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The Lawfare Podcast

The Lawfare Podcast

The Lawfare Podcast features discussions with experts, policymakers, and opinion leaders at the nexus of national security, law, and policy. On issues from foreign policy, homeland security, intelligence, and cybersecurity to governance and law, we have doubled down on seriousness at a time when others are running away from it. Visit us at www.lawfareblog.com.

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Lawfare Archive: Deterring Russian Cyber Intrusions

From December 24, 2016: Whatever the President-elect might say on the matter, the question of Russian interference in the presidential election is not going away: calls continue in the Senate for an investigation into the Kremlin's meddling, and the security firm Crowdstrike recently released new information linking one of the two entities responsible for the DNC hack with Russia's military intelligence agency. So how should the United States respond?

In War on the Rocks, Evan Perkoski and Michael Poznansky recently reviewed the possibilities in their piece, "An Eye for an Eye: Deterring Russian Cyber Intrusions." They've also written on this issue before in a previous piece titled "Attribution and Secrecy in Cyber Intrusions." We brought them on the podcast to talk about what deterrence of Russian interference would look like and why it's necessary.

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2021-10-16
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What's Up With the January 6 Investigation?

The January 6 investigating committee in the House is busily issuing subpoenas, collecting documents and negotiating with witnesses for depositions. It is also being defied by certain witnesses, and the former president is threatening to try to stop the National Archives from turning over material related to his activities and communications during and leading up to the January 6 insurrection.

To chew over the entire spectrum of issues the committee is facing, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Brookings congressional guru and Lawfare senior editor Molly Reynolds, and Quinta Jurecic, also a senior editor at Lawfare and a Brookings fellow focusing on post-Trump accountability issues. They are the authors together of a recent piece on Lawfare on the hurdles the January 6 investigation may face. They talked about executive privilege claims involving witnesses; about executive privilege claims involving documents; about who controls the privilege, the current president or the past president; and about whether this is all just a complex scheme to run out the clock. 

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2021-10-15
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Finstas, Falsehoods and the First Amendment

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen?s recent testimony before Congress has set in motion a renewed cycle of outrage over the company?s practices?and a renewed round of discussion around what, if anything, Congress should do to rein Facebook in. But how workable are these proposals, really?

This week on Arbiters of Truth, our series on the online information ecosystem, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Jeff Kosseff, an associate professor of cybersecurity law at the United States Naval Academy, and the guy that has literally written not just the book on this, but two of them. He is the author of ?The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet,? a book about Section 230, and he has another book coming out next year about First Amendment protections for anonymous speech, titled ?The United States of Anonymous.? So Jeff is very well positioned to evaluate recent suggestions that Facebook should, for example, limit the ability of young people to create what users call Finstas, a second, secret Instagram account for a close circle of friends?or Haugen?s suggestion that the government should regulate how Facebook amplifies certain content through its algorithms. Jeff discussed the importance of online anonymity, the danger of skipping past the First Amendment when proposing tech reforms, and why he thinks that Section 230 reform has become unavoidable ? even if that reform might not make any legal or policy sense.

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2021-10-14
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What's Going on in Afghanistan?

Bryce Klehm sat down with Vanda Felbab-Brown, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Lawfare senior editor Scott R. Anderson, to discuss the current situation in Afghanistan. They covered a range of issues, including the Taliban government's formation since the U.S. withdrawal, the current humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and the international community's response.

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2021-10-13
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Martijn Rasser on CIA and Emerging Technology

Last week, CIA director William Burns issued a statement with a number of organizational changes and other initiatives regarding the CIA. Most media attention was drawn to the creation of a new China Mission Center, but there were several new initiatives on the technology front that also warrant attention. He talked about a new Technology Fellows program, a new Transnational and Technology Mission Center, a new chief technology officer, and a corporate board devoted to technology issues. 

To talk through these initiatives, David Priess sat down with Martijn Rasser, who used to serve as a senior intelligence officer and analyst at CIA on emerging technology and tech innovation issues. He also served as a senior advisor in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, as a director at a venture-backed A.I. startup in Silicon Valley, and he is now at the Center for a New American Security as a senior fellow and director of the Technology and National Security Program. 

