The Lawfare Podcast (general)

This week on Arbiters of Truth, the Lawfare Podcast’s miniseries on our online information ecosystem, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic talked to Sean Li, who until recently was the head of Trust and Safety at Discord. Discord is experiencing phenomenal growth and is an established player in a space that is the new hot thing: audio social media. And as the head of Trust and Safety, Sean was responsible for running the team that mitigates all the bad stuff that happens on a platform.

Evelyn and Quinta asked Sean what it’s like to have that kind of power—to be the eponymous “arbiter of truth” of a slice of the internet. They also discussed what makes content moderation of live audio content different from the kind we normally talk about—namely, text-based platforms. As almost every social media platform is trying to get into audio, what should they be prepared for?

Direct download: The_Challenges_of_Audio_Content_Moderation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Last week for the Michael V. Hayden Center for Intelligence, Policy, and International Security at George Mason University's Schar School of Policy and Government, David Priess moderated a virtual event called, "Spy Writing in the Real World." The event featured three authors of espionage fiction, two with previous experience working inside the U.S. intelligence community: Brad Thor, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 21 thrillers; Karen Cleveland, a former CIA analyst and New York Times bestselling author of "Need to Know" and "Keep You Close"; and award-winning author and former NSA and CIA officer Alma Katsu, who had written five novels prior to her first new spy novel, "Red Widow." They talked about the spy thriller genre, their challenges within it, their research and their experience with prepublication classification review.

Direct download: Spy_Writing_in_the_Real_World.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Jack Goldsmith sat down with Lee Bollinger, the president of Columbia University, and Geoffrey Stone, the Edward H. Levy Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago Law School, to discuss their new book, "National Security, Leaks and Freedom of the Press: The Pentagon Papers Fifty Years On." They discussed the holding and legacy of the Pentagon Papers case, as well as some of the many challenges of applying the Pentagon Papers regime in the modern digital era that is characterized by massive leaks and a very different press landscape than the one that prevailed in 1971.

Direct download: National_Security_Leaks_and_Freedom_of_the_Press.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

In the second episode of "After Trump," the six-part limited podcast series based on the book, "After Trump: Reconstructing the Presidency," by Bob Bauer and Jack Goldsmith, we consider the problem of foreign interventions in American political campaigns—and what to do about it.

Direct download: after-trump-ep-2-final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

On Wednesday, President Biden announced a full withdrawal of all U.S. military personnel from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, an announcement that comes as the U.S. and Afghan governments have been trying to reach a power sharing agreement with the Taliban. Prior to the withdrawal announcement, Bryce Klehm spoke with Thomas Gibbons-Neff, a New York Times correspondent based in the Kabul bureau and a former Marine infantryman, who walked us through the situation on the ground in Afghanistan over the last year. Following Biden's announcement, Bryce spoke with Madiha Afzal, the David M. Rubenstein Fellow in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution, who talked about the broader implications of a U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Direct download: Biden_Announces_a_Military_Withdrawal_from_Afghanistan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

This week on Arbiters of Truth, the Lawfare Podcast’s miniseries on our online information ecosystem, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Jameel Jaffer and Ramya Krishnan of the Knight First Amendment Institute.

What do facial recognition software and President Trump’s erstwhile Twitter habits have in common? They both implicate the First Amendment—and hint at how old doctrines struggle to adapt to new technologies.

Evelyn and Quinta talked to Jameel and Ramya about the long-running lawsuit by the Knight Foundation over whether it violates the First Amendment for the president to block people on Twitter—a lawsuit that the Supreme Court just ended. They also asked Ramya and Jameel about the controversial facial recognition startup Clearview AI, in light of recent reporting showing just how much law enforcement uses that technology. Clearview is now confronting multiple lawsuits on the grounds that the company’s practices violate privacy laws, and its defense is that its activities are protected by the First Amendment. These cases don’t neatly fit into existing First Amendment categories, so Evelyn and Quinta asked Jameel and Ramya about the possible paths the law might take to adjust to the digital age.

