The Lawfare Podcast

On October 19th, Samuel Moyn, Professor of Law and History at Harvard University, closed out a one-day conference on “The Next President's Fight Against Terror” at New America with a talk on “How Warfare Became Both More Humane and Harder to End.” He argues that we’ve moved toward a focus on ending war crimes and similar abuses rather than a focus on preventing war’s outbreak in the first place. And in his view, the human rights community shares culpability for this problem. It’s an issue that will be of great consequence as the next president takes office amidst U.S. involvement in numerous ongoing military interventions across the globe.

Direct download: Episode_193.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:47am EDT

When audio dropped last Friday of Donald Trump boasting of attacks on women, the news quickly eclipsed another, just-as-important election story released right alongside it: reports that the United States government had decided to formally lay the blame for the recent hacking of Democratic Party information at the Kremlin's feet. In any other year, Russia's apparent attempts to interfere with the U.S. presidential election would be the biggest story of the moment. Thankfully, we at Lawfare were able to bring in our own Jack Goldsmith and Susan Hennessey to talk about Russia's hacking and leaking, its apparent probing and scanning of state-level electoral systems, and the U.S. government's confusion regarding what on earth to do about it.

Direct download: Episode_192.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:35pm EDT

Stephanie Leutert, the Mexico Security Initiative Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of Lawfare's Beyond the Border series, joined Benjamin Wittes on this week's podcast to talk about the epidemic of violence plaguing Mexico and Central America. Despite the crisis going on immediately to our south, those of us in the United States who work and think on national security issues rarely consider this violence as relevant to national security. But Stephanie argues that we should.

Direct download: Episode_191.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:22pm EDT

At this week's Hoover Book Soiree, Rosa Brooks joined Benjamin Wittes to talk about her new book, How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales from the Pentagon. The book covers an extraordinary range of territory, from Brooks' personal experiences working as a civilian advisor at the Pentagon, to the history of the laws of war, to an analysis of the U.S. military's expanded role in a world in which the lines between war and peace are increasingly uncertain. 

How should we think about the military’s responsibilities outside the realm of traditional warfare? And is it desirable, or even possible, to rethink the way we approach the distinctions between wartime and peacetime?


Direct download: Episode_190.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:31pm EDT

Last week, the National Security Division of the Justice Department celebrated its 10th anniversary by holding a major conference at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Judge Laurence Silberman, the intellectual and policy force behind the division's creation, spoke about the birth of NSD with Lawfare’s Benjamin Wittes. As co-chair of the so-called Robb-Silberman commission that examined the intelligence failures leading up to the Iraq War, Judge Silberman recommended the creation of the new division. And as a judge on the FISA Court of Review, he also wrote a key opinion breaking down the “wall” between intelligence and law enforcement functions at the Justice Department.

Direct download: Episode_189.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:35pm EDT

It's been an unusual election season so far—to put it mildly. Among the many other unexpected or unprecedented occurrences that have taken place over the course of the 2016 campaign season, we've seen many people working in the usually quiet and apolitical national security space take a step into the political limelight. 

This is especially true of Evan McMullin, a former CIA officer and former Chief Policy Director for the House Republican Conference who is now running for president as an independent. Lawfare's Carrie Cordero came on the podcast to interview McMullin on how his experience in national security operations and policy influenced his decision to make a late independent bid for the presidency, and how his career would shape his approach to the important national security issues facing the country.


Direct download: Episode_188.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:39pm EDT

On September 7, the Brookings Institution convened a discussion on a pilot program to disrupt online ISIS recruitment spearheaded by Jigsaw, a technology think tank run by Alphabet. Yasmin Green, Jigsaw's Head of Research and Development, presented the organization's new "Redirect Method," which uses online advertisements to reach out to those who might be susceptible to ISIS propaganda. Will McCants of Brookings spoke about the initiative with Green, Ross Frenett of Moonshot CVE, and Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel. 

Direct download: Episode_187.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:49pm EDT

Michel Paradis, a senior attorney in the Department of Defense’s Office of the Chief Defense Counsel and counsel for Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, came on the podcast with Bob Loeb, a partner at Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe and the former Acting Deputy Director of the Civil Division Appellate Staff at the Department of Justice. Along with Benjamin Wittes, Michel and Bob discussed the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent ruling in the Al-Nashiri case. The court denied Al-Nashiri's petition for a writ of mandamus to dissolve the military commission convened to try him and affirmed the ruling of the district court, which denied Al-Nashiri's motion for a preliminary injunction of his trial. In doing so, the D.C. Circuit abstained from ruling on Al-Nashiri’s claim that the military commission lacks jurisdiction to try him, because his alleged war crimes were committed prior to 9/11 and thus took place before the beginning of active hostilities.

Direct download: Episode_186.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:40pm EDT

Dave Aitel and Matt Tait come on the podcast to discuss their recent Lawfare essay critiquing the current status of the Vulnerability Equities Process. They argue that the process by which the US government decides whether or not to disclose software vulnerabilities is fundamentally broken, and that now is the time to discuss how to fix it.

Direct download: Episode_185.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:40pm EDT

It's the dog days of summer, and Lawfare is bringing you the special August AMA edition. All week, we've been taking your questions on Twitter under the hashtag #LawfareAMA, on topics ranging from Trump to the War Powers Resolution. Now, Lawfare Editor in Chief Benjamin Wittes and Managing Editor Susan Hennessey are weighing in with the answers. 

Direct download: Episode_184.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:10pm EDT