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2021-10-12
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Adam Klein and Benjamin Wittes on FISA

Two weeks ago, the Department of Justice's Office of Inspector General released a report on the FBI's mishandling of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act applications. It's the latest in a string of Inspector General reports and other documents to talk about the process. To go through the latest report, why the process is so important and what it all means, Jacob Schulz sat down on Lawfare Live with Lawfare editor-in-chief Benjamin Wittes, and Adam Klein, the former chairman of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, who is now at the University of Texas at Austin?s Strauss Center as director of the program on Technology, Security, and Global Affairs. They discussed what's in the latest report, what to make of it and how to think about reforms to the process in general.

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2021-10-11
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Lawfare Archive: Maria Ressa on the Weaponization of Social Media

From October 15, 2020: On this episode of Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek spoke with Maria Ressa, a Filipino-American journalist and co-founder of Rappler, an online news site based in Manila. Maria was included in Time's Person of the Year in 2018 for her work combating fake news, and is currently fighting a conviction for ?cyberlibel? in the Philippines for her role at Rappler. Maria and her fight are the subject of the film, ?A Thousand Cuts,? released in virtual cinemas this summer and to be broadcast on PBS Frontline in early next year.

As a country where Facebook is the internet, the Philippines was in a lot of ways ground zero for many of the same dynamics and exploitations of social media that are currently playing out around the world. What is the warning we need to take from Maria?s experience and the experience of Philippine democracy? Why is the global south both the beta test and an afterthought for companies like Facebook? And how is it possible that Maria is still, somehow, optimistic?

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2021-10-10
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White House Pressure, the Justice Department and the Election

The majority staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee has issued an interim report, entitled ?Subverting Justice: How the Former President and His Allies Pressured DOJ to Overturn the 2020 Election.? A lot of it covers ground we knew about previously, but it contains a raft of new details about the president's pressure on the Justice Department to support his election fraud claims, the resignation of a U.S. attorney in Georgia, and the bizarre attempt to install as acting attorney general a Justice Department official who might actually support the president's ambitions. 

To go over it all, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Lawfare senior editors Alan Rozenshtein and Quinta Jurecic, and Lawfare associate editor Bryce Klehm, who has been reading all of the depositions in the matter. They talked about what the committee found, what aspects of it are new and what we might do about this dramatic turn of events.

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2021-10-09
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Bob Bauer and Jack Goldsmith on Reforming the Presidency

It's been almost a year since Trump lost the presidency and over nine months since a new administration and a new congressional majority took power. We?re moving further and further away from Trump's controversial use of presidential authorities, and it seems like we've lost momentum in the push for systemic changes to prevent future abuses. Fortunately, some people are still pushing. Natalie Orpett sat down with Bob Bauer, former White House counsel to President Obama, and Jack Goldsmith, former assistant attorney general in President Bush?s Office of Legal Counsel. Together, they are the authors of the book, ?After Trump: Reconstructing the Presidency,? which was published in fall 2020. They've now joined together again to start a new organization, the Presidential Reform Project, which proposes a bipartisan blueprint for reconstructing the presidency. They talked about their recommendations for reform, including a few that they've added to their list since writing their book; about what's going on in Congress and the executive branch right now; and they explained why they believe that it really is still possible to implement some of their reforms.

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2021-10-08
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Russia Cracks Down on Social Media

In the last few weeks, the Russian government has been turning up the heat on tech platforms in an escalation of its long-standing efforts to bring the internet under its control. First, Russia forced Apple and Google to remove an app from their app stores that would have helped voters select non-Kremlin-backed candidates in the country?s recent parliamentary elections. Then, the government threatened to block YouTube within Russia if the platform refused to reinstate two German-language channels run by the state-backed outlet RT. And after we recorded this podcast, the Russian government announced that it would fine Facebook for not being quick enough in removing content that Russia identified as illegal.

What?s driving this latest offensive, and what does it mean for the future of the Russian internet? This week on Arbiters of Truth, our series on the online information ecosystem, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Alina Polyakova, the president and CEO of the Center for European Policy Analysis, and Anastasiia Zlobina, the coordinator for Europe and Central Asia at Human Rights Watch. They explained what this crackdown means for social media platforms whose Russian employees might soon be at risk, the legal structures behind the Russian government?s actions and what?s motivating the Kremlin to extend its control over the internet.