Direct download: Twitter_Facial_Recognition_and_the_First_Amendment.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

A lot of people are expressing anxiety about white supremacist violent terrorism, yet in a new Brookings paper entitled "Identifying and Exploiting the Weaknesses of the White Supremacist Movement," Daniel Byman, Lawfare's foreign policy editor and a senior fellow at the Brookings Center for Middle East Policy, and Mark Pitcavage, a senior research fellow at the Center on Extremism at the Anti-Defamation League, say that while the threat is real, these movements have weaknesses that other terrorist groups do not. Benjamin Wittes sat down with Byman and Pitcavage to talk about these weaknesses, how white supremacist groups are vulnerable and how law enforcement in the United States can exploit them to reduce the threat.

Direct download: Identifying_and_Exploiting_the_Weaknesses_of_White_Supremacist_Groups.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

From the countless attacks on ethnic and religious minorities that have taken place in recent months to the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill, acts of violence and domestic terrorism are on the rise here in the United States. And a major driver behind many of these actions is a growing hostility toward members of racial and religious minorities among white Americans and a growing willingness to turn to violence as a result.

Last week, the Lawfare team was hosted by the National Security Law Society at the Georgetown University Law Center for a live discussion of what this disturbing trend means for U.S. national security. Lawfare editor-in-chief Benjamin Wittes, Lawfare deputy managing editor Jacob Schulz and Lawfare senior editor Scott R. Anderson joined Elizabeth Neumann, a former senior official in the Department of Homeland Security during the Trump administration, and Ryan Greer, the national security director for the Anti-Defamation League, to discuss how white extremism and domestic terrorism relate to each other, what's driving radicalization among white Americans and steps the Biden administration, among others, can take to combat it.

Direct download: The_Continuing_Threat_of_White_Extremism.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

On this special edition of the Lawfare Podcast, we're turning over our feed to the new podcast series, "After Trump," produced by Lawfare in collaboration with Goat Rodeo and hosted by Virginia Heffernan of Slate's "Trumpcast." "After Trump," based on the "After Trump: Reconstructing the Presidency" book by Bob Bauer and Jack Goldsmith, is a six-part limited series that dives into some of the major themes of the book, outlining Bob and Jack's proposal of reform to our government in the fallout of the Trump Administration. Benjamin Wittes sat down with Virginia Heffernan to introduce the series before "After Trump, Episode 1: Follow the Money," plays in full.

Direct download: After_Trump_Episode_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Tensions are heating up between Russia and Ukraine, seven years after the seizure by the Russians of the Crimean Peninsula and the incursions into Eastern Ukraine. With troop movements and some saber rattling, is Vladimir Putin trying to send a message to Joe Biden, or perhaps to Ukrainian President Zelensky? Is he trying to satisfy domestic constituencies or distract them? Benjamin Wittes sat down with Alexander Vindman to talk about what Russia is doing and why, and what the Biden administration should do about it.

Direct download: Alex_Vindman_on_the_Escalation_in_Ukraine.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

If you’re listening to this podcast, the odds are that you’ve heard a lot about QAnon recently—and you might even have read some alarming reporting about how belief in the conspiracy theory is on the rise. But is it really?

This week on Arbiters of Truth, the Lawfare Podcast’s miniseries on our online information ecosystem, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Joseph Uscinski, an associate professor of political science at the University of Miami who studies conspiracy theories. He explained why conspiracy theories in America aren’t actually at a new apex, what kinds of people are drawn to ideas like QAnon and what role—if any—social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter should have in limiting the spread of conspiracy theories.

Direct download: The_Truth_About_Conspiracy_Theories.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

This past weekend, an exceptional series of events rocked the normally quiet nation of Jordan as an apparent schism between members of the country's royal family led to the detention of the country's former crown prince, Prince Hamzeh, and the arrest of several of his associates on allegations that they were undermining the country's national security—potentially in coordination with certain foreign interests. Hamzeh responded with a series of leaked videos in both Arabic and English, accusing the government led by King Abdullah II of ineffectiveness and corruption, dragging the royal family's internal tensions even further into the light of day.

