The Lawfare Podcast

In the final episode in our series, "Inside NSA: We Brought In a Recording Device So You Don't Have To," Benjamin Wittes interviews the agency's executive director--and now its acting deputy director--Fran Fleisch about openness and transparency in signals intelligence, the NSA's culture, and how the agency would respond to a major policy change from Congress.

Direct download: Inside_NSA_V--Fran_Fleisch.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:30am EDT

The U.S. technology sector is pretty upset with NSA these days. Anne Neuberger, who manages the agency's relations with the private sector, is on the front lines of this tense relationship. Bobby Chesney and Benjamin Wittes sat down with her to discuss encryption, industry calls to rein in spying, and the difficult place the Snowden disclosures have put industry in with respect to their many foreign customers. 

Direct download: Inside_NSA_IV--Anne_Neuberger.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:30am EDT

Bobby Chesney and Benjamin Wittes sit down with the head of IT at NSA and talk about how Edward Snowden did it, and what's being done to make sure the next Edward Snowden can't do it again. We talked about why NSA is different from other government agencies in technology development. And we talked about what would have happened had NSA built the health care web site. 

Direct download: Inside_NSA_III--Lonny_Anderson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:30am EDT

In the second episode of our series, "Inside NSA: We Brought In a Recording Device So You Don't Have To," Robert Chesney and Benjamin Wittes talk to John DeLong, the agency's chief of compliance. They discuss the history and development of NSA's compliance program and whether the agency's problem is compliance with the rules--or whether it's the rules themselves.

Direct download: Inside_NSA_II--John_Delong.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:30am EDT

The first episode in our series, "Inside NSA: We Brought in a Recording Device So You Don't Have To": An interview with NSA General Counsel Rajesh De.

Direct download: Inside_NSA_I--Rajesh_De.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:30am EDT

After more than four decades of conflict, Colombia has made substantial progress under the Uribe and Santos administrations in combating drug trafficking and insurgents and demobilizing paramilitary groups. In recent years, Colombians have seen prosperity increase and reductions in violence in many parts of their county. Today, the Santos administration is engaged in a peace process with the FARC insurgency that has recently shown promise, but now the administration faces the challenge of managing peace talks and an election at the same time. What lessons can Colombia offer for improving security and economic development within a democratic context, and for sharing the lessons it has learned with other states of the region?

On December 2, the Latin America Initiative (LAI) and the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence (21CSI) at Brookings hosted Colombian Minister of National Defense Juan Carlos Pinzón Bueno for a discussion of Colombia’s security accomplishments, current challenges, and future needs at this crucial juncture in the nation’s history. LAI Director and Senior Fellow Harold Trinkunas provided introductory remarks. Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon of 21CSI then interviewed Minister Pinzón.

Direct download: Episode_51--Columbias_Minister_of_Defense_Speaks_at_Brookings.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:34am EDT

The exponential rate of change in the present global environment makes today’s security landscape particularly challenging, and projections promise that the challenges will only increase. In this complex and uncertain future, intelligence, cyber, Special Operations Forces and international partnerships will take on more prominent and critical roles in the nation’s defense and warfare for decades to come.

On November 20, the Intelligence Project at Brookings and the National Intelligence University co-hosted a discussion with Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), to examine this uncertain future, DIA’s role in this complex security environment and a new model for defense intelligence that ensures preparedness to address these challenges and the crises of tomorrow. Flynn has also served as the director of intelligence at the U.S. Central Command, director of intelligence for the Joint Staff and director of intelligence for International Security Assistance Force-Afghanistan and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan.

Brookings Senior Fellow Bruce Riedel, director of the Intelligence Project, and President of the National Intelligence University, David Ellison, provided introductory remarks, and Riedel moderated the discussion.

Direct download: Episode_50--DIA_Chief_General_Michael_Flynn_Speaks_at_Brookings.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:42pm EDT

In an panel discussion at NYU, a former White House Counsel, a former chief of staff to the CIA director and Secretary of Defense, a former FBI general counsel, and a former head of NCTC discuss law and lawyering and national security strategy.

Direct download: Episode_49--A_Panel_at_NYU_on_Law_and_Strategy_in_the_Executive_Branch.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:24am EDT

In the third and final installment of our series of sessions from the October 25 Hoover Media Colloquium, Jack goes mano a mano with the press corps on national security leaks and journalism. 