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2021-10-07
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Jessica Davis on Terrorism Financing

Jessica Davis is the author of a new book on terrorism financing called, ?Illicit Money: Financing Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century.? She's also the president and principal consultant at Insight Threat Intelligence, the president of the Canadian Association for Security and Intelligence Studies, and associate fellow at the Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies. She sat down with Jacob Schulz to talk about her new book and about terrorism financing more broadly. They discussed the value of focusing on the financial side of things as opposed to the motivations that drive people to terrorism, the parts of the terrorism financing ecosystem that often get overlooked and much more. 

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2021-10-06
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U.S. Prosecutors Indict a Canadian ISIS Propagandist

Over the weekend, news broke about U.S. prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia indicting Mohammed Khalifa, a Canadian who traveled to Syria in 2013 and later joined the Islamic state where he became the English language voice for a series of Islamic State propaganda videos. The indictment is a big deal, both because of the person it implicates and because it's a U.S. court trying a Canadian man for crimes committed in Iraq and Syria. 

To break it all down, Jacob Schulz spoke with Leah West of Carleton University in Canada, and with Amarnath Amarasingam of Queen?s University in Canada. The two are experts on Canadian foreign fighters leaving Canada to go join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and they're also in the unique position of having interviewed Khalifa at a Syrian Democratic Forces prison. 

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2021-10-05
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The Saga of Eddie Gallagher and the Navy SEALs

Bryce Klehm sat down with David Philipps, a New York Times correspondent and the author of ?Alpha: Eddie Gallagher and the War for the Soul of the Navy SEALs.? They talked about the saga of Eddie Gallagher, the Navy SEAL acquitted of stabbing an ISIS prisoner.

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2021-10-04
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Lawfare Archive: Mira Rapp-Hooper and Stephan Haggard on North Korea

From August 5, 2017: The growing threat from North Korea has intensified during the past few weeks after a series of missile tests demonstrated that the Kim regime may soon be able to strike the continental United States. This week, Benjamin Wittes spoke with Mira Rapp-Hooper, an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, and Stephan Haggard, a distinguished professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego, to discuss recent events and the path forward for the United States and the international community. They addressed the diplomatic and military options for addressing the North Korean threat, the likelihood that the Kim regime will respond to traditional deterrence strategies, and how a new administration in the U.S. changes the dynamics in the region.

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2021-10-03
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Lawfare Archive: Ambassador David O'Sullivan on the US-EU Relationship

From October 9, 2018: It's easy to spend all our time focusing on American domestic politics these days, but the rest of the world is not going away. Take the European Union, for example?our neighbors from across the pond, and one of the US's most valuable economic and security relationships. There's a lot going on over there, and some of it even involves us. How is that relationship faring in the age of tariffs, presidential blusters, Brexit, and tensions over Iran sanctions?

To figure that out, Shannon Togawa Mercer and Benjamin Wittes spoke to David O'Sullivan, the EU Ambassador to the United States. They talked about the US-EU trade relationship, Iran and Russia sanctions, Privacy Shield, the rule of law in deconsolidating democracies in the EU, and more.

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2021-10-02
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Hostage Diplomacy Between China, Canada and the United States

Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei, is free, having been put on a flight from Canada back to her native China. Moments later, two Canadians held in China were also freed and put on flights back to Canada in what many are describing as hostage diplomacy by the People's Republic of China. The United States had indicted Wanzhou and Huawei for bank fraud but dropped the indictment against her at least, having reached a deferred prosecution agreement with her in which she gave statements that may be used against Huawei. To go over all of the angles, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Pete Strzok, former deputy head of counterintelligence at the FBI; Julian Ku, a professor of law at Hofstra University School of Law; and Leah West of Carleton University in Canada.

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2021-10-01
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Defamation Down Under

Just two days ago, on September 28, CNN announced that it was turning off access to its Facebook pages in Australia. Why would the network cut off Facebook users Down Under?

It?s not a protest of Facebook or? Australians. CNN?s move was prompted by a recent ruling by the High Court of Australia in Fairfax Media and Voller, which held that media companies can be held liable for defamatory statements made by third parties in the comments on their public pages, even if they didn?t know about them. This is a pretty extraordinary expansion of potential liability for organizations that run public pages with a lot of engagement. 