To talk through this unexpected crisis, Scott R. Anderson sat down with Bessma Momani of the University of Waterloo and Ghaith al-Omari of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. They discussed the history of royal succession in Jordan, how this latest crisis maps onto Jordan's changing political dynamics and what it all might mean for the broader region.

Direct download: A_Royal_Crisis_in_the_Kingdom_of_Jordan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Natan Sachs is a Brookings senior fellow and the head of the Brookings Center for Middle East Policy, part of the Brookings Foreign Policy program. Benjamin Wittes sat down with Natan to talk about the results of the Israeli election, which are still unclear amid a haze over the entire political system. They talked about what the dispute between the camps is about, the many different factions and what they want, and why they can't sit together easily in a government. They also talked about the fact that Israel doesn't have a budget for the second year in a row, and they discussed whether anyone will be able to prevent the fifth election in two years.

Direct download: Natan_Sachs_on_the_Israeli_Governance_Crisis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Two years ago, a gunman opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing dozens of innocent people. Last December, the government of New Zealand issued a lengthy report on the subject, which Lawfare deputy managing editor Jacob Schulz and Justin Sherman of the Atlantic Council analyzed in a piece on Lawfare. The report is a particularly detailed catalog of how one user of the internet used it to radicalize, to threaten people and to celebrate racist celebrities. Benjamin Wittes sat down with Jacob and Justin to talk about the report of the shooter's internet use and what it all means for content moderation and the discussions about it that we're having today.

Direct download: Jacob_Schulz_and_Justin_Sherman_on_the_New_Zealand_Report.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

The Derek Chauvin trial is underway in Minnesota, and the city of Minneapolis last week settled with the family of George Floyd for $27 million. Benjamin Wittes sat down on Lawfare Live with Rashawn Ray, the David M. Rubenstein Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, to talk about civil settlements. Rashawn is the author of a recent Lawfare article about how to reform the civil settlement system to make it more effective in deterring police misconduct, and they discussed the series of reforms that Rashawn recommends.

Direct download: Rashawn_Ray_on_Reforming_Civil_Police_Settlements.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

This week on Arbiters of Truth, the Lawfare Podcast’s miniseries on our online information ecosystem, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Issie Lapowsky, a senior reporter at the tech journalism publication Protocol. They discussed last week’s hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee with the CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter—the first time the companies had been called to testify on the Hill after the Capitol riot, which focused public attention on the content moderation policies of tech platforms when it comes to domestic extremism. The hearing produced some interesting takeaways, but also a lot of moments when the CEOs were awkwardly forced to answer complicated questions with a simple "yes" or "no" answer.

They also discussed Issie’s reporting on how tech companies have struggled to figure out how to address far-right extremism in the United States as opposed to Islamist extremism. And they talked about Section 230 reform and what it’s like reporting on the tech space.

Direct download: Tech_CEOs_Head_to_the_Hill_Again.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Alvaro Marañon sat down with Erik Larson, a computer scientist, tech entrepreneur and author of the new book, "The Myth of Artificial Intelligence: Why Computers Can't Think the Way We Do." They talked about his background and expertise with artificial intelligence, what shaped our modern perception of AI and why the next big break in AI always appears to be 10 or 20 years away. They also discussed the current limitations of artificial intelligence, whether there are any dangers to our current approach and whether AI's advancement to super intelligence is really inevitable.

Direct download: The_Myth_of_Artificial_Intelligence.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Anti-Asian violence in the United States seems to be on the rise. On March 16, a shooter killed eight people, six of whom were Asian women, at several Atlanta businesses. Across the country, Asian-Americans have shared stories of attacks and harassment, some of which involved racist language in connection with the coronavirus pandemic.

Yet there is very little data available that could help journalists and policymakers make sense of this apparent trend. To understand why, Quinta Jurecic spoke with Jeff Asher, a crime analyst and the co-founder of AH Datalytics, who recently wrote for Lawfare on why there’s so little reliable data on anti-Asian violence—or on any other kind of hate crime. Jeff discussed the patchwork system by which the FBI currently collects data on hate crimes, what other factors might explain why the data is so unreliable and how improved data could help guide the response to anti-Asian attacks.

