The Lawfare Podcast

The Brookings Institution hosted Rached Ghannouchi, co-founder and president of Tunisia's Nahda Party, for an address on the future of Tunisian democracy. His remarks centered around the progress the country has made since the Arab awakening began, and the discussion that followed covered the different Islamist movements in the region, as well as the lessons Tunisia’s revolution can teach us about prospects for successful democratic transitions elsewhere in the Arab world.

Direct download: Episode_33--An_Address_by_Rached_Ghannouchi.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:14pm EDT

This week, Lawfare sat down with CDR Walter Ruiz, a lawyer for accused 9-11 co-conspirator Mustafa al-Hawsawi. Our discussion touched on, among other things: the fairness of military commission rules; Ruiz's contention that those rules allow evidence derived from torture; Ruiz's own background; his experience as capital defense counsel in history's most closely-watched terrorism case; and the burdens on commission defense lawyers.  


Benjamin Wittes and Ritika Singh interview Ben Emmerson about his investigation.

Direct download: Episode_31--Ben_Emmerson_Talks_about_His_Investigation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:23pm EDT

Lawfare's editor in chief, Benjamin Wittes, gives a talk at the Palace of Westminster--sponsored by the Henry Jackson Society--on whether drones are becoming the new Guantanamo.

Direct download: Episode_30--Wittes_at_Parliament_of_Drones_and_Guantanamo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:23pm EDT

Brookings Senior Fellow Bruce Riedel interviews before an audience Philip Mudd, former CIA and FBI counterterrorism official and author of a new book on the the hunt for Al Qaeda.

Direct download: Episode_29--Philip_Mudd_on_the_Past_and_Future_of_Counterterrorism.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:07am EDT

On April 4, the National Security Law Society at Georgetown Law Center held a panel discussion on the “Legal and Ethical Implications of Autonomous Weapons.” It featured Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch, Missy Cummings, Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT, and Benjamin Wittes of the Brookings Institution. The panel was moderated by Shane Harris of Washington magazine. 

Direct download: Episode_27--A_Discussion_of_Autonomous_Weapons.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:22pm EDT

Lawfare's Alan Rozenshtein interviews Afghan Presidential Candidate Fawzia Koofi on the Taliban and Women in Afghanistan


Osama bin Laden may have been the most notorious face of al-Qaeda before his death, but a terrorist by the name of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi arguably had far more blood on his hands—and for years was enemy number one for the United States government. Running the al-Qaeda franchise in Iraq, Zarqawi and his followers usurped the Sunni insurgency and through vicious attacks on Iraqi civilians stoked a civil war pitting Sunnis and Shiites against each other. His damage was so great that even after American special operators, intelligence experts and Air Force pilots successfully tracked down and killed Zarqawi in June 2006, General Stanley McChrystal wrote in his newly published memoir My Share of the Task (Penguin Group USA, 2013) that it was “too late. He bequeathed Iraq a sectarian paranoia and an incipient civil war.” Nevertheless, the special operations machine built to defeat Zarqawi’s network continued to run full tilt, eventually having a strategic impact when married to the full-spectrum counterinsurgency and diplomatic pressures of "the surge."

On January 28, the 21st Century Defense Initiative at Brookings hosted a discussion featuring a keynote address by General Stanley A. McChrystal (ret.) that will, for the first time, focus on this crucial part of his career and the careers of so many who worked with him. The story of how Joint Special Operations Command, working with many other agencies and nations, built itself into a powerful network capable of studying, tracking, hunting, and finally killing Zarqawi is at the heart General Stanley McChrystal’s memoir.

Brookings Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon, director of research for Foreign Policy at Brookings, provided introductory remarks. Brookings Senior Fellow Bruce Riedel, a 30-year veteran of the CIA, interviewed General McChrystal, before moderating a discussion with the audience.


Stanford Polical Scientist Stephen Krasner discusses his current book project--a study of the circumstances in which states can and cannot encourage the democratic development of other states.

Direct download: Episode_25--Stephen_Krasner_on_Externally_Encouraged_Democratization.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:59pm EDT

Federal Public Defender Miriam Conrad talks with Lawfare's Alan Rozenshtein about the case of Rezwan Ferdaus, a 26-year old U.S.-born citizen of Bangladeshi origin who recently pled guilty to terrorism charges arising out of an FBI sting operation.

Direct download: Episode_24--Miriam_Conrad_on_FBI_Sting_Operations.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:21am EDT