The Lawfare Podcast

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

This week, Robert S. Litt, General Counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence gave a keynote speech at the Brookigns Institution on US Intelligence Community Surveillance One Year after President Obama’s Address. In his address, Litt discusses the progress the Administration and the IC has made in carrying out Obama’s Presidential Policy Directive, or PPD-28. He outlines the legal authority for certain surveillance programs, particularly those set to expire in 2015, and addresses their implications on privacy, civil liberties, competitiveness, and security. In the end, the conversation addressed many of the questions raised by the implementation of these reforms, and laid out an explanation of where we go from here.  

Direct download: Episode_109--Bob_Litt.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:26pm EDT

General Michael Hayden, former Director of both the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, gave the keynote address ast weekend at Washington and Lee School of Law's symposium on Cyber-surveillance in the Post-Snowden Age. During his address, General Hayden outlined an unapologetic defense of the NSA’s recently revealed activities, yet remained candid about where the agency has made mistakes and where it can improve. In particular, the speech raises a profound question: can intelligence activities succeed in a society that demands greater and greater transparency about those activities?

Direct download: Episode_108--Michael_Hayden.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30pm EDT

With President Barack Obama on his way to India early next week, we asked Tanvi Madan, Fellow and Director of the India Project here at Brookings, onto the show to preview Obama’s trip and discuss what we can expect from the President’s second India summit in less than four months. It’s a trip that comes with much fanfare: it's the first time that an American president has been invited as chief guest to Republic Day, and it's also the first time a sitting American president has visited India twice. But, can we expect the results to match the hype? What can be done to advance the bilateral relationship on trade, defense cooperation, and regional integration? And, what role does India play in the broader US strategy in the Asia-Pacific region?

Direct download: Episode_107--Tanvi_Madan_on_India.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:21pm EDT

This week, Ben and Matt Waxman sat down with Daniel Reisner, former head of the International Law Branch of the Israeli Defense Forces and current partner with Herzog, Fox and Neeman. Reisner also served as a senior member of Israel’s peace delegations, participating in all negotiation sessions and summits including those at Camp David. He continues to advise senior members of the Israeli government on a variety of issues relating to Middle East peace process and security issues. Colonel Reisner was in New York on a visit sponsored by Academic Exchange for a series of events and discussions on contemporary national security challenges. His experiences set up a wide-ranging conversation touching on everything from Middle East peace to the ethics of targeted killing.

Direct download: Episode_106--Daniel_Reisner.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:58pm EDT

This week, Ben and Jack sat down in sunny Palo Alto to discuss what we know about the Sony Pictures cyber-attack, the FBI’s response, and the lingering questions about the credibility of the US government’s claim that North Korea was behind the attack. They explore the tradeoffs inherent in explaining or proving the governments attribution claims, and whether or not the FBI should do so if it will “tip their hand” to the hackers planning future attacks. If technical capabilities cannot solve the public element of the attribution problem, how far should the government go in producing evidence regarding its claims? 

Direct download: Episode_105--Jack_and_Ben_on_Sony.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:49pm EDT