Direct download: Why_is_Government_Hate_Crimes_Data_So_Terrible.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Last Thursday, the Senate Armed Services Committee held an open hearing that reviewed U.S. Cyber Command's and Special Operation Command's Defense Authorization Requests for fiscal year 2022. The committee heard open testimony from the head of Cyber Command and the National Security Agency, General Paul Nakasone; the head of U.S. Special Operations Command, General Richard Clarke; and the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, Christopher Maier. The hearing covered a range of issues, from the SolarWinds cyberattack to increased violence in Afghanistan. We stripped out all of the nonsense, speechifying and repetition to bring you just the questions and answers you care about, only once.

Direct download: The_Generals_vs_the_Armed_Services_Committee_with_No_Bull.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Alexander Reinert is the Max Freund Professor of Litigation & Advocacy at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where he teaches and conducts research in civil procedure, constitutional law and federal courts. He is the author of the recent article, "Qualified Immunity on Appeal," an empirical assessment, which provides the most comprehensive study so far of the actual way that courts of appeals have handled qualified immunity cases. He wrote about it in an article on Lawfare entitled, "Unpacking a Decade of Appellate Decisions on Qualified Immunity." He joined Benjamin Wittes on Lawfare Live to discuss qualified immunity, what the doctrine is and where it comes from, how courts handle qualified immunity cases in practice, whether it is as much of a shield as it seems to be for cops, if there is any prospect to reform it at the state or federal level and what the future looks like for the doctrine.

Direct download: Alex_Reinert_on_Qualified_Immunity.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

This week on Arbiters of Truth, the Lawfare Podcast’s miniseries on our online information ecosystem, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic sat down with Brendan Nyhan to discuss the crucial platform that often seems to slip under the radar in discussions of mis- and disinformation: YouTube.

Brendan is a professor of government at Dartmouth College, who has just co-authored a report with the Anti-Defamation League on “Exposure to Alternative and Extremist Content on YouTube.” There’s a common conception that YouTube acts as a radicalization engine, pushing viewers from mainstream content to increasingly radical material. But Brendan and his coauthors found a somewhat different story: YouTube may not funnel all viewers toward extreme content, but it does reliably recommend that content to users who are already viewing it. They discussed his findings and how we should understand the role that YouTube plays in the information ecosystem.

Direct download: YouTube_We_Have_a_Problem.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

It's been a big week for the seditious conspiracy statute, which has long been on the books, quietly forbidding violent interference with the lawful functions of the United States government. But on 60 Minutes this weekend, the former chief prosecutor supervising the January 6 investigation hinted not too subtly that the seditious conspiracy statute might come out of obscurity and enter into action. Benjamin Wittes sat down with Jacob Schulz, Lawfare's deputy managing editor who has written a series of articles for Lawfare on recent deployments of the seditious conspiracy statute, to talk through the law's recent enforcement history.

Direct download: Jacob_Schulz_on_Seditious_Conspiracy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Our constitutional system involves the written document, plus two and a half centuries of judicial decisions interpreting it. But these two things only scratch the surface. It also involves our constitutional norms, the unwritten rules that govern how actors in our political system behave. For decades, commentators have observed the steady erosion of many of these norms, and in the four years of the Trump administration, the trickle of norm violations became a torrent. As a response, many in academia, the media and politics have called for Congress to pass legislation that would codify what had previously been unwritten norms of behavior, from requiring that presidential candidates disclose their tax returns to limiting the president's pardon power.

In a forthcoming article in the Georgetown Law Journal, Jonathan Gould, assistant professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley, analyzes many of these proposals and points out the potential unintended consequences of trying to commit unwritten norms to legislative language. Alan Rozenshtein spoke with Jonathan about the importance and erosion of constitutional norms, especially within the executive branch, and how best to repair them.

