The Lawfare Podcast

Last week at The Brookings Institution, United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer participated in a discussion with Lawfare’s Benjamin Wittes and Newsweek’s Dahlia Lithwick about his new book, The Court and the World: American Law and the New Global Realities. During their conversation, Justice Breyer provides an overview of how in a globalizing world, the steady operation of American laws depends more on the cooperation of other jurisdictions than at any other time. He also examines how the Court's decisions regarding presidential power in national security have evolved throughout American history, and weighs how the Court can balance national security objectives in an increasingly connected world.

Strobe Talbott, President of the Brookings Institution, introduced Justice Breyer and the panel.  

It’s the Lawfare Podcast Episode #155: Justice Stephen Breyer on The Court and the World.

Direct download: Episode_155--Breyer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:21pm EDT

The fourth Hoover Book Soiree held this week in Hoover's beautiful Washington, D.C. offices featured Gayle Tzemach Lemmon on her newest book, Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield. At the event, Lemmon, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Lawfare’s editor-in-chief Ben Wittes discussed the growing role of women soldiers in special operations and beyond, examining the story of CST-2, a cultural support team of women hand-picked from the Army in 2011 to serve in Afghanistan alongside Army Rangers and Navy SEALs. Their conversation dives into how the program developed, the lessons learned in the process, and why its success may provide critical insights for future force integration. Former Marine and current Lawfare contributor Zoe Bedell, who served in a similar capacity in Afghanistan as the women in CST-2, joined them on the panel.  

It’s the Lawfare Podcast Episode #154: Ashley’s War and the Role of Women on the Special Ops Battlefield. 

 

Direct download: Episode_154--Ashleys_War.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30pm EDT

This week, Brookings hosted a discussion on Bitcoin and the technology that undergirds the currency, specifically focusing on the promise of the distributed-ledger. The panel featured David Wessel, Michael Barr, Brad Peterson, Barry Silbert, and Margaret Liu, on how the blockchain could revolutionize payment flows and reduce the cost of financial transactions, all while securing information and enhancing privacy. They also tackle some of the most pressing policy questions facing the technology---from consumer protection to terrorists' finances---and how those tensions can be addressed. 

It's a relatively positive take on Bitcoin and its future potential and an argument for why you should buy back your Bitcoin if you sold it after last week's show featuring Lawfare's Bitcoin skeptic, Nick Weaver. 

Direct download: Episode_153--Buy_Your_Bitcoin_Back.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:26pm EDT

This week we have on Nick Weaver the show. Nick's a regular Lawfare contributor, senior staff researcher at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley, California, and as you’ll see, quite the Bitcoin skeptic. Nick walks Ben through what exactly Bitcoin is, answering whether the platform is a financial opportunity of historical proportions, the massive criminal problem law enforcement officials have suggested, or something else entirely—a waste of your money. Nick also outlines some of the design flaws he sees in Bitcoin and why those flaws, which many in the Bitcoin community view as important features, will actually lead to the platform’s downfall. It’s a discussion of Ponzi schemes, the benefits of the blockchain, and the future of international currency transactions.  

It’s the Lawfare Podcast Episode #152: Nick Weaver on Why You Should Sell Your Bitcoin. 

Direct download: Episode_152--Bitcoin_Nick_Weaver.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:33pm EDT

This week, we asked Lorenzo Vidino and his co-author, Seamus Hughes, both from the George Washington University Program on Extremism, into the studio to discuss their new report, “ISIS in America: From Retweets to Raqqa.” Their study looked at the 71 Americans charged with ISIS-related activities. So what commons denominators did they find within the group? How much of a role does social media play in radicalization and recruitment? And what should law enforcement do to counter violent extremism? We discuss all that and more. 

It’s the Lawfare Podcast Episode #151: ISIS in America: Disrupting Retweets from Raqqa.