Matthew Waxman and Kenneth Anderson speak at the Hoover Institution on autonomous weapons before a group of journalists.

Direct download: Episode_47--Matthew_Waxman_and_Kenneth_Anderson_on_Autonomous_Weapons.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:28pm EDT

Benjamin Wittes speaks on his and Kenneth Anderson's book, Speaking the Law, at an October 25 media colloquium at the Hoover Institution. 

Direct download: Episode_46--Benjamin_Wittes_Speaks_on_Speeches_at_the_Hoover.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:01pm EDT

Congressional scholars Tom Mann of the Brookings Institution and Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute discuss the arguments in their book It's Even Worse Than It Looks, the government shutdown and the effects of political dysfunction on national security.

Direct download: Episode_45--Tom_Mann_and_Norm_Ornstein_on_Political_Dysfunction.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:40pm EDT

Bruce Riedel, Director of the Intelligence Project at Brookings, hosted Matt Apuzzo of the AP for a discussion of his new book with Adam Goldman, entitled “Enemies Within: Inside the NYPD’s Secret Spying Unit and bin Laden’s Final Plot Against America.” The book is about the 2009 plot to attack the New York City subway system, led by Afghan-American Najibullah Zazi. During this conversation, Bruce and Matt discussed the plot, the current state of Al Qaeda, and whether the NSA’s surveillance programs directly led to thwarting this terrorist attack.

Benjamin Wittes, Steven Vladeck, and Orin Kerr debate NSA surveillance and the Snowden leaks at an event hosted by the George Washington University chapter of the Federalist Society.

Lawfare veteran Steve Vladeck and NYU law professor Ryan Goodman discuss their new national security blog, Just Security--which launches today.

Direct download: Episode_42--Steve_Vladeck_and_Ryan_Goodman_Discuss_Just_Security.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:28pm EDT

Polymathic technology businessman Nathan Myhrvold discusses his paper, "Strategic Terrorism: A Call to Action."

Direct download: Episode_41--Nathan_Myhrvold_on_Stragetic_Terrorism.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:48pm EDT

On Thursday, Brookings hosted an event on possible U.S. military intervention in Syria.  Brookings Senior Fellow Michael O'Hanlon lead the discussion, in which Brookings scholars debated the strategic, legal and moral wisdom behind a strike against the Assad regime.  

Ben interviews Laura Dean, Lawfare's Cairo Diarist, about the coup in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, and freelancing the revolution.

Direct download: Episode_39--Laura_Dean_on_the_Bloodbath_in_Egypt.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:34pm EDT

Daniel Byman of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy and Ben Wittes of the Governance Studies program at Brookings launched their report entitled “Tools and Tradeoffs: Confronting U.S. Citizen Terrorist Suspects Abroad.” The paper describes the wide range of tools the United States has employed in dealing with citizens suspected of engaging in terrorist activities abroad, and examines the costs and benefits of these various options for policymakers. The event was moderated by Bruce Riedel, director of the Intelligence Project at Brookings, and was followed by an audience discussion.

Direct download: Episode_37---Tools_and_Tradeoffs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:35pm EDT

Robert LItt, general counsel of the ODNI, speaks at the Brookings Institution on Privacy and Intelligence Collection.

Direct download: Episode_36--Bob_Litt_on_Privacy_and_Intelligence_Collection.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:09pm EDT

Raffaela Wakeman interviews Covington & Burling partner Mark Plotkin on private sector national security law.

For a week last June, Ben was hanging out in Bangkok, at the International Military Law and Operations (MILOPS) Conference.  While there, he took in an interesting and important address by Alan Liotta, a senior Defense Department official with responsibilities for worldwide detention policy.  Liotta's remarks constitute the thirty-fourth episode in our Lawfare Podcast series.

Direct download: Episode_34--Alan_Liotta_Speaks_at_MILOPS.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:04pm EDT

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

Military Commission Chief Prosecutor Mark Martins discusses his decision not to pursue standalone conspiracy charges against KSM and the other 9/11 defendants in the wake of Hamdan II.

Direct download: Mark_Martins_Interview.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:30pm EDT