On this week?s episode of Arbiters of Truth, our series on the online information ecosystem, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with David Rolph, a professor at the University of Sydney Law School and an expert on media law, to understand the ruling and its potential impact. What exactly does Voller mean for media companies with some kind of connection to Australia? What does it mean for you, if someone writes a nasty comment under your Facebook post or your tweet? Why did the court rule the way it did? And why is Australia known as the defamation capital of the world? 

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2021-09-30
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Ronen Bergman on the A.I.-Assisted, Remote-Control Killing Machine

Ronan Bergman is a reporter for the New York Times and the author of the book, ?Rise and Kill First,? a history of Israeli targeted killings. Most recently with Farnaz Fassihi, he is the author of a lengthy New York Times investigative report entitled, ?The Scientist and the A.I.-Assisted, Remote-Control Killing Machine,? which is the story of the use of a ground-based robotic machine gun to kill an Iranian nuclear scientist. He joined Benjamin Wittes from Tel-Aviv to talk about the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the operation and the machine through which it was conducted, the larger policy of Israeli assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists, and the legal bases on which these are done. 

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2021-09-29
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An Election in Germany

Over the weekend, Germany held elections to see who will succeed Angela Merkel as Germany's chancellor. The results are in, but there's still a lot of coalition building to go. To break it all down, Jacob Schulz sat down with Constanze Stelzenmüller, the Fritz Stern Chair on Germany and trans-Atlantic Relations and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Yascha Mounk, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced and International Studies, both of whom are experts in German politics. They talked about the election, how to make sense of the results, and what everything means for the bigger picture of European politics, Germany's role in the world and more.

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2021-09-28
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Benjamin Haddad on Submarine Contracts and French Anger

France is mad. More specifically, France is mad about Australia reneging on a deal for French submarines and opting to go instead with an American contract. It's all part of AUKUS, a new trilateral security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States that was announced two weeks ago. France recalled its ambassador to the U.S. and otherwise expressed dismay at the development.

Jacob Schulz sat down with Benjamin Haddad, the senior director of the Europe Center at the Atlantic Council, who is an expert in European politics and transatlantic relations. They talked through the French reaction, what might have caused it, and what it all means for the future of transatlantic relations and U.S. strategy.

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2021-09-27
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Lawfare Archive: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon on ?Ashley's War? and the Role of Women on the Special Ops Battlefield

From January 23, 2016: The fourth Hoover Book Soiree, held this week in Hoover's beautiful Washington, D.C. offices, featured Gayle Tzemach Lemmon on her newest book, Ashley?s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield. At the event, Lemmon, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Lawfare?s editor-in-chief Benjamin Wittes discussed the growing role of women soldiers in special operations and beyond, examining the story of a cultural support team of women hand-picked from the Army in 2011 to serve in Afghanistan alongside Army Rangers and Navy SEALs. Their conversation dives into how the program developed, the lessons learned in the process, and why its success may provide critical insights for future force integration. Former Marine and current Lawfare contributor Zoe Bedell, who served in a similar capacity in Afghanistan, joined them on the panel to discuss her own experiences.

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2021-09-26
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Lawfare Archive: Shivshankar Menon on India's Role in the World

From October 11, 2014: On his recent trip to the United States, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasized India's desire to take up a greater role on the world stage. With India's renewed ambition, it is increasingly important for policymakers to understand what that role may look like, how it is envisioned from the Indian perspective, and how the country views international developments. Great opportunity exists for improved bilateral relations that bring stability, increased trade, and future defense, intelligence, and counterterrorism cooperation in the region.

This week, Ambassador Shivshankar Menon, former national security adviser and former foreign secretary to the government of India, gave a speech at Brookings entitled, ?India?s Role in the World.? In his address, Ambassador Menon discusses the new optimism in U.S.-India bilateral relations on the heels of newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi?s recent visit and how leaders can capitalize on this new momentum. Ambassador Menon also delves into India?s relations with Pakistan, Bangladesh, and other countries in the region, its evolving outlook on China, and what role, if any, India can play in countering violent extremism found in groups like transnational terrorist organizations like ISIS and al Qaeda.

Strobe Talbott, president of The Brookings Institution, introduced Ambassador Menon and moderated the discussion.

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2021-09-25
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The Quad Summit with Lavina Lee, Tanvi Madan and Sheila Smith

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, more commonly known as the Quad, brings together the United States, Australia, Japan and India in strategic dialogue on everything from disaster relief, to military readiness, to technology and supply chains. Today, the leaders of those four countries will meet for the first-ever summit, a gathering which would have been difficult to imagine just a few years ago. 