Direct download: Jonathan_Gould_on_Codifying_Constitutional_Norms.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Benjamin Wittes sat down on Lawfare Live with Seamus Hughes, the deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, and Alan Rozenshtein, a Lawfare senior editor and professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, to talk about the group of cases that have been filed in connection with the January 6 riot and insurrection. They talked about the database that Hughes is building and maintaining of cases, defendants and charges filed in connection with January 6; the pattern of charges; what the picture looks like so far; if it is likely to get closer to the president and his inner circle and if it will result in a series of seditious conspiracy charges.

Direct download: Seamus_Hughes_and_Alan_Rozenshtein_on_the_January_6_Charges.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Jack Goldsmith spoke with New York Times cybersecurity reporter Nicole Perlroth about her new book, "This is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyberweapons Arms Race." They discussed the dark world of markets for zero-day vulnerabilities that are so vital in offensive cyber operations, the history of the markets, how they work, who the players are and why the United States doesn't control as much as it used to. They also discussed broader issues of U.S. cybersecurity policy, including the recent SolarWinds hack.

Direct download: Nicole_Perlroth_on_the_Cyberweapons_Arms_Race.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

On this episode of Arbiters of Truth, the Lawfare Podcast’s miniseries on our online information ecosystem, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Daphne Keller, the director of the Program on Platform Regulation at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center and an expert on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the statute that shields internet platforms from civil liability for third-party content on their websites. The statute has been criticized by both Democrats and Republicans, and both President Trump and President Biden separately called for its repeal. So what should we expect in terms of potential revision of 230 during the current Congress? What does Daphne think about the various proposals on the table? And how is it that so many proposals to reform 230 would be foiled by that pesky First Amendment?

Direct download: The_Good_the_Bad_and_the_Ugly_of_Section_230_Reform.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

David Kris sat down with David Robarge, the chief historian at the Central Intelligence Agency, to discuss covert action. All together, around 50 covert actions have been declassified over the years, and Kris and Robarge discuss several of them, involving the Middle East, Western Europe, Africa and Central America. They also talked about the legal and policy rules governing covert action, the process by which covert action is reviewed and approved and the famous "Washington Post test."

Direct download: Covert_Action.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Dmitri Alperovitch is the executive chairman of Silverado Policy Accelerator, and he's the co-founder and former chief technology officer at CrowdStrike. With Ian Ward, he is the author of the recent article on Lawfare, entitled, "How Should the U.S. Respond to the SolarWinds and Microsoft Exchange Hacks?" Benjamin Wittes sat down with him to discuss the article and the hacks. They talked about how they were similar to one another and how they were different, why the SolarWinds hack has received so much more attention than the much more damaging Microsoft Exchange hack, and whether the U.S. should come down hard on Russia for its activities or if it go easy on the Russians.

Direct download: Dmitri_Alperovitch_on_SolarWinds_and_Microsoft_Exchange.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Alex Vindman sat down with retired Admiral James Stavridis and Elliot Ackerman, the authors of "2034: A Novel of the Next World War." Admiral Stavridis spent more than 30 years in the U.S. Navy, rising to the rank of four-star admiral and who served as the Supreme Allied Commander at NATO. Elliot Ackerman is the author of several novels, including "Dark at the Crossing," which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and most recently, "Waiting for Eden." They discussed the objective for writing a novel on the next world war, the lessons the novel offers national security professionals and policymakers, and key points in the backstory that precipitated the march to this fictional but highly realistic portrayal of the next world war.

Direct download: 2034_A_Novel_of_the_Next_World_War.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

President Joe Biden has conducted military strikes in Syria, has articulated legal theories under which the series of strikes were proper and has temporarily reined in the use of drone strikes. To talk about Biden and war powers, Benjamin Wittes sat down with John Bellinger, who served as the legal adviser at the State Department and the legal adviser for the National Security Council in the Bush administration; Lawfare senior editor Scott Anderson, who worked in the State Department's Office of the Legal Adviser, as well as in the Iraqi embassy; and Rebecca Ingber, who also worked in the State Department's Office of the Legal Adviser and is currently a professor at Cardozo Law School. They talked about how the Biden administration justified the strikes in Syria, the reports it has not yet given on its legal and policy framework for counterterrorism, whether this is the year that AUMF reform might finally happen and which authorizations to use military force might finally see reform.

