The Week That Was

The Week that Was: All of Lawfare in One Post

By Elliot Setzer
Sunday, March 1, 2020, 9:03 AM

As coronavirus has continued to spread, the Trump administration’s message has been confused and contradictory. Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast featuring a discussion of coronavirus with Lisa Monaco, Obama’s counterterrorism and Homeland Security advisor, and Sophia Yan, a Beijing-based correspondent for The Telegraph:

She also shared an episode of Rational Security featuring a discussion of the administration’s bungled response to coronavirus:

Elliot Setzer shared a livestream of a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the response to coronavirus. Setzer also shared a livestream of a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing featuring testimony from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. While the hearing was meant to address the Trump administration’s policies on Iran, Pompeo repeatedly refused to say that coronavirus was not a hoax in response to questions from Rep. Ted Lieu.

With key provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act set to expire on March 15 unless Congress acts, Jeremy Gordon summarized the House Judiciary Committee’s proposed changes. Setzer shared the House Judiciary Committee’s draft legislation which would reauthorize FISA, but a vote on the bill was canceled Wednesday as both parties pushed for more reforms. Elizabeth McElvein analyzed the political landscape backgrounding this year’s FISA reauthorization. And Setzer shared a new study produced by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board on the NSA call detail records program, which the reauthorization bill would terminate.

Robert Chesney and Steve Vladeck shared an episode of the National Security Law Podcast in which the hosts discuss FISA reform:

Scott Anderson and Erica Newland noted that Congress has told the Trump administration that it has to produce a public war powers report by March 1—and if that doesn’t happen, private citizens could sue over it. Anderson also discussed a valuable new database of war powers reports. Absent congressional action, he argued, the type of document it is collecting may not be long for the world. Anderson also shared a statement by Sen. Bob Menendez related to the joint resolution on the use of military force against Iran and war powers reform.

Jen Patja Howell shared a bonus edition of the Lawfare Podcast featuring an interview with Ben Buchanan on offensive cyber operations:

Buchanan argued that his new book on government hacking shows the value of digging deep into individual case studies. And Stewart Baker shared an episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast also featuring an interview with Buchanan about his new book “The Hacker and the State: Cyber Attacks and the New Normal of Geopolitics”:

Wyatt Hoffman, Ducan Hollis and Christian Ruhl discussed the state of fragmented cyber norms processes and the prospects for their consolidation. And Susan Landau discussed the relevance of an instructive historical example for conversations about law enforcement access to encrypted communications, arguing that when companies build a backdoor, hackers and nation-states will take advantage.

Dan Lips argued that states and cities could use billions of unspent DHS grants to fund cybersecurity ahead of the 2020 elections.

Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast with Jim Clapper, the former director of national intelligence; Michael Hayden, the former director of the CIA and the NSA; and Andrew McCabe, the former Acting Director of the FBI. The group discussed the annual worldwide threats briefing, which Congress canceled this year:

Jacques Singer-Emery and Rex Bray III analyzed what a data dump from the neo-Nazi website can tell us about how white supremacists communicate and recruit. And Jacob Schulz shared a criminal complaint in which federal prosecutors charged five individuals with links to Atomwaffen, a violent white supremacist group, for a pattern of harassment and intimidation.

Mikhaila Fogel shared the House of Representatives’ Supreme Court brief in the Mazars and Deutsche Bank cases.

Setzer shared the New York District Attorney’s brief in a Supreme Court case seeking access to Trump’s financial records.

Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast on the chaos of social media advertising:

Setzer shared a livestream of a House Armed Services Committee hearing on strategic forces posture. Setzer also shared the livestream of House Armed Services Committee hearings on the FY2021 national defense budget and on European and Transportation Commands.

Samuel Rebo discussed the prospects for extending the New START arms control treaty with Russia.

Bob Bauer and Jack Goldsmith discussed how to reform the pardon power.

Vishnu Kannan compiled the national security highlights from the tenth Democratic debate.

Alicia Wanless analyzed Elizabeth Warren’s plan for tackling disinformation.

Charlotte Butash discussed the new Huawei indictment.

Lester Munson shared an episode of Fault Lines on policy dilemmas in the Arctic.

Nathaniel Sobel analyzed a fourth amendment challenge to geofence warrants.

Galip Dalay discussed Turkey’s unpalatable choices in Syria.

Joshua Rovner criticized President Trump’s choice of acting director of national intelligence and argued that it would further weaken coordination of the intelligence community.

Chesney and Vladeck shared an episode of the National Security Law Podcast, discussing the legal rationale for the Soleimani strike, the pardon power and judicial clerkships:

Baker shared an episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast discussing an encryption story from 1995, the indictments in the Equifax breach and Section 230:

And Benjamin Wittes and Jacob Schulz posted an analysis of the strange pattern of responses to the @benjaminwittes Twitter feed.

And that was the week that was.