The Lawfare Podcast

Last week, General Michael Hayden—the only person to be both the director of the CIA and the NSA—joined Lawfare’s Benjamin Wittes at the Hoover Book Soiree for a discussion of his new book, Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror.

Over the course of an hour, Hayden provides an inside look at some of the most critical intelligence decisions since 9/11, including the CIA’s controversial rendition, detention, and interrogation program, the NSA's Stellarwind program, and the U.S.’s interactions with the intelligence agencies of its allies in the following years. In addition to weighing in on the ongoing FBI vs. Apple battle in the CDCA, Hayden also offers his perspective on the successes of the intelligence community, and outlines the challenges it will face in the coming years. 

Direct download: Episode_162--Michael_Hayden.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm EDT

This week, the president’s Homeland Security Advisor, Lisa Monaco, made news by announcing that the White House will release long sought data on the U.S. drone program. Delivering the Kenneth A. Moskow Lecture at the Council on Foreign Relations, Monaco outlined the evolving nature of the terrorist threat to U.S. national security. In her address, she notes that we no longer think of sleeper cells, but of lone wolves, and that instead of fighting a top down war, the U.S. finds itself engaging networks where information and inspiration flow both up and down. Monaco outlines how the administration is responding to this new, disparate nature of the terrorist threat.

After her remarks, Monaco was joined by former Assistant Attorney General for National Security Kenneth Wainstein for a Q&A on homeland security.

Direct download: Episode_161--Lisa_Monaco_at_CFR.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:07pm EDT

The Wilson Center takes on the Apple v. FBI controversy in a panel entitled “Will They or Won’t They? Understanding the Encryption Debate.” Wilson Center President Jane Harman hosts the event, which features Congressman Ted Lieu of California discussing the encryption challenge with Lawfare’s Susan Hennessey and Kate Martin of the Center for American Progress. Politico’s David Perera moderates the discussion.

Direct download: Episode_160.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:20am EDT

This week as the battle between the FBI and Apple raged in a California court, the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington hosted Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) at an event unveiling new legislation that would create a commission tasked with developing viable recommendations on how to balance competing digital security priorities. Under their formulation, the commission would bring together experts who understand the complexity of both the security and technological aspects of the challenge. Following the conversation with Congressman McCaul and Senator Warner, Chris Inglis, Jim Lewis, Susan Hennessey, and Michael German discussed the merits of the proposal, and what the likely outcome would be. David Perera moderated the event. 

Direct download: Episode_159--BPC_Commission.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:47pm EDT

This week we have Leon Wieseltier on the show, who among many other things, is the Isaiah Berlin Senior Fellow in Culture and Policy at the Brookings Institution. Wieseltier is currently completing an essay on the moral, historical and philosophical dimensions of the refugee crisis. During his conversation with Lawfare editor-in-chief Ben Wittes, Wieseltier expresses his frustrations with the United States’ policy in Syria, arguing that the United States has a moral obligation to do more to alleviate the plight of Syrian refugees and that the U.S.’s refusal to act is the great foreign policy failing of our time. According to him, the United States has a responsibility to be more than the “world’s most powerful bystander.”

It’s the Lawfare Podcast Episode #158: Leon Wieseltier on the Moral Dimensions of the Syrian Refugee Crisis. 

Direct download: Episode_158--Leon_on_Syria.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:50pm EDT

Last week as part of the University of Texas at Austin Strauss Center's conference on "The Frontiers of Cybersecurity Policy and Law," Daniel Placek, formerly one of the key figures behind the underground hacker website Darkode, offered an inside look into what led him to start the website, which Europol once called “the most prolific English-speaking cybercriminal forum to date.” In an interview with NPR News Correspondent Dina Temple-Raston, Placek describes the types of hacker tools once available for hire on the site, and describes what the future of the dark web looks like. He also discusses his cooperation with federal law enforcement officials in their efforts to take down the site. All in all, it’s an interview that shines a light into some of the darkest corners of the web and raises fundamental questions about how such places are policed.

It’s the Lawfare Podcast, Episode #157: Daniel Placek on Darkode.

Direct download: Episode_157--Darkode.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:01pm EDT

This week as Iowa voters took to the caucuses, Brookings hosted a panel discussion on defense strategy for the next president. The panel, moderated by Brookings Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon, included Robert Kagan of the Brookings Institution, Mackenzie Eaglen of the American Enterprise Institute, and former Department of Defense Undersecretary for Policy James Miller, all making the case for U.S. leadership in world affairs. During their conversation, they explored the security challenges facing the next president, including two wars, a rising China, a resurgent Russia, and a metastasizing ISIS, all topped off by a contracting defense budget, and examined whether and in what ways those challenges will cause the next president to alter U.S. strategy overseas.

It’s the Lawfare Podcast Episode #156: Defense Strategies for the Next President. 

Direct download: Episode_156--Defense_Policy_for_Pres.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:47pm EDT

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