Direct download: War_Powers_and_the_Biden_Administration.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

On this episode of Arbiters of Truth, the Lawfare Podcast’s miniseries on disinformation and misinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Genevieve Lakier, an assistant professor at the University of Chicago Law School and First Amendment expert. It’s basically impossible to have a conversation about content moderation without someone crying, “First Amendment!” at some point. But the cultural conception of the First Amendment doesn’t always match the legal conception. Evelyn and Quinta spoke with Genevieve about what First Amendment doctrine actually says, how its history might be quite different from what you think and what the dynamism of the doctrine over time—and the current composition of the Supreme Court—might suggest about the First Amendment’s possible futures for grappling with the internet.

Direct download: Content_Moderation_and_the_First_Amendment_for_Dummies.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Wesley Morgan is a former military affairs reporter at Politico and the author of the new book, "The Hardest Place: The American Military Adrift in Afghanistan's Pech Valley." Bryce Klehm sat down with Wesley to talk about the evolution of the war in Afghanistan, from the United States's early hunt for Osama bin Laden, to the increased use of drone strikes during the Obama and Trump administrations. They also discussed the current state of the war in Afghanistan, including the fight against the Islamic State's Afghanistan affiliate.

Direct download: Americas_War_in_Afghanistans_Pech_Valley.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Since 2014, the civil war in Syria has involved an incredibly diverse and complex array of actors representing all manner of ideology and sectarian identity. But one group has captured the public imagination more than perhaps any other: the all-female Women's Protective Units, or YPJ, that have played a central role in the fight against the Islamic State and are continuing to fight for political communities, premised, in part, on gender equality. In her new book, "The Daughters of Kobani," journalist Gayle Tzemach Lemmon details the journey of several of the young Kurdish women involved in the YPJ and the role they have played thus far in the broader Syrian civil war. Scott R. Anderson sat down with her to talk about the origins of the YPJ, how they have weathered the end of the counter Islamic State campaign and what role they may play in a future Syria.

Direct download: Gayle_Tzemach_Lemmon_on_the_Daughters_of_Kobani.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am 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, a discussion of current national security law developments. In their most recent episode, Bobby and Steve discuss a range of topics that we thought would be of interest to listeners, so we are bringing you a distilled version of their conversation. Bobby and Steve talk about recent U.S. air strikes and the Biden administration's war powers report, updated reporting on Islamic State detainees in Iraq and Syria, the report on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and a collection of other national security law issues.

Direct download: The_National_Security_Law_Guys_Talk_War_Powers_and_More.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

On Wednesday, the Senate Homeland Security Committee and the Senate Rules Committee held their second hearing to examine the January 6 attack on the Capitol. What explains the delay in deploying National Guard troops? What reforms are the agencies planning to implement in order to better handle the threat posed by domestic extremist violence and white supremacist groups? And why was the intelligence reporting late and insufficient? Four officials from different agencies testified: Melissa Smislova, who performs the duties of the undersecretary of homeland security for intelligence and analysis; Jill Sanborn, assistant director of the FBI counterterrorism division; Robert Salesses, who performs the duties of the assistant secretary for homeland defense and global security at the Defense Department; and Major General William Walker, the commanding general of D.C.'s National Guard. We took out all the nonsense, the opening statements and the repetition, and brought you every question and every answer, only once.

Direct download: January_6_Oversight_with_No_Bull.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

On this episode of Arbiters of Truth, the Lawfare Podcast’s miniseries on disinformation and misinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Emily Bell, the founding director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia Journalism School. Emily testified before Congress last week about the role of legacy media, and cable news in particular, in spreading disinformation, but she’s also one of the keenest observers of the online news ecosystem and knows a lot about it from her days as director of digital content for The Guardian. They talked about the relationship between online and offline media in spreading disinformation, the role different institutions need to play in fixing what’s broken and whether all the talk about “fighting misinformation” is a bit of a red herring.