To understand what led up to this point and what could develop from it, David Priess sat down with three experts who look at the Quad from different perspectives. Lavina Lee is a senior lecturer at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. Last year, she was appointed by the Australian minister of defense as director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute Council. Tanvi Madan is a senior fellow at and director of The India Project at the Brookings Institution, and she focuses in particular on India's foreign and security policies. And Sheila Smith is a senior fellow for Asia Pacific studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a renowned expert on Japanese politics and foreign policy. 

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2021-09-24
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Inside the Facebook Files

Today, we?re bringing you another episode of Arbiters of Truth, our series on the online information ecosystem. We?ll be talking about ?The Facebook Files??a series of stories by the Wall Street Journal about Facebook?s failures to mitigate harms on its platform. There?s a lot of critical reporting about Facebook out there, but what makes the Journal?s series different is that it?s based on documents from within the company itself?memos from Facebook researchers, identifying problems based on hard data, proposing solutions that Facebook leadership then fails or refuses to implement and contradicts in public statements. One memo literally says, ?We are not actually doing what we say we do publicly.?

To discuss the Journal?s reporting, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Jeff Horwitz, a technology reporter at the paper who obtained the leaked documents and led the team reporting the Facebook Files. What was it like working on the series? What's his response to Facebook's pushback? And why is there so much discontent within the company?

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2021-09-23
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What's Up at Congress with Quinta Jurecic and Molly Reynolds

Congress, which has been on recess for the month of August, has a lot on its plate. The January 6 committee is starting to receive information, and it has gone into stealth mode. If Congress doesn't get its act together, the government is going to shut down and we're going to default on the federal debt. And there's actually been some oversight hearings recently. We decided to check in on it all with Molly Reynolds and Quinta Jurecic, both of the Brookings Institution and both senior editors at Lawfare. They joined Benjamin Wittes to talk about what Congress has been doing, what's coming down the pike and if we are headed toward disaster.

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2021-09-22
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Milley, Trump and Civil-Military Relations with Peter Feaver, Kori Schake and Alexander Vindman

A new book by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa contains reporting about several controversial actions by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley in late 2000 and early 2021, regarding conversations with his Chinese counterparts, his discussion with senior military officers about following standard nuclear procedures (if need be), and reaching out to others like the CIA and NSA directors to remind them to watch everything closely. Were each of these reported actions proper for a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and why? And what about all of this coming out in books? 

To talk through it all, David Priess sat down with an A-team on civil-military relations. Peter Feaver is a civil-military relations expert at Duke University and director of the Triangle Institute for Security Studies. He served in National Security Council staff positions in both the Bill Clinton and the George W. Bush administrations. Kori Schake is the director of foreign and defense policy at the American Enterprise Institute who has worked in the Joint Staff J5, in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and in the National Security Council?s staff, as well as the State Department's policy planning staff during Bush 43?s administration. She has also researched and written extensively on civil-military relations. And Alex Vindman is Lawfare?s Pritzker Military Fellow and a visiting fellow at Perry World House. His government experience includes multiple U.S. Army assignments, time inside the office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and in the National Security Council staff.

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2021-09-21
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Seth Stoughton on the Shooting of Ashli Babbitt

On January 6, a mob of pro-Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol during the certification of the Electoral College vote. As lawmakers were being evacuated by Capitol police, Ashli Babbitt, a 35-year-old Air Force veteran, tried to climb through a shattered window in a barricaded door. Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd shot Babbitt as she was climbing through the window and Babbitt died later that day. In the polarized debate over January 6, the death of Ashli Babbitt has become a focal point and one of unusual political valence. Many on the right view her as a martyred hero and the police officer that shot her as an example of excessive force. Those on the left, who have traditionally been outspoken about police killings, have largely stayed quiet. To the extent they've commented, it's been to emphasize the unique circumstances of the Capitol insurrection as justification for the use of lethal force. The Department of Justice, having reviewed the incident, determined that there was insufficient evidence to charge Officer Byrd with violating Babbitt's civil rights, although DOJ did not conclude one way or the other, whether the shooting was justified under the Fourth Amendment.

