The Lawfare Podcast

Perhaps you’ve heard, but tensions between the United States and Russia are heating up. With Putin upping the ante in Syria, Marvin Kalb, journalist, scholar, and a nonresident senior fellow in Foreign Policy at Brookings, came to Brookings to launch his new book that looks at the Russian leader’s last foray titled, Imperial Gamble: Putin, Ukraine, and the New Cold War. Putin’s recent actions in Crimea, eastern Ukraine and, more recently, in Syria have provoked a sharp deterioration in East-West relations. But is this the beginning of a new Cold War, or is Putin just wearing the costume of a prizefighter?

Joining the discussion were Thomas Friedman of the New York Times and Nina Khrushcheva, a professor at The New School. Brookings President Strobe Talbott provided introductory remarks while Martin Indyk, Executive Vice President of Brookings moderated the conversation.

It’s the Lawfare Podcast Episode #145: Putin’s Imperial Gamble

Direct download: Episode_145--Kalb_on_Ukraine.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:55pm EDT

Joby Warrick, author of Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS, and William McCants, author of The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy, and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State, join Benjamin Wittes in the first Hoover Book Soiree. 

Direct download: Episode_144.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:18am EDT

Last week, the Center for Strategic and International Studies hosted Ben, along with Laura Donohue of Georgetown Law, former NSA Director General Michael Hayden, and Robin Simcox of the Henry Jackson Society, to discuss the future of surveillance reform in a post-Snowden world. What have we learned about NSA surveillance activities and its oversight mechanisms since June 2013? In what way should U.S. intelligence operations be informed by their potential impact on U.S. on economic interests? What privacy interests do non-Americans have in U.S. surveillance? And domestically, has the third-party doctrine outlived its applicability?

Tom Karako of CSIS moderated the panel. 

Direct download: Episode_143--Surveillance_Reform_After_Snowden.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:48pm EDT

As listeners may know, while we often talk about cybersecurity on the show, Brookings itself has been subject to a number of cyber-attacks in recent years. Those attacks have ranged  from infiltrations led by Chinese government-affiliated units to the more run-of-the-mill hacker intrusions targeting credit and financial information.

This week on the Lawfare Podcast, Helen Mohrmann, the Chief Information Officer at the Brookings Institution, discusses the difficulties of securing a large, public facing organization from a vast array of cyber-attacks. Helen walks Ben through the threat environment that an organization like Brookings faces (and how that is continuously changing) and she outlines some of the steps organizations and individuals can take to shore up their own security.

Direct download: Episode_142--Helen_on_Cybersecurity.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:44pm EDT

This week, New York Times national security reporter Scott Shane came on the Lawfare Podcast to provide an overview of his new book on the life and death of radical Islamic cleric Anwar al Awlaki, Objective Troy: A Terrorist, A President, and the Rise of the Drone. Shane provides an overview of the book, examining the role played by al Awlaki in al Qaeda plots against the United States, his continued influence on the jihadi movement, and how his life and death was intimately tied to the rise of the drone in U.S. counterterrorism efforts. Why and how did al Awlaki transform from a leader in American Islamic thought into a recruiter for al Qaeda? And what lessons can the trajectory of his life teach us about countering violent extremism and the methods the United States uses to achieve its counterterrorism goals?

Direct download: Episode_141--Scott_Shane_on_Anwar_al_Awlaki.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:56pm EDT