The Week That Was

The Week that Was: All of Lawfare in One Post

By Sebastian Brady
Saturday, January 31, 2015, 10:00 AM

Last week, Ben wrote a piece critiquing both sides of the debate over Guantanamo. This week, Raha Wala responded, arguing that what the detention policy debate is really about, or at least should be about, is what legal authorities should be exercised in the detention and prosecution of suspected terrorists. It is clear, Wala argued, that traditional law-enforcement tools bring many of the same benefits as using military commissions does, while having a far smaller downside. Over at Just Security, Steve Vladeck also responded, arguing that Ben had too crudely caricatured the sides of Guantanamo debate. Ben addressed both posts in one of his own. Steve, Ben noted, built a straw man out of Ben’s piece and, effectively enough, took that straw man down. Regarding Raha’s piece, Ben admitted a good-natured difference of opinion, namely over if the United States can release all of those dangerous individuals we cannot try. Wala believes we must; Ben asserted that we cannot.

Wells showed us video from an event at Harvard that featured a discussion between Edward Snowden and Bruce Schneier on (you guessed it) surveillance and privacy.

Clara Spera shared that the New York Times has obtained two previously classified Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court rulings through a FOIA lawsuit, and told us what these documents show not only about the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program, but also the court that approved of it. Cody posted a press release from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board that accompanied the release of its assessment of the Board’s own 22 recommendations for the Section 215 and Section 702 programs.

Cody argued that, even in a world of lone wolf terrorists, terrorist safe havens continue to pose grave threats to our security.

Ben shared some video coverage of last weekend’s event on cyber security at Washington & Lee School of Law. The footage included the two-day event’s two keynote addresses: the first, a speech by former NSA Director General Michael Hayden, the second, a point/counterpoint stand-up comedy act from Ben and Shane Harris.

Cody and I wrote this week’s Throwback Thursday article, which explored the ins and outs of the US bounty program.

In light of the recent violence on the Israeli-Lebanese border, Yishai Schwartz discussed the odd limbo of Israel’s northern border, where Israel and Hezbollah are not quite at war, yet by no means at peace.

Mira Rapp-Hopper summarized the latest installation of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative for us.

Michael Eppel walked us through the history of the Kurdish people and their unsuccessful attempts to carve out an independent state, and posited that the current upheaval in the Middle East presents the Kurds with their best chance yet at independence.

Cody linked to a new draft AUMF for the conflict in Iraq and Syria released by Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA).

Ingrid Wuerth broke the news that the Supreme Court has granted certiorari in another case involving the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and briefly summarized what issues will be presented to the Court and what the significance of the case will be.

Wells tipped us off to this week’s al-Hadi hearings in Guantanamo, and later brought us Chief Prosecutor Brigadier General Mark Martin’s opening statement. On Tuesday, Matt Danzer gave us a rundown of the court’s first and second days of proceedings.

Ben commented on The Intercept's nifty tool that helps would-be leakers leak documents to The Intercept without getting caught. Ben mused that the system is begging to be used by foreign intelligence services to spy on the The Intercept.

Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch appeared at confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. Alexander Ely recapped her remarks regarding topics of interest to Lawfare readers.

Yishai looked into a proposal by Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) that would force the administration to bring any nuclear deal with Iran before Congress for a vote.

In response to the news that a drone crashed on the White House lawn, news organizations speculated that the crash was the result of some drone-killing technology (which appears not to be the case); Ben wondered if the Secret Service had gotten that idea from watching the “Lawfare Drone Smackdown” of 2012.

Wells shared Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) response to the CIA Accountability Review Board’s report clearing the CIA of any wrongdoing in snooping on some Senate computers last year. Spoiler alert: Senator Feinstein disagrees.

Yishai informed us of two bits of spy news: a Russian spy ring has been busted in New York City, and the former CIA officer who leaked information on covert operations against Iran to a New York Times reporter has been convicted.

Ali Wyne penned a review of Henry Kissinger's newest book, World Order, tracing the thread of Kissinger's thought all the way from his undergraduate thesis to his newest work, in which he finds the world order in grave danger of unraveling.

In the 107th episode of the Lawfare Podcast, Ben brought in Brookings scholar Tanvi Madan to discuss the future of the US-Indian relationship and preview President Barack Obama’s trip to India.

The Rational Security podcast’s 4th episode featured Ben, Shane, and Tamara Cofman Wittes discussing the recently outed Russian spy ring and the drone that dropped in on the White House this week.

Rounding out our week’s podcast news, the Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast showcased a debate between Thomas Rid and Jeffrey Carr on the attribution of cyber attacks.

Paul Rosenzweig updated us on new developments in the cyber world.

Ben announced that Herb Lin is joining Lawfare’s staff as a contributing editor.

And that was the week that was.