To work through the legal issues around the shooting of Ashli Babbitt, Alan Rozenshtein spoke with Seth Stoughton, associate professor of law at the University of South Carolina and the coauthor of a recent Lawfare post on the shooting. Stoughton is a nationally recognized expert on police use of force. A former police officer himself, he was a key witness for the murder prosecution of Derek Chauvin, the police officer who killed George Floyd. Alan spoke with Stoughton about the murky factual records surrounding the Babbitt shooting, the complex constitutional and statutory issues that it raises and what its political effects say about the broader prospects for police reform.

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2021-09-20
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Lawfare Archive: Defending an Unowned Internet

A discussion at the Berkman Center: In the wake of the disclosures about government surveillance and the rise of corporate-run applications and protocols, is the idea of an ?unowned? Internet still a credible one? The Berkman Center?s Jonathan Zittrain moderates a panel, incluing Yochai Benkler (Harvard Law School), Ebele Okobi (Yahoo!), Bruce Schneier (CO3 Systames), and Benjamin Wittes (Brookings Institution) to explore surveillance, and the potential for reforms in policy, technology, and corporate and consumer behavior.

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2021-09-19
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Lawfare Archive: Benjamin Wittes Gives a Talk at Parliament on Whether Drones are the New Guantanamo

Lawfare's editor in chief, Benjamin Wittes, gives a talk at the Palace of Westminster--sponsored by the Henry Jackson Society--on whether drones are becoming the new Guantanamo.

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2021-09-18
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A Sneak Peak: Lawfare?s New ?No Bull? Podcast

It?s Lawfare No Bull? with: ?For today?s episode of the Lawfare Podcast, we are bringing you a preview of a new podcast Lawfare is launching: Lawfare ?No Bull,? which brings you a curated feed of the most essential speeches, testimony, and other found audio relating to national security. Subscribe to the separate Lawfare ?No Bull? podcast feed to receive future episodes!

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2021-09-17
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The Broken Rube Goldberg Machine of Online Advertising

Today, we?re bringing you another episode of Arbiters of Truth, our series on the online information ecosystem.


In a 2018 Senate hearing, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded to a question about how his company makes money with a line that quickly became famous: ?Senator, we sell ads.? And indeed, when you open up your Facebook page?or most other pages on the internet?you?ll find advertisements of all sorts following you around. Sometimes they?re things you might really be interested in buying, even if you?ve never heard of them before?tailored to your interests with spooky accuracy. Other times, they?re redundant or just ? weird. Like the aid for a pair of strange plaid pajamas with a onesie-style flap on the bottom that briefly took over the internet in December 2020.


Shoshana Wodinsky, a staff reporter at Gizmodo, wrote a great piece explaining how exactly those onesie pajamas made their way to so many people?s screens. She?s one of very few reporters covering the business of online advertisements outside industry publications?so Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke to her this week about what it?s like reporting on ads. How exactly does ad technology work? Why is it that the ad ecosystem gets so little public attention, even as it undergirds the internet as we know it? And what?s the connection between online ads and content moderation?


It?s the Lawfare Podcast, September 16: The Broken Rube Goldberg Machine of Online Advertising

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2021-09-16
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Bruce Reidel with Breaking 9/11 News

Lawfare Editor-In-Chief Benjamin Wittes sits down with Bruce Reidel of the Brookings Institution to discuss a pair of new articles in Lawfare on his first hand accounts of events in the wake of 9/11.

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2021-09-15
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U.S Security Commitments Post-Afghanistan Withdrawl

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2021-09-14
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Jack Goldsmith and Ben Wittes on Lawfare Origins and 9/11

More than 11 years ago. Bobby Chesney, Jack Goldsmith and Ben started a national security law blog called Lawfare. Focused, almost exclusively on issues related to the US government's reaction to 9/11 and the reactions to those government policies and the legal justifications for them in its early days, Lawfare was largely unknown to the general public outside of national security lawyers inside the U S government Lawfare didn't even have a podcast.


Jack and Ben joined me to talk through these origins of Lawfare, it's intimate connection to 9/11 and its aftermath, and the importance of analyzing these issues at the intersection of national security, law, and policy.

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2021-09-13
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Lawfare Archive: How Osama bin Laden Escaped Afghanistan

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2021-09-12
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Lawfare Archive: Kent Roach on the 9/11 Effect

Lawfare's Alan Rozenshtein interviews University of Toronto Professor Kent Roach about his new book, The 9/11 Effect: Comparative Counter-Terrorism.

