The Lawfare Podcast (general)

On Monday, Acting Attorney General Sally Yates ordered the Justice Department not to defend President Trump's executive order banning refugees and immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries, only to be quickly fired by Trump. Jack Goldsmith and Marty Lederman, who have both served in senior positions in the Office of Legal Counsel, penned responses—Jack criticizing Yates's actions and Marty defending them. We got them on the line for a special edition of the Lawfare Podcast. 

Direct download: Episode_207.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:53pm EDT

President Trump kicked off the first foreign policy crisis of his new administration by signing an executive order mandating the construction of the much-promised border wall with Mexico, resulting in as-yet-unresolved confusion as to how the wall will be paid for and an ongoing diplomatic scuffle with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. Benjamin Wittes spoke with Stephanie Leutert, the Mexico Security Initiative Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin and writer of Lawfare's "Beyond the Border" series, to chat about what the wall might look like, how effective it will or won't be, and what this means for U.S.-Mexico relations. 

Direct download: Episode_206.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:54pm EDT

On January 13th, Benjamin Wittes and Emma Kohse released a new paper challenging the assumption that "privacy is an eroding value," worn away by the incessant collection of online data about consumer habits. Their paper, "The Privacy Paradox II: Measuring the Privacy Benefits of Privacy Threats," uses empirical data from Google consumer surveys to study how many people actually experience the technologies often accused of eroding privacy as increasing their privacy instead. 

In an event at the Brookings Institution, Ben sat down with Stewart Baker of Steptoe & Johnson and Amie Stepanovich of Access now to discuss the paper. This week, we're bringing you that conversation on the podcast. 

One note: Ben's opening remarks reference Powerpoint slides containing the survey results, which you can view in the paper itself—available here.

Direct download: Episode_205.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:04pm EDT

Jameel Jaffer, author of The Drone Memos: Targeted Killing, Secrecy, and the Law, joins Jack Goldsmith at the Hoover Book Soiree. 

Direct download: Episode_204.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:35am EDT

In an interview with The New York Times before his intelligence briefing on Russian efforts to interfere in the U.S. election on Friday, President-elect Donald Trump called the intelligence community's assessment of Russian interference a "political witch hunt." In that spirit, we brought Lawfare managing editor Susan Hennessey and former GCHQ information security specialist Matt Tait on the podcast to discuss evidence of Russian attempts to influence the presidential election and Trump's baffling response. 

Direct download: Episode_203.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:08pm EDT

Whatever the President-elect might say on the matter, the question of Russian interference in the presidential election is not going away: calls continue in the Senate for an investigation into the Kremlin's meddling, and the security firm CrowdStrike recently released new information linking one of the two entities responsible for the DNC hack with Russia's military intelligence agency. So how should the United States respond?

In War on the Rocks, Evan Perkoski and Michael Poznansky recently reviewed the possibilities in their piece "An Eye for an Eye: Deterring Russian Cyber Intrusions." They've also written on this issue before in a previous piece titled "Attribution and Secrecy in Cyber Intrusions." We brought them on the podcast to talk about what deterrence of Russian interference would look like and why it's necessary. 

Direct download: Episode_202.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:27pm EDT

The annual Cato Surveillance Conference kicked off this week with a panel on "Intelligence Under a Trump Administration," featuring former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Matthew Olsen and Lawfare's own Susan Hennessey, Timothy Edgar, and Carrie Cordero. In a discussion moderated by Shane Harris of The Wall Street Journal (and Rational Security), the group discussed how Trump's antagonistic approach to the intelligence community and his dismissive attitude toward intelligence briefings will shape the coming administration. 

 

Direct download: Episode_201.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:18pm EDT

The Lawfare Podcast has made it to our 200th episode! Thank you to all our listeners, old and new.

This week at the Hoover Book Soiree, Jack Goldsmith interviewed Christopher Moran, a professor at the University of Warwick, on his book Company Confessions: Secrets, Memoirs, and the CIA. Moran's work is a history of CIA memoirs, but it's also a history of the Agency itself and its efforts to shape its image in the public eye. How does an organization whose work depends on keeping secrets justify its efforts within a democratic society?

Direct download: Episode_200.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:04pm EDT

Earlier this week, the New York Times published a story by Charlie Savage, Eric Schmitt, and Mark Mazzetti informing us that the Obama administration had changed its interpretation of the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force to more broadly cover the use of force against al-Shabaab, expanding its previous reading of the AUMF as only authorizing force against members of al-Shabaab individually linked to al-Qaeda. Bobby noted the story on Lawfare and provided a few comments. While the news has been somewhat drowned out amidst the hubbub of the presidential transition, the significance of this change in legal interpretation shouldn't be lost—so we brought Bobby and Charlie Savage on the podcast to talk with Benjamin Wittes about where this change came from and what it might mean.

Direct download: Episode_199.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:31pm EDT

This week on the podcast, we’re bringing you some post-Thanksgiving food for thought on the uncertain state of the Arab world. On November 21, Madeleine Albright, Tamara Cofman Wittes, Stephen Hadley, and Amr Hamzawy sat down at the Brookings Institution to discuss a new report on “Real Security: Governance and Stability in the Arab World." What lead to the breakdown of governance across Arab countries? What can be done to establish more stable governance and increase security? And what role does the United States have in all of this?

Direct download: Episode_198.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:08pm EDT