The Lawfare Podcast

In this episode of Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth miniseries on disinformation, Quinta Jurecic and Alina Polyakova spoke with Thomas Rid about his new book, "Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare." Yesterday’s episode of the Lawfare Podcast featured a conversation between Thomas and Jack Goldsmith about the book, focusing on the early history of disinformation through the 1980s. Today, Alina and Quinta follow up with a discussion with Thomas on disinformation in the digital age, along with some questions about what it’s like to interview former KGB and Stasi officials about their influence campaigns.

Direct download: Thomas_Rid_Part_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:56pm EDT

Jack Goldsmith spoke with Thomas Rid about Rid’s new book, "Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare." The book is about the history of information operations and influence campaigns, and we’re bringing you a two-part Lawfare Podcast to discuss it in detail. On this episode, Jack and Thomas discuss the history of disinformation from the beginning of the 20th century through the 1980s. Tomorrow on the Lawfare Podcast’s “Arbiters of Truth” miniseries on disinformation, Alina Polyakova and Quinta Jurecic will be sharing their discussion with Thomas about his research starting at the beginning of the internet age.

Direct download: Thomas_Rid_Part_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:27pm EDT

Sophia Yan, a correspondent in Beijing for the London Telegraph, joined Benjamin Wittes from Beijing where she is in coronavirus lockdown after traveling to Wuhan, China, to see how it was recovering from being the coronavirus epidemic center earlier in the year. They talked about what Wuhan looks like these days, what quarantine means in China, and how close the surveillance is. And they talked about the Chinese government, how it is responding to the crisis, and about how the Chinese economy is recovering and suffering.

Direct download: Sophia_Yan_on_Quarantine_in_Beijing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:25pm EDT

We've covered this novel coronavirus from many angles, focusing on the disaster response issues that make up part of national security. For this episode of the Lawfare Podcast, we have something a bit different: a case study of how pandemic control measures intersect with federalism issues and supply chain continuity and security. With a focus on what's happening in Illinois, David Priess spoke with Rob Karr, the president and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, representing the industry employing one out of every five people in Illinois, and with Mark Denzler, the co-chair of the state's Essential Equipment Task Force and the president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers' Association, representing companies that employ almost 600,000 Illinoisans.

Direct download: Illinois_Case_Study.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

On this episode of Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Kate Klonick and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Charlie Warzel, an opinion writer at large at the New York Times. He’s written about the internet, disinformation, privacy and platform governance—and recently he’s been focusing on how these collide with COVID-19 and the uncertainty and anxiety of living through a pandemic. They talked about what the pandemic shows us about the role of big tech companies and how the spread of a deadly disease in the midst of a polarized information environment may be a worst-case scenario for disinformation.

Direct download: Charlie_Warzel_on_the_Pandemic_Internet.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:41pm EDT

There has been a lot of confusion during the COVID-19 crisis about what counts as legitimate clinical evidence that a treatment really works. The president is endorsing unproven drug therapies based on anecdotal accounts. And while Lawfare is not a clinical trials or medical site, the subject of treating coronavirus cases certainly has become a national security issue.

Benjamin Wittes and Quinta Jurecic just happen to know the perfect people to offer a basic explainer of the clinical research process. Mom and Dad.

To be precise, Ben's mom and Quinta's dad, both of whom are biostatisticians. Janet Wittes is the president of Statistics Collaborative, a company that designs and analyzes data from clinical trials. She used to be the chief of statistics at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Steve Buyske is a professor of statistics at Rutgers University, who works on biostatistics, statistical genetics and experimental design. The four gathered in the virtual Jungle Studio to talk about the history of clinical trials, the standards for good clinical research and to what extent those standards can slip when you're dealing with an ongoing pandemic that is killing people worldwide.

Direct download: Clinical_Trials_in_a_Pandemic.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:20pm EDT

On April 16, former members of Congress participated in a "Mock Remote Hearing" via Zoom to test the viability of online congressional proceedings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Former General David Petraeus testified, along with representatives from Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other experts; a Member of the UK Parliament testified about how the UK Parliament is innovating to meet the demands of social distancing.