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2021-09-11
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Marc Polymeropoulos on the CIA, 9/11 and Havana Syndrome

Marc Polymeropoulos served for 26 years in the CIA. He joined the agency working on Afghanistan in the 1990s and moved on to operational roles across the Middle East, recruiting spies and hunting terrorists. Later, he became a senior officer responsible for operations in Russia, which as you'll hear, led to a fateful trip to Moscow that altered the course of his career and his life. Marc has chronicled all of this and more in a new book, ?Clarity in Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the CIA.? It's part memoir, part management handbook. Shane Harris sat down with Marc to talk about his career and to look back at the past 20 years since the 9/11 attacks. Marc talked about what the CIA got right, what it did wrong and how he has come to peace with an unexpected sense of betrayal after he developed symptoms of Havana Syndrome, a mysterious and debilitating brain injury. 

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2021-09-10
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Content Moderation Comes for Parler and Gettr

Let?s say you?re a freedom-loving American fed up with Big Tech?s effort to censor your posts. Where can you take your business? One option is Parler?the social media platform that became notorious for its use by the Capitol rioters. Another is Gettr?a new site started by former Trump aide Jason Miller.

Unfortunately, both platforms have problems. They don?t work very well. They might leak your personal data. They?re full of spam. And they seem less than concerned about hosting some of the internet?s worst illegal content. Can it be that some content moderation is necessary after all?

Today, we?re bringing you another episode of our Arbiters of Truth series on the online information ecosystem. Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with David Thiel, the big data architect and chief technical officer of the Stanford Internet Observatory. With his colleagues at Stanford, David has put together reports on the inner workings of both Parler and Gettr. They talked about how these websites work (and don?t), the strange contours of what both platforms are and aren?t willing to moderate, and what we should expect from the odd world of ?alt-tech.?

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2021-09-09
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?Humane? with Samuel Moyn

Jack Goldsmith sat down with Samuel Moyn, Henry R. Luce Professor of Jurisprudence at Yale Law School and a professor of history at Yale University. The two discussed Professor Moyn?s latest book, ?Humane: How the United States Abandoned Peace and Reinvented War.? The conversation touched on the changing nature of war, the decoupling of conflict from our national conversations and even Tolstoy. 

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2021-09-08
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Tony Saich on 100 Years of the CCP

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. To get more insight into the workings of the CCP, Bryce Klehm sat down with Tony Saich, the director of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation and Daewoo Professor of International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School. Professor Saich is the author of the new book, ?From Rebel to Ruler: One Hundred Years of the Chinese Communist Party.? They talked about a range of subjects, from tracing the thirteen original leaders of the CCP to President Xi Jinping's current policies.

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2021-09-07
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Lawfare Archive: Danielle Citron on Feminism and National Security

From December 12, 2019: Live from the #NatSecGirlSquad Conference in Washington, DC, on December 12, 2019, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Danielle Citron, professor of law at Boston University, VP of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, and MacArthur Genius Grant Fellow. Ben and Danielle talked about technology, sexual privacy, sextortion, and the previously unexplored intersections of feminism and cybersecurity.

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2021-09-06
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Lawfare Archive: Phil Carter on Civil-Military Relations in the Trump Administration

From February 20, 2018: The military has been not been a refuge from the Trump administration's norm-defying nature. Jack Goldsmith speaks to Phil Carter, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, about the history of civil-military relations, episodes that highlight the Trump administration's departure from that tradition, and what that may mean for the future.

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2021-09-05
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Lawfare Archive: Shane Harris on Drones

From January 29, 2012: Our subject in the podcast's inaugural episode is a remarkable article by journalist Shane Harris entitled "Out of the Loop: The Human-Free Future of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles."

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2021-09-04
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Sue Gordon and John McLaughlin on Intelligence and the Afghanistan Withdrawal

Many questions involving intelligence and Afghanistan have come up in the past few weeks. Did intelligence prepare policymakers for the rapid collapse of the Afghan forces and the Taliban?s taking of the capital? How unusual is it for a CIA director to visit a de facto war zone?in this case, Bill Burns to travel to Kabul to meet with Taliban leaders? What's the context for intelligence sharing with the Taliban? To tackle these issues, David Priess sat down with Sue Gordon, who for two years during the Trump administration was the principal deputy director of national intelligence after decades of service at the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and John McLaughlin, who served as the acting director of central intelligence and the deputy director during the George W. Bush presidency, after a career as an analyst, manager and executive in the CIA. 

