The Lawfare Podcast

While the world powers and Iran were embroiled in last minute negotiations last week, Brookings hosted a discussion on the meaning of another power’s recent nuclear threats: this time looking at Russia. In recent months, Russia has issued a variety of nuclear threats: Putin's has commented both on his nuclear options during the Crimea crisis and issued a mild threat to nuke the Danish navy. Given that Russia maintains the power to at least theoretically destroy the world, how serviously should we take these provocations? 


The panel was moderated by Brookings Fellow Jeremy Shapiro and  featured Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists and Brookings scholars Pavel Baev and Steven Pifer. Together, they take a deep dive into Russia’s recent nuclear threats during the Crimea crisis, the country’s capabilities---both conventional and nuclear---relative to NATO, and its ongoing modernization program. They conclude with terrifying thought: The folks surrounding Putin just might not fully understand deterrence. 

Direct download: Episode_132---Russian_Nuclear_Forces.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:55pm EDT

This week, we invited the the Virginia Cyber Commission’s Executive Director, Rear Admiral Bob Day (USCG, Ret.) to come tell us more about the Commission’s work and the upcoming release of its report later this month. The Commission’s mandate is expansive and ambitious. It aims to take on: securing Virginia’s government networks, systems and data; incorporating cybersecurity into state government emergency planning; improving citizens' cyber hygiene; developing a cybersecurity workforce; and improving economic development opportunities for cybersecurity business sector, particularly in relation to military facilities and defense industry present in Virginia. 

We also talked about the accountability issue, and how in the world it can still be the case that large organizations – whether in the private sector or government – are still struggling with whose job it is to be responsible for the cybersecurity of an organization. Who or what entity is accountable for proactive cybersecurity as well as for incident response has been the subject of some recent  debate on Lawfare, as it relates to the OPM breach. Finally, we took on the confidence issue. Cybersecurity failures - not only in prevention (which will not be fail-safe), but in detection and handling – are reducing Americans’ confidence in industry, and in government. We'll see what governments and organizations at all levels, are doing to address that.

It's the Lawfare Podcast, Episode #131: Admiral Bob Day on Cybersecurity and Accountability

Direct download: Episode_131---Interview_w_Adm._Day.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:06pm EDT

Last week, Brookings convened three policy experts, Michael Doran of the Hudson Institute, Brookings fellows Michael O’Hanlon and Jeremy Sharpiro, as well as Senator Chris Murphy for the first ever Brookings Debate. The question at hand? Should the United States put boots on the ground to fight ISIS?

As the ground continues to advance against Iraqi security forces, is ISIS a threat to the region, the U.S. and the world? Or is it a distraction from other, much more important strategic interests? How should the U.S. proceed in its effort to degrade and defeat ISIS? And, if there is a Sarah Palin doctrine, is the Obama administration following it?



Bloomberg journalist Indira Lakshmanan moderated the debate, while Brookings Executive Vice President Martin Indyk provided opening remarks. 

Direct download: Episode_130---The_Brookings_Debate_ISIS.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:32pm EDT

Benjamin Wittes gives a lecture at the George Mason Law and Economic Center on his paper with Jodie Liu, "The Privacy Paradox: The Privacy Benefits of Privacy Threats."


Direct download: Episode_129.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:12pm EDT

On this week’s Lawfare Podcast, Lawfare Managing Editor Wells Bennett invited Steve Vladeck of both Lawfare and Just Security, and Adam Thurschwell, an attorney with the Office of the Chief Defense Counsel of the Military Commissions, into the Lawfare studio to discuss the D.C. Circuit’s decision in al Bahlul v. USA, in which the Court vacated Ali Hamza Suliman al Bahlul’s conviction for inchoate conspiracy. The show takes a deep dive into the case and the Court’s opinion, ponders the future of the military commissions, and outlines what we can expect the government to do next in the case. 

Direct download: Episode_128----Al_Bahlul.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:46pm EDT

On this week’s Lawfare Podcast, Lawfare Founding Editor Jack Goldsmith and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Marty Lederman sat down to discuss the Supreme Court’s sweeping ruling in Zivotofsky v. Kerry. In its opinion, the Court ruled that the President has the exclusive power to recognize foreign sovereigns, and he therefore can disregard a Congressional statute requiring him to designate “Israel” on the passports of U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem. What are the consequences of this decision? What does this now mean for the method of determining the President’s exclusive powers? And could the Court have reached a more limited ruling? Goldsmith and Lederman tackle all this and more. 

Direct download: Episode_127---Zivotofsky.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:42pm EDT

The Daily Beast's Shane Harris takes stages a coup, takes over the podcast, and interviews temporarily-deposed host Benjamin Wittes about the new website Lawfare is unveiling next week and the development of Lawfare that took a small blog to this new place.  


Direct download: Episode2023126--Lawfare20is20Dead--Long20Life20Lawfare.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:36pm EDT

Last week, FBI Director James Comey spoke at the 3rd Annual Cybersecurity Law Institute, hosted by Georgetown University Law Center in cooperation with the American Bar Association Cybersecurity Legal Task Force, Bloomberg BNA, and the Center for Internet SecuritBenjamin Powell, a partner at WilmerHale, interviewed Director Comey.


Direct download: Episode_125--Ben_Powell_Interviews_Jim_Comey.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:14pm EDT

Last May, the Bharatiya Janata Party won the first majority government in India in 25 years, giving newly minted Prime Minister Narendra Modi a broad mandate to initiate much needed reforms in the country. The question is, how is Modi delivering on his promises to root out corruption, spur economic growth and job creation, and garner greater respect for India on the world stage? 

This Wednesday, the India Project at Brookings hosted a roundtable of India experts to evaluate Modi's first year in office. They panel considers developments over the last year in India's economic, social, and foreign policy, including its treatment of minorities, its accent to the title of fastest growing economy in the world, and its revived engagement with its neighbors and world powers alike. They also take a turn towards the future. Has Modi set expectations so high he cannot help but disappoint? Or is India on the up-and-up, with what he calles "Acche Din" or "Good Days" on the way? And what does all this mean for the United States and how engages with both India and the rest of the Asia-Pacific?

The panel includes Tanvi Madan, Bruce Jones, Diane Farrell, Vikram Singh Mehta, and Milan Vaishnav. 

It's the Lawfare Podcast, Episode #124: The Modi Government in India Turns One

Direct download: Episode_124--One_year_of_Modi.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:22pm EDT

For months, the world has been transfixed by the apparent brutality of the Islamic State's practices in war. The beheading of journalists, the burning of prisoners and the enslavement of religious minorities all seem like a return to a barbaric past. Certainly, these practices seem far removed from any notion of conduct constrained by law.

Islam, however, has a robust religious legal tradition, including on matters of war. So to better understand that tradition and its connection (or lack thereof) with the warfare of contemporary groups, including the Islamic State, we turned to Andrew March, Associate Professor of Political Science at Yale University. March is the author of Islam and Liberal Citizenship: The Search for an Overlapping Consensus as well as numerous scholarly and popular articles on Islamic political and legal thought. In the last few weeks, he has also published pieces in Foreign Affairs and on Brookings' own Markaz blog taking a closer look at the Islamic State and the ways it interprets, adjusts and applies traditional Islamic jurisprudence.

In this podcast, March discusses the Islamic law of war, both in the classical tradition and in the discourse and practice of contemporary states and non-state actors. In doing so, he walks us through some of this vast, complex tradition, and he warns Western governments that their interests are best served by staying out of the internal interpretive debates of religious communities.

Direct download: Episode_123--Yishai_and_Andrew_March.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:44pm EDT