The Lawfare Podcast (general)

In his recent book Beyond Snowden: Privacy, Mass Surveillance, and the Struggle to Reform the NSA, civil liberties activist and former intelligence official Timothy Edgar calls for a renewed conversation on mass surveillance reform in the global and digital age. This month, Benjamin Wittes interviewed Edgar on his new book at the Hoover Institution’s regular book soiree. They discussed Edgar’s work as both an ACLU lawyer and an intelligence official in the Bush and Obama administrations, the substantive reform agenda Edgar envisions for mass surveillance, the nuances of protecting privacy in a global landscape, and much more.

Direct download: Hoover_Event_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:22pm EST

When an American ISIS fighter turned himself in to Syrian Democratic Forces last month, the subsequent detention of the unnamed enemy combatant by U.S. forces sparked concern. To explore the implications of John Doe’s detention, Steve Vladeck joined Benjamin Wittes for a lively debate on the level of alarm that the American citizen held in military custody should raise. They discussed the facts of the event, the reasons behind the failure to disclose John Doe’s identity or provide him access to counsel, the legitimacy of his detention, and much more. 

Direct download: Steve_Vladeck_EDIT_2_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:43pm EST

Political Islam has been radically shifting in the past four years since the Egyptian coup and the emergence of ISIS, consequently challenging how we understand Islamist movements and their impact. To evaluate the evolution of mainstream Islamist groups and the obstacles they face in governance, Brookings Senior Fellows Shadi Hamid and Will McCants led an initiative to assess these movements across 12 countries, compiling field research from a group of leading specialists in their recently released book Rethinking Political Islam. Benjamin Wittes interviewed Shadi and Will on their book, discussing the scope of the volume, the common themes across the major movements, and the nuances of movements in countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Syria.

Direct download: Rethinking_Political_Islam.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:58pm EST

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. 

Direct download: 10072017_Bar_Review_Live.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:01pm EST

President Trump's conduct in office draws a sharp contrast between laws that formally restrict the presidency and the institutional norms that presidents have historically followed. For the October 2017 issue of The Atlantic, Jack Goldsmith addressed that distinction in his article Will Donald Trump Destroy the Presidency? To help answer that question, Benjamin Wittes interviewed Goldsmith last week on his latest article, discussing President Trump's errant behavior in office and its impact on future presidencies, the difference between violations of norms and violations of law, and the changing landscape of journalism under the Trump presidency. 

Direct download: Draft_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:51pm EST

The Kellogg-Briand Pact is often remembered as a failure; signed in 1928 to outlaw war, it was followed in just over a decade by one of the deadliest conflicts in history. But Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro see the Pact differently. In their new book, "The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World," they argue that though it did not successfully end all war, the Pact changed the way states resolve disputes, reduced the likelihood of conquest, and set of a chain of events that led to the modern world order. On September 11, they sat down with Jack Goldsmith at the Hoover Book Soiree to discuss their book and its implications.

Direct download: oona_and_scott.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:05pm EST

The escalating tension between North Korea and the United States has risen to an unprecedented level. Earlier this month, Stephan Haggard, Lawrence and Sallye Krause Professor of Korea-Pacific Studies at UC San Diego, gave a lecture at a private function on the complicated strategic and political risks that North Korea’s missile and nuclear capabilities present. He talked about the complex relationship among North Korea’s allies and adversaries, the impact of sanctions against Pyongyang, and the past and future role of the United States in addressing North Korean aggression.

Direct download: Steph_Haggard_Edit_Two_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:38pm EST

The evidence of foreign interference in the 2016 U.S. elections emphasizes the significant national security threat to our democracy. Last week, Susan Hennessey joined a panel at the Brookings Institution to address the national strategy for protecting U.S. elections with retired four-star general John Allen, Alex Halderman of the University of Michigan, and Dean Logan, the president for the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials. Michael O’Hanlon, senior fellow in Foreign Policy, moderated the conversation. Panelists explored the nuances of impacted voter confidence in the broader context in which elections occur, as well as addressed the current cybersecurity risks in election infrastructure.

Direct download: 20170908_Saul_Election_Security_Rough_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:04pm EST

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russian government has been a focal point in political discourse since Mueller’s appointment in May. To contribute to that discussion, Barbara Slavin, director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council, interviewed Benjamin Wittes at the International Student House last week. Strategies a special counsel might use when investigating, the different mechanisms for removing a president, and the misconceptions surrounding impeachment were all discussed, followed by audience questions on a range of topics. 

Please note that the audio quality is poor because of feedback in the room's audio system. 

Direct download: IHS_Final_Draft.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:09pm EST

In the past 24 hours, the Financial Times reported that Russian lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin testified before Robert Mueller's grand jury; Politico carried that the Mueller team is cooperating with the New York Attorney General to investigate Paul Manafort; and the Wall Street Journal broke that the President's lawyers have provided memos to the Special Counsel arguing that the president cannot commit obstruction of justice and questioning Jim Comey's credibility. Shane Harris and Paul Rosenzweig joined Susan Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes to discuss the recent developments.

Direct download: Shane_and_Paul_on_WSJ1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30pm EST