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2021-09-03
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The Disinformation Industrial Complex

This week on our Arbiters of Truth series on our online information ecosystem, we?re going to be talking about ? disinformation! What else? It?s everywhere. It?s ruining society. It?s the subject of endless academic articles, news reports, opinion columns, and, well, podcasts. 

Welcome to what BuzzFeed News reporter Joe Bernstein has termed ?Big Disinformation.? In a provocative essay in the September issue of Harper?s Magazine, he argues that anxiety over bad information has become a cultural juggernaut that draws in far more attention and funding than the problem really merits?and that the intellectual foundations of that juggernaut are, to a large extent, built on sand. 

Joe joined Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic to discuss his article and the response to it among researchers and reporters who work in the field. Joe explained his argument and described what it feels like to be unexpectedly cited by Facebook PR. What led him to essentially drop a bomb into an entire discipline? What does his critique mean for how we think about the role of platforms in American society right now? And ? is he right?

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2021-09-02
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Data Brokers and National Security

A privacy and national security threat that goes under-discussed is data brokers, the secretive industry of companies buying, aggregating, selling, licensing and otherwise sharing consumer data. Justin Sherman is a fellow at Duke University's Technology Policy Lab, where he directs the project on data brokers. He also recently wrote a piece for Lawfare about data brokers advertising data on U.S. military personnel. Jacob Schulz sat down with Justin to talk about data brokers and the national security threat that they pose.

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2021-09-01
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?Reign of Terror? with Spencer Ackerman

Jack Goldsmith sat down with national security reporter Spencer Ackerman, the author of the new book, ?Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump.? The two discussed the book and the consequences of twenty years of the War on Terror. With the recent developments in Afghanistan, the conversation touches on the complicated history of the United States and the Middle East, a conflict that has now spanned four presidencies, Ackerman argues that America's response to 9/11 paved the way for the rise of political figures like Donald Trump.

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2021-08-31
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AUMF Reform After Afghanistan

Since January, talk about reforming the nearly 20-year-old 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF, that provides the legal basis for most overseas U.S. counterterrorism activities, has once again been on the rise. While past efforts have generally failed to yield results, the combination of growing bi-partisan disenchantment with the status quo and a seemingly supportive Biden administration had led some to believe that this is the moment in which reform might finally happen. But now, the collapse in Afghanistan has some wondering whether the Biden administration will still have an appetite for the type of risk that AUMF reform is likely to entail, especially given that President Biden appears to have doubled down on global counterterrorism efforts in recent public remarks. 

Scott R. Anderson sat down with two leading experts in war powers: Professor Oona Hathaway of Yale Law School and Professor Matt Waxman of Columbia Law School. They discussed where the impetus for reform comes from, what AUMF reforms may be on the table and what recent events mean for the future of reform efforts.

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2021-08-30
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Lawfare Archive: Bob Bauer and A.B. Culvahouse on Defending the President

From October 7, 2017: Last month, Lawfare and Foreign Policy hosted an event on lawyering for the Trump presidency. Susan Hennessey spoke with former White House Counsels Bob Bauer, who served in the Obama administration from 2010 to 2011, and A.B. Culvahouse, who served in the Reagan administration from 1987 to 1989, in a lively discussion on providing legal support when your client is the president. They talked about the distinction between a president?s personal counsel and White House counsel, the challenges of defending a president during an investigation, and the quotidian aspects of the role of the White House Counsel.

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2021-08-29
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Lawfare Archive: Michelle Melton on Climate Change as a National Security Threat

From April 16, 2019: Since November, Lawfare Contributor Michelle Melton has run a series on our website about Climate Change and National Security, examining the implication of the threat as well as U.S. and international responses to climate change. Melton is a student a Harvard Law school. Prior to that she was an associate fellow in the Energy and National Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where she focused on climate policy.

She and Benjamin Wittes sat down to discuss the series. They talked about why we should think about climate change as a national security threat, the challenges of viewing climate change through this paradigm, the long-standing relationship between climate change and the U.S. national security apparatus, and how climate change may affect global migration.

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2021-08-28
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