The Lawfare Podcast

Last week, the Aspen Security Forum featured interviews from a host of Obama administration national security officials, some of which we provided last week. This week is part II, wherein we share edited discussions from White House Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Attorney General Loretta Lynch. 

Monaco's conversation with Mike Isikoff of Yahoo News ventures into the Administration's policy on ISIS and what she calls a "generational struggle," the trials of social media as a recruitment vehicle, and most interestingly, whether Obama would act unilaterally to move Guantanamo Bay prisoners to the United States. 

Clapper's discussion with Andrew Mitchell of MSNBC is most notable for his comments on lone wolf attacks and going dark, a threat about which he shares much of the same concern as FBI Director Comey. Later, Clapper touches on the OPM hack and why the United States is choosing to respond much more forcefully to economic espionage than "traditional" espionage.

Finally, in her interview with Andrew Mitchell, Loretta Lynch walks us through the challenges of domestic terrorism, the Justice Department's approach to intvestigating and prosecuting home grown ISIS supporters, and the legal protections afforded to Guantanamo Bay detainees should they be moved to the United States. 

Direct download: Episode_134---Aspen_Security_Inst.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:48pm EDT

FBI Director James Comey, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, and NSA Director Adm. Michael Rogers all spoke this week at the Aspen Security Forum. CNN's Wolf Blitzer interviewed Comey. The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza spoke with Johnson. And New York Times reporter David Sanger interviewed Rogers. We have edited the interviews down to manageable length and strung them together for listeners. Thanks to the folks at the Aspen Security Forum for giving us permission to use the audio.

Direct download: Episode_134.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:36pm EDT

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