The Week That Was
The Week That Was: All of Lawfare In One Post
Benjamin Wittes analyzed the extensive endnotes of the Jan. 6 Committee’s final report. Wittes argued that they provide an unprecedented look into the committee’s work, and that the committee's use of endnotes lays out a new model for future investigative bodies.
Anna Bower presented a narrative of Tuesday’s hearing at the Fulton County courthouse, in which Judge Robert McBurney heard argument on whether the Fulton County Special Purpose Grand Jury’s final report should be made available to the public. Bower highlighted key arguments raised by prosecutors from the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office as well as counselors advocating for the document’s release on behalf of various media outlets.
Wittes sat down with Bower to discuss Tuesday’s hearing concerning the release of the Georgia grand jury’s report on 2020 election interference. Wittes and Bower discussed McBurney’s ruling to keep the report sealed for the time being, the influence of media organizations advocating for its release, and whether the document will eventually become public:
Bower also delved into the significance of presentments under Georgia state law and their relevance to the Fulton County grand jury investigation into alleged criminal interference in the 2020 presidential election. Bower evaluated whether the report produced by the grand jury could constitute a presentment.
Bower live-blogged the hearing in Fulton County at which McBurney heard argument on whether the special purpose grand jury’s final report on their investigation into 2020 election interference in Georgia should be made public. Find Bower’s coverage of the hearing on the Fulton County Hearing Live Blog.
Roger Parloff is live-blogging the seditious conspiracy trial of five top members of the Proud Boys organization in his Proud Boys Trial Diary, available on Lawfare. The live-blog will run each day that the trial is in session.
Avery Schmitz shared a ruling by federal Judge Rudolph Contreras allowing the use of Google Location History data obtained with a “geofence” warrant to prosecute Jan. 6 rioter David Charles Rhine. The warrant has identified just over 5,700 devices within the geofence at some point during a four-and-a-half hour window on Jan. 6 and 1,498 devices whose users are of interest to federal investigators.
Stewart Baker argued that Gen. Mark Milley wrongfully overclassified documents relevant to the Pentagon’s response to the Jan. 6 attack, and submitted questions which might illuminate Milley’s intentions and the impacts of any illegal activity.
John Emmons shared a notice of disciplinary charges filed against John Eastman by the State Bar of California’s Office of Chief Trial Counsel. The notice alleges that Eastman “knew, or was grossly negligent in not knowing, that there was no evidence upon which a reasonable attorney would rely of election fraud or illegality that could have affected the outcome of the election” yet still sought to aid Trump in overturning election results.
In an edition of Arbiters of the Truth, Quinta Jurecic sat down with J. Scott Babwah Brennen and Matt Perault, of the Center on Technology Policy at UNC-Chapel Hill, to discuss prior research into state-level tech policymaking–or a lack thereof–and their two recent reports on the topic. Jurecic, Brennen, and Perault analyzed how tech policy at the state level differs from federal legislative efforts:
David Priess sat down with Yaya J. Fanusie for an episode of Chatter to discuss his path to working at the Central Intelligence Agency and National Counterterrorism Center, what analytic work on international economics and financial intelligence is like, the fundamentals and national security risks of cryptocurrency and bitcoin, and more:
Susan Landau discussed President Biden’s call for greater regulation of big tech and online child sexual abuse and exploitation. Landau suggested that Biden draw on a report by Laura Draper for a new approach to address the issue.
Perault and Samm Sacks detailed TikTok’s new plan—codenamed Project Texas—to implement an agreement with the U.S. government to address national security concerns.
Pablo Chavez weighed the national security risks posed by TikTok as a mechanism of influence for the Chinese Communist Party inside the United States against its value as a mechanism for First Amendment speech. He focused on the role Congress could play in regulating the platform and the proposed ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act.
Eve Gaumond and Catherine Régis evaluated problems created by AI algorithms used in various contexts, forging beyond common concerns of discrimination and infringements on personal privacy. Gaumond and Régis introduced a framework for weighing the negative impacts of AI and avenues to effectively regulate this burgeoning technology, and also acknowledged AI’s positive applications in healthcare, education, and content moderation settings.
Tilman Rodenhäuser and Mauro Vignati discussed the merits of employing “digital emblems” as a form of identification and legal protection for potential targets of cyberattacks in conflict zones. Rodenhäuser and Vignati used the ongoing war in Ukraine to illustrate where digital emblems could be used to prevent indiscriminate attacks and lend clarity to international observers.
Emmons shared a directive from the Defense Department reissuing Directive 3000.09, which revises policy and guidelines on the employment of autonomous and semi-autonomous weapons systems and creates the Autonomous Weapons Systems Working Group.
Paul Stephan considered the value of big data as a target in global conflicts. Stephan discussed definitional questions about how the law of war governs attacks on information targets, clarifying how various international law frameworks protect or leave big data vulnerable, and considered legal and normative avenues to protect big data in future conflicts.
Schmitz also shared the Justice Department’s statement and press conference announcing its successful disruption of the Hive network, which has leveraged ransomware attacks against more than 1,500 victims since June 2021. The release details the FBI’s strategy to counter Hive and protect victims of this ransomware variant.
Stephanie Pell sat down with Gavin Wilde and Justin Sherman to discuss their new paper, “No Water’s Edge: Russia’s Information War and Regime Security,” and the development of Russian information warfare in the contexts of U.S. election interference and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine:
Jaganath Sankaran evaluated the air war waged by Russia and accounted for Ukraine’s resiliency since the invasion in Feb. 2022. Sankaran considered miscalculations and successes by both the Russian and Ukrainian air forces in the latest installment of Lawfare’s foreign policy essay series.
Henri Vanhanen analyzed Finland’s foreign and security policy in the last year, characterized by a shift away from neutrality and toward open opposition of Russia which was catalyzed largely by the Feb. 2022 invasion of Ukraine. Amid a lengthy application process, Vanhanen weighed the value of NATO membership for Finnish security interests and its impacts on future dealings with Putin’s regime.
Priess sat down with Minna Ålander to discuss Turkish opposition to Sweden’s bid for NATO membership after a protest outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, its impact on Finland’s concurrent NATO membership application, how Finnish politicians are responding to the situation, and paths forward for Finland and NATO:
Scott R. Anderson and Jurecic were joined by Michel Paradis for an episode of Rational Security, and discussed a new agreement to send German and American main battle tanks to Ukraine, the Treasury Department’s designation of the Wagner Group as a Transnational Criminal Organization, the New York City District Attorney’s prosecution of a suspect under post-9/11 state criminal terrorist laws despite the suspect never having been present in New York state, and more:
Jonathan Lord discussed the coming of a new Middle Eastern security architecture amid U.S. military withdrawal, improving relations between Israel and the Arabian Peninsula, and the continued threat of conflict with Iran.
And Tyler McBrien sat down with Lynzy Billing to discuss her four-year investigation into Afghanistan’s Zero Units and their relationship with the CIA, why the United States continues to rely on a strategy of night raids, and more:
And that was the week that was.