Direct download: Emily_Bell_on_Journalism_in_the_Platform_Era.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

FBI Director Christopher A. Wray faced the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday to talk about the January 6 riot and insurrection. The hearing covered whether the FBI had intelligence that the riot was planned for January 6 and how it communicated what it knew to the Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police, as well as topics from SolarWinds to diversity at the FBI. We cut out all of the nonsense and all of the repetitive questions to bring you only what you need to hear.

Direct download: Chris_Wray_vs_the_Committee_with_No_Bull.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Many scholars have written about the police, but almost all have done so from the outside. Rosa Brooks, a law professor at Georgetown University, is one of the few exceptions. In 2016, Brooks—already a successful scholar of national security law and a former official in the Department of Defense—joined Washington, D.C.'s volunteer Police Reserve Corps as a sworn police officer. For several years, she patrolled in some of D.C.'s most disadvantaged neighborhoods, an experience she has chronicled in her new book, "Tangled Up in Blue: Policing the American City." Alan Rozenshtein spoke with Brooks about her time in law enforcement, the structural challenges facing police in the United States and the prospects for reform.

Direct download: Rosa_Brooks_on_American_Policing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

The United States hit targets in Syria associated with two Iraqi militias last week in the first military operations of the Biden administration. To catch up on the situation on the ground in Iraq, Benjamin Wittes sat down on Lawfare Live with Lawfare senior editor Scott Anderson, who served in the embassy in Iraq, and Marsin Alshamary, a postdoctoral fellow with the Brookings Institution's Foreign Policy program and an expert in domestic Iraqi politics. They talked about the groups that the U.S. attacked, the constellation of forces in the current Iraqi government, the legal authority for the attack and where Iraqi politics go from here.

Direct download: Your_Questions_on_Iraq.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 immunizes platforms for the behavior of their users. It's been called by some the Magna Carta of the internet—but how foundational is it? Mary Anne Franks, a professor of law and Dean's Distinguished Scholar at the University of Miami, thinks that Section 230 is indeed a cornerstone of the modern internet, but not in a good way. As part of Lawfare's ongoing Digital Social Contract research paper series, she recently published a paper entitled, "Section 230 and the Anti-Social Contract," in which she argues that far from expanding freedom, Section 230 has simply continued a long tradition of marginalizing the most vulnerable among us. Alan Rozenshtein spoke with her about her paper, about how Section 230 fits into the broader history of American political thought and about her ideas for a better internet.

Direct download: Mary_Anne_Franks_on_Section_230.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

This week on Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth miniseries on disinformation and misinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, the director of the Reuters Institute and professor of political communication at the University of Oxford, about the fight between Australia and Facebook. After Australia proposed a law that would force Facebook to pay for content linked on its platform from Australian news sites, Facebook responded by blocking any news posts in the country. The company and the Australian government have since resolved the spat—for now—but the dust-up raises bigger questions about the relationship between traditional media and social media platforms and the future of the media industry. They talked not only about Australia, but also about the role of social media in contributing to political polarization, the outlook for various business models funding journalism and what political solutions—other than Australia’s—might look like.


Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland faced the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday for a multi-hour session of questions and answers from senators. There were opening statements, there was a lot of speechifying, and there was posturing on the part of senators of both parties. We stripped it all out to bring you just the questions and the answers with no repetition. The committee covered a lot of ground: How will Merrick Garland handle the John Durham investigation? How will he handle white supremacist violence? How will he handle antifa? And will he answer—finally—questions from senators on the committee?

Direct download: Merrick_Garland_v_the_Judiciary_Committee_with_No_Bull.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

For more than a week now, Texas has been struggling with a massive power outage caused by record low temperatures. Millions have been without power, heat and running water, and at least dozens have been confirmed to have died as a result. All states are confronting extreme weather, but Texas is unique in that its electricity is almost completely independent from the rest of the United States' grid. This has at times lowered costs and increased innovation in the Texas energy