The Lawfare Podcast (general)

A few weeks ago, Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Brookings for a public address on the current priorities and future prospects for U.S. engagement in Central Asia. With the draw-down in Afghanistan on the horizon, Mr. Blinken makes clear that the United States is not relinquishing its interests in the region. Blinken stresses that the security of the United States is enhanced by a more secure Central Asia, and a stable Central Asia is most likely if the nations there are sovereign and independent countries, connected with one another, and fully capable of defending their own borders. He concludes that investing in connectivity can spur commerce from Istanbul to Shanghai while serving as a stabilizing force for Afghanistan's transition. 

Senior Fellow Fiona Hill introduced Mr. Blinken, and Brookings President Strobe Talbot moderated the conversation. 

Direct download: Episode_119--Tony_Blinken_on_Central_Asia.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:43pm EDT

When Oula Abdulhamid Alrifai was nearly 19, her family fled Damascus for Washington under death threats from the Bashar Assad regime. Since she left, she has watched as her country has fallen apart. 

Direct download: Episode_118--Complete_Oula_Interview.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:56pm EDT

With a tenuous ceasefire holding in Ukraine, we asked Fiona Hill onto the show to discuss the man behind the unrest: Vladimir Putin. Fiona is the co-author of Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin, and a Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings. On the Lawfare Podcast, Fiona tackles the hard questions about Putin. Who exactly is he? What does he want? Is Putin an unhinged madman obsessed with personal appearances or a shewed realist with a nuanced understanding of the geopolitical challenges his country faces? And, how should the West respond to Russian aggression based on what we know about its leader?

It's an important look at an often caricatured but rarely understood man--The Lawfare Podcast: Who is Vladimir Putin? 

Direct download: Episode_117--Fiona_Hill_on_Putin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:18pm EDT

This week, Brookings hosted a book launch with Jessica Stern and co-author Brookings Fellow J.M. Berger for their new book, ISIS: The State of Terror. The panel, which also featured Brookings Fellow William McCants, details ISIS’s strategies and techniques--its unprecedented mix of brutality, media savvy, territorial gain, and recruitment. The authors also outline their recommendations for how the United States and its allies should respond to the ISIS threat.

Direct download: Episode_116--ISIS_State_of_Terror.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:28pm EDT

This week, we invited Major General Michael Lehnert (Ret.), the first commander of the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, onto the show. In January 2002, General Lehnert deployed to Guantanamo Bay as Commander of Joint Task Force 160 with the mission to construct and operate the detention facilities for Taliban and Al Qaeda Detainees. He is now one of the most prominent voices calling for the closure of the prison facility. In the interview, Gen. Lehnert describes those early days before GITMO became GITMO, how he managed the facility, and what he thinks should be done with the remaining detainees. In the end, he offers advice for avoiding mistakes when conducting critical missions and making hard national security choices. 

Direct download: Episode_115--Gen._Michael_Lehnert.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:43pm EDT

This week, Brookings hosted a book launch with Harvard Law Professor Gabriella Blum and co-author Benjamin Wittes for their new book, The Future of Violence: Robots and Germs, Hackers and Drones—Confronting a New Age of Threat. The panel, which also featured Senior Fellow William Galston and the ACLU’s Ben Wizner, explored the book’s themes surrounding the potential dangers of modern technology in a world of many to many threats and defenses. What does technological proliferation mean for the framework of state and global security? How should we think about the interaction of liberty, security, and privacy? And, does this world of empowered individuals challenge the foundations of the liberal state?

Direct download: Episode_114--The_Future_of_Violence.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:45pm EDT

This week, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a controversial address to a joint session of Congress over US President Barack Obama's objections. The speech, repeatedly interrupted by thunderous applause focused heavily on the nature of the developing nuclear accord between the P5+1 and Iran, and insisted a better deal was possible. The speech was also heavily colored by its proximity to the upcoming Israeli elections, with many Israel watchers wondering whether it was meant to play more to Israel voters than to Congress.

Just after Netanyahu's address, we invited Brookings Fellow Natan Sachs into the Lawfare studios to unpack the speech, including what it means for the US-Israeli relationship, the ongoing nuclear talks with Iran, and Bibi's chances in the upcoming election.

Direct download: Episode_113--Natan_Sachs_on_Bibis_Big_Day.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:23pm EDT

On Thursday of this week, Lawfare’s Benjamin Wittes and Bobby Chesney, along with General Jack Keane, appeared before the House Armed Services Committee to provide “Outside Perspectives on the President’s Proposed Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).” It’s an in-depth hearing that delves extensively into the President’s proposed AUMF, its merits and its flaws, and how those failings can be addressed. For today’s podcast, we’ve removed any non-AUMF discussion so that only the most relevant parts are included.


Direct download: Episode_112--HASC_AUMF_Hearing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:08pm EDT

In mid-September, Benjamin Wittes, Editor-in-Chief of Lawfare and a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, delivered a keynote address on Constitution Day at the National Security Agency. We are pleased to now be able to provide that speech in full. That’s right - it took this long for an unclassified speech, from someone without a security clearance, to pass through the declassification process. To that point, Ben’s address touches on the difficulties of transparency in intelligence operations, outlines just why so many people now struggle to trust the intelligence community, and concludes with three challenges the community must address in order to maintain public confidence in the future. 

Direct download: Episode_111--Ben_Wittes_Constitution_Day_NSA.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:19pm EDT

A few weeks ago, Shane Harris and Benjamin Wittes spoke at Washington and Lee School of Law’s symposium on Cyber-surveillance in the Post-Snowden Age. Shane and Ben are familiar names to frequent Lawfare readers, no doubt. Ben is the editor-in-chief of Lawfare and a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution; Shane is senior correspondent at the Daily Beast and author of @War: The Rise of the Military-Internet ComplexTheir speech, under the title "Point/Counter-point," is a lighthearted, but thorough, overview of the prevailing debates around NSA surveillance including the role of congressional oversight, our evolving perception of privacy, and how the law can respond to rapid technological change.

Direct download: Episode_110--Shane_and_Ben_Show.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:31pm EDT