Direct download: Episode_151--ISIS_in_America.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:48pm EDT

We welcome Edward Lucas, a senior editor at the Economist and author of the new book, Cyberphobia: Identity, Trust, Security and the Internetto the show this week. At the third Hoover Book Soiree a few weeks ago, Lucas shared a drink with Lawfare’s Ben Wittes and discussed the rapid increase in cybercrime, the difficulties of identity verification on the web, and why, even today, we still do not take cybersecurity seriously enough. Lucas paints a bleak picture of our cybersecurity landscape, but closes with a few recommendations for how we can fix it.

It’s a conversation that prompted Ben to digitally betray his country, and the rest of us to grab our dongles and strengthen our passwords.  

And it’s the Lawfare Podcast, Episode #150: Edward Lucas on the Sum of All Cyberphobias. 

Direct download: Episode_150--Cyberphobia.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:27pm EDT

The show this week features Natan Sachs, a Fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution, who recently published an article in Foreign Affairs on anti-solutionism as strategy in the Israel-Palestine conflict.

During his conversation with Lawfare Editor-in-Chief Ben Wittes, Sachs argues that what resembles the absence of a constructive national security agenda is actually better described as a belief on the part of the Israeli right that there are currently no solutions to the challenges Israel faces. Sachs call this policy “strategic conservatism” and explains that it is a philosophy U.S. policymakers need to better understand in order to make smart decisions about the problems in the Middle East.

Direct download: Episode_149--Natan_Sachs_on_Anti-solutionism.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:56pm EDT

At the last Hoover Book Soiree—which if you haven’t attended one yet, you really should—Charlie Savage, New York Times national security reporter and author of the newly released book Power Wars: Inside Obama’s Post-9/11 Presidencysat down with Lawfare’s Jack Goldsmith for a detailed discussion of the Obama administration’s national security legacy. The conversation, and so too the book, is chocked full of insider accounts of just about all of the most important Obama administration legal and policy decisions. We won't spoil the fun here, but Charlie walks Jack through how Abdulmutallab’s failed underwear bombing affected President Obama, and the two discuss exactly why a president who came into office critiquing Bush's national security policies ended up keeping so many of them. They even touch on whether he will actually shutter Guantanamo Bay.

It’s the Lawfare Podcast Episode #148: Charlie Savage on the Power Wars of the Obama Administration. 

You can read Jack's review of Power Wars, mentioned in the podcast, here

The third Hoover Book Soiree will be held on December 2nd, from 5:00-7:00 pm in Washington D.C. Ben Wittes will interview Edward Lucas of the Economist on his new book, Cyberphobia: Identity, Trust, Security, and the Internet. RSVP.

Direct download: Episode_148--Charlie_Savage_Power_Wars.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:07pm EDT

Earlier this week, Lawfare’s Benjamin Wittes interviewed John Carlin at the Atlantic Council on National Security and the Cyber Threat Landscape. Carlin, the Assistant Attorney General for National Security, walks Ben through recent changes in his division of the Justice Department, the U.S. government’s ongoing efforts to deter and disrupt cyber threats, and how the shorter flash-to-bang timeline of modern day inspired terrorist attacks is affecting investigations and prosecutorial decisions. They even dive into the U.S.-China Cyber Deal. 

Direct download: Episode_147--John_Carlin_Ben_Wittes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:48pm EDT

Last week, George Washington University and the CIA co-hosted an event entitled Ethos and Profession of Intelligence. As part of the conference, Kenneth Wainstein moderated a conversation between CIA General Counsel Caroline Krass, Orin Kerr, and Benjamin Wittes on Bridging 20th Century Law and 21st Century Intelligence. What new legal questions are raised by rapidly evolving technologies and how do those questions interact with existing national security law? Can the United States strike a balance between privacy, security and the economic imperatives driving innovation?

The panel addresses these critical issues and more. 

Direct download: Episode_146--CIA_Event_at_GW.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:08pm EDT