11 case”), which reconvened for pretrial proceedings on April 30.

Valentin Weber reviewed Tim Maurer’s new book, “Cyber Mercenaries: The State, Hackers, and Power.”

On Tuesday’s Lawfare podcast, Benjamin Wittes spoke with Amanda Tyler at the Hoover Book Soiree on her new book, “Habeas Corpus in Wartime: From the Tower of London to Guantanamo Bay.”

Paul Rosenzweig critiqued the National Security Council’s elimination of its cybersecurity coordinator position (“cyber czar”).

Mike Godwin discussed the contemporary concerns about online advertising within the context of similar concerns that aired in the mid-twentieth century about the ethics and aims of print advertisements.

Harry Litman outlined how prosecutors might “flip” Michael Cohen into a cooperating witness against President Trump.

In the latest edition of SinoTech, David Stanton and Wenqing Zhao discussed U.S.-China trade talks and President Trump’s softened stance toward ZTE.

David Manners-Weber argued that congressional certification requirements, such as those introduced in 2010 for Guantanamo detainee transfers, can constrain executive action on national security matters by harnessing the phenomenon of “fear of blame.”

Tanvi Madan discussed how the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA may impact India’s oil imports and plans for a transit route through Iran to Afghanistan and Central Asia. Madan affirmed that the U.S.-India relationship was unlikely to suffer harm.

Kahn posted the Department of Homeland Security’s 2018 Cybersecurity Strategy, released on Tuesday.

In a special edition of the Lawfare podcast, Wittes spoke with Buzzfeed reporter Anthony Cormier on his recent article (coauthored with Jason Leopold) on the negotiations to construct the Trump World Tower Moscow—an effort led by Michael Cohen and Felix Sater as the 2016 election campaign unfolded.

Jen Patja Howell posted the latest episode of Rational Security.

Bobby Chesney and Steve Vladeck posted the latest episode of the National Security Law podcast, discussing the D.C. Circuit Court’s ruling in Doe v. Mattis, along with the Court’s briefing orders in Smith v. Trump and the al-Nashiri military commission case.

And Quinta Jurecic summarized Thursday’s oral argument hearing on a motion to dismiss in Cockrum v. Trump.

And that was the week that was.