The Lawfare Podcast

ACLU technologies Chris Soghoian takes on James Comey's proposal for preserving law enforcement access to smartphones.

Direct download: Episode_98--Chris_Soghoian_Responds_to_Comey.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:27am EDT

On Wednesday, a panel of the D.C. Circuit heard oral argument in Al Bahlul v. United States, a long running---and potentially quite consequential---appeal concerning Congress's power to subject domestic law crimes to trial before Guantanamo military commissions. Shortly after argument, Lawfare's Wells Bennett and Steve Vladeck joined Kevin Jon Heller for some post-argument analysis.  

Direct download: Episode_97--Bahlul_Bahlul_Bahlul_Part_Deux_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:34am EDT

Issues of privacy and security are at the forefront of public debate, particularly in light of recent national security disclosures and increasingly pernicious cyber attacks that target our personal information, our ideas, our money, and our secrets. But are privacy rights trumping public safety interests?  And if so, at what cost?  Has the post-Snowden pendulum swung too far in one direction? 

On October 16, Governance Studies at Brookings hosted FBI Director James Comey for a discussion of the impact of technology on the work of law enforcement. Law enforcement officials worry that the explosion in the volume and the means by which we all communicate threatens its access to the evidence it needs to investigate and prosecute crime and to prevent acts of terrorism.

In particular, officials worry that the emergence of default encryption settings and encrypted devices and networks – designed to increase security and privacy – may leave law enforcement in the dark. Director Comey spoke about the need for better cooperation between the private sector and law enforcement agencies. He also discussed potential solutions to the challenge of “going dark,” as well as the FBI’s dedication to protecting public safety while safeguarding privacy and promoting network security and innovation.   

Following these remarks, Brookings Senior Fellow and Lawfare co-founder Benjamin Wittes moderated a discussion with Director Comey and took audience questions.

It's the Lawfare Podcast, episode #96, FBI Director James Comey on "Going Dark."

Direct download: Episode_96--Jim_Comey_on_Going_Dark.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:10pm EDT

This week, Ambassador Shivshankar Menon, India's former national security advisor and former Foreign Secretary, gave a keynote address this week at Brookings entitled, “India’s Role in the World.” In his address, Ambassador Menon discusses the new optimism in U.S.-India bi-lateral relations on the heels of newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit. Ambassador Menon also delves into India’s relations with Pakistan and other countries in the region, its evolving outlook on China, and how India and the United States can forge new ties on counterterrorism and defense cooperation.

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

Direct download: Episode_95--Shivshankar_Menon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:25pm EDT

With the recent decision by the Obama administration to begin launching airstrikes against Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria, questions have arisen about the nature of the terrorist threat groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Al Qaeda pose to the United States and whether our current strategies to eradicate terrorism are actually working. Many are concerned that just as we thought we were finally coming to the end of over a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are being sucked into yet another long, bloody conflict in a region where our success rate has been anything but stellar, and all to address what amounts to a fairly minor threat. Others have argued that the threat of ISIS is an existential one for the United States and its allies and interests in the region and therefore believe that nothing short of a full military intervention coupled with long-term state-building projects in Iraq and Syria will suffice to eliminate the threat of ISIS once and for all.

Recent reports about the so-called Khorasan Group, a mysterious faction of Al Qaeda operatives with links to the core organization in Pakistan and its affiliate in Yemen that is supposedly recruiting Westerners in Syria to carry out attacks against the United States and other Western countries have sharpened the debate—is Al Qaeda really “on the run,” as we’ve so often been told? Do they still pose a threat to the U.S. homeland? And if so, what exactly have we been doing the past 13 years? Where did all that money and manpower we threw at counterterrorism after 9/11 go? Will the war on terrorism ever really be won?

For this week’s Lawfare Podcast, I sat down with preeminent terrorism scholar Audrey Kurth Cronin to dig into these issues a little more deeply. Audrey recently wrote a fantastic piece titled “Is this How to Win the War on Terrorism?” for the Foreign Policy Essay here at Lawfare, in which she discussed the Obama administration’s use of drones as its primary counterterrorism tactic, the bloated counterterrorism bureaucracy that has emerged since 9/11, and how best to combat terrorist threats from groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Direct download: Episode_94--Audrey_Kurth_Cronon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:41am EDT