The Week That Was

The Week That Was: All of Lawfare in One Post

By Gordon Ahl
Saturday, November 9, 2019, 9:05 AM

On Friday, the Lawfare team published the final episode of The Report. This episode wraps up the narrative told in the Mueller Report by exploring the challenges Mueller faced in drawing conclusions on obstructin of justice:

Jessica Brandt discussed five policy domains where there exists bipartisan cooperation to address future threats related to foreign election interference. Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast featuring audio from a Brookings event with experts, including Lawfare’s Benjamin Wittes, on election security and impeachment:

Before the start of its open hearings next week, the House impeachment inquiry released several transcripts from closed-door depositions. It started with the transcripts of Marie Yovanovitch and Michael McKinley on Monday, followed by Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker on Tuesday, then Bill Taylor on Wednesday, George Kent on Thursday and finally Lt. Col Alexander Vindman and Fiona Hill on Friday.

On this week’s episode of Rational Security, Margaret Taylor, Tamara Cofman Wittes and Shane Harris covered Gordon Sondland’s update to his testimony, scrutiny of Mike Pompeo’s leadership at the State Department, and the rules put forward by the House for the public phase of the impeachment inquiry:

Erik Manukyan summarized a lawsuit brought by WhatsApp against NSO Group, an Israeli technology company. Nicholas Weaver commented on the key takeaways thus far from the suit. Alan Rozenshtein considered how the suit could spell the end for lawful hacking as a tool available to law enforcement officials.

In the second episode in the new "Arbiters of Truth" series on the Lawfare Podcast, Quinta Jurecic and Evelyn Douek spoke with Daphne Keller about content moderation on tech platforms:

Radha Iyengar Plumb discussed the comprehensive analysis conducted by Facebook in the process of creating the company's new Oversight Board. Meanwhile, Jeb Rubenfeld suggested that Facebook and Google should possibly be viewed as state actors—meaning that their content moderation policies would be subject to constitutional scrutiny.

In other cyber-related news, Jacob Schulz posted the charges against two former Twitter employees for allegedly spying on behalf of Saudi Arabia. Susan Landau highlighted a recent letter to Attorney General Bill Barr calling on the Justice Department to stop pressuring companies to open up encryption to government access. Stewart Baker shared the latest episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast, which opens with comments from David Kris on the CFIUS investigation of TikTok:

Jacob Schulz explored the French effort to try its citizens who joined the Islamic State as foreign fighters in Iraqi courts to avoid repatriation.

Hilary Mosberg proposed changes to improve the effectiveness of sanctions as a foreign policy tool in Africa.

Arindrajit Basu considered how India has contributed to global debates on cyber policy.

Howell also shared another episode of the Lawfare Podcast, in which Bobby Chesney sat down with Stephanie Leutert and Sheriff Benny Martinez of Brooks County, Texas to discuss their collaboration on a research project about migrants who have died trying to evade a border patrol checkpoint in the county:

Gordon Ahl uploaded the appellate ruling that President Trump’s accounting firm must hand over his tax returns to the Manhattan District Attorney. Ahl also posted the affidavit unsealed this week detailing how a Colorado man allegedly sought to blow up a synagogue.

William Ford outlined the major developments from a recent Senate hearing on evolving threats to the U.S. homeland, which included testimony from FBI Director Christopher Wray.

Elaine Kamarck examined the domestic political impact of the Iranian hostage crisis on the presidency of Jimmy Carter.

Finally, Chesney announced a call for teams for a cyber policy competition coming to Austin in January.

And that was the week that was.