Margaret Taylor talked with former Congressman Brian Baird—who chaired the mock hearing—and Daniel Schuman, a lawyer, technologist and government transparency advocate who testified. They talked about Congress’s rather timid efforts so far to innovate in the age of social distancing, and ways Congress could continue to do hearings, markups and floor votes in a live, digital, remote format. They talked about the constitutional underpinnings of remote work by Congress and the importance of robust legislative and oversight work in a representative democracy—especially in the midst of a national crisis.

Direct download: Baird_and_Schuman_on_Congress_Functioning_Remotely.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:39pm EDT

Many people are holding out contact tracing as the way we are going to control the COVID-19 epidemic. Once we start opening up the economy again, it involves identifying people who have tested positive for the virus and notifying those with whom they have been in close contact that they are at risk and need to quarantine. It also involves surveillance—electronic surveillance of a type that we are not comfortable with as a society. Can we do it legally? Should we do it? Will it be effective? To work through the do's and don'ts and cans and can'ts of contact tracing, Benjamin Wittes spoke with Josh Sharfstein, Susan Landau, Alan Rozenshtein, Stewart Baker, and Bobby Chesney.

Direct download: Is_Contact_Tracing_a_Privacy_Threat.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Lawfare founder Bobby Chesney and Lawfare contributing editor Steve Vladeck host the weekly National Security Law Podcast from the University of Texas Law School, where they discuss current developments in national security law. This week’s episode had lots of content that we thought Lawfare Podcast listeners may be interested in hearing, so we are bringing it to you in a distilled form. In this episode, the fourth edition of a Lawfare edited National Security Law Podcast, Bobby and Steve discuss the legality of President Trump’s claim that he might adjourn Congress, whether or not he has “total authority”—as he claims—over when the economy should reopen and the latest in the 9/11 case at Guantanamo.

Direct download: NSL_Podcast_4.16.20_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:47pm EDT

On this episode of our Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Camille François, the Chief Innovation Officer at Graphika, where she works to identify and mitigate disinformation and misinformation online. On April 15, Graphika released a report on an Iranian influence operation focused on COVID-19, an operation blaming the United States for supposedly creating the virus and praising China’s response to the pandemic. Camille discussed what Graphika found and how this campaign compares to similar operations in the past—like another campaign from Ghana that Graphika helped uncover, which was linked to Russia and posted content aimed at black Americans. And they discussed the “ABC framework” that Camille has developed to understand disinformation campaigns.

Direct download: Camielle_Francios_on_Covid-19_and_the_ABCs_of_Disinformation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30pm EDT

Nobody has been more aggressive about using the coronavirus crisis to seize power than Hungarian strong man Viktor Orbán. Orbán declared a state of emergency and has been ruling by decree. He has also instigated criminal penalties for spreading false information about the coronavirus, and his Fidesz party has effectively dissolved Parliament. Joining Benjamin Wittes to discuss the decline of Hungarian democracy is András Pap, a Hungarian scholar of constitutional law and a professor at Central European University's nationalist studies program in Budapest, and Anne Applebaum, essayist, author, and scholar of Eastern Europe, nationalism and the former Soviet Union. They talked about whether Orbán's seizure of power is as big a deal as it initially appears, about where Orbán stands in the pantheon of right wing populists worldwide, and about what, if anything, the European Union is likely to do about it.

Direct download: Viktor_Orban_Switches_Democracy_Off.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:34pm EDT

Whether it has been travel bans, family separation, or changes to asylum rules, the Trump administration has long been embroiled in controversies over its immigration and detention policy. Those controversies have come amidst surges in migrants and asylum seekers, particularly at the U.S. southern border. The Trump administration's new policies have been legally and technically complex, and that was all before COVID-19.

Mikhaila Fogel sat down with immigration reporters Hamed Aleaziz of Buzzfeed News, Dara Lind of ProPublica, and Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, a lawyer at the American Immigration Council. They discussed how Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as Customs and Border Protection, are responding to COVID-19; the changing legal landscape for those agencies before the pandemic; and the challenges faced by migrants, asylum seekers and the U.S. immigration system during coronavirus and beyond.

Direct download: ICE_CBP_and_Coronavirus_Response.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:35pm EDT

Margaret Taylor sat down with Stan Brand, who served as the general counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives from 1976 to 1983. They talked about key issues working their way through the courts that could redefine congressional subpoena power and congressional oversight for a generation. How will these cases move forward in light of the COVID-19 pandemic? How might they be decided, and what might that mean for the future of congressional power? And what impact are these cases having on congressional oversight right now?

Direct download: Stan_Brand_on_the_State_of_Congressional_Oversight_and_Subpoena_Power.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Jim Baker served as general counsel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He was also the counsel for the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review at the Justice Department, where he supervised FISA applications. He joined Benjamin Wittes in the virtual Jungle Studio to discuss Inspector General Michael Horowitz's shocking report on inaccuracy in FISA applications, and the problems at the FBI that led to these errors.

Direct download: Jim_Baker_on_FISA_Errors.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:50pm EDT

On this episode of Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Quinta Jurecic speaks with Alina Polyakova and Kate Klonick, who both have expertise that can clarify our confusing current moment. Alina has been running a great series of virtual events at the Center for European Policy Analysis on disinformation and geopolitics during COVID-19. And Kate’s research on platform governance helps shed light on the aggressive role some tech platforms have been playing in moderating content online during the pandemic.

Direct download: Pandemics_Platform_Governance_and_Geopolitics.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:44pm EDT

March 11 marked the launch of the official report of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission. The commission is a bicameral, bipartisan intergovernmental body created by the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, and charged with developing and articulating a comprehensive strategic approach to defending the United States in cyberspace. For the last month, Lawfare has published a series of commentaries on various highlights from the report, some by analysts involved with the commission. In this episode of the Lawfare Podcast, we hear a lively discussion from some of the Commission's members, including the co-chair, Representative Mike Gallagher, on a part of that project focusing on China, technology and global supply chains.

Direct download: Episode_532.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:19pm EDT

The devastating effects of the coronavirus COVID-19 are being felt in nearly every corner of the world, with little regard for national borders or boundaries. In many ways, this makes it the exact sort of transnational threat that the United Nations is supposed to help address, yet the response across various U.N. institutions has been inconsistent at best. To understand how the United Nations is responding to the coronavirus crisis and why, Scott R. Anderson spoke with two people who know it like few others: U.N. Resident Correspondent and CBS News Analyst Pamela Falk, and U.N. Director for the International Crisis Group Richard Gowan.

Direct download: Episode_531.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:42pm EDT

Stephen Holmes is the Walter E. Mayer Professor of Law at New York University. With Ivan Krastev he is the author of "The Light that Failed: a Reckoning." Jack Goldsmith sat down with Holmes to talk about his new book and much more. The pair discussed the fate of liberalism in the decades following the fall of the Berlin wall, Holmes’ experience studying Eastern European politics, the problems with trying to export liberalism across the globe and the factors that have led to the global rise of illiberal leaders.

Direct download: Episode_530.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

On this episode of the Lawfare Podcast's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Nate Persily, the James B. McClatchy Professor of Law at Stanford Law School. Persily is also a member of the Kofi Annan Commission on Democracy and Elections in the Digital Age, which recently released a report on election integrity and the internet for which Nate provided a framing paper. Alongside his work on internet governance, Nate is also an expert on election law and administration. They spoke about the commission report and the challenges the internet may pose for democracy, to what extent the pandemic has flipped that on its head, and, of course, the 2020 presidential election.

Direct download: Episode_529.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:13pm EDT

Joining Benjamin Wittes in the virtual jungle studio is Daniel Drezner, professor at the Fletcher School at Tufts University, and the author of two political science books: one on zombie apocalypses and international relations theory, and a new book on the president as a toddler. These books are serious pieces of political science, are very funny, and in different ways, are highly relevant to the situations we face today as a society. Dan and Ben talked about how zombies are similar to and different from coronavirus, whether international relations theory correctly anticipates how governments will respond to crises, and about Dan's epic Twitter thread on the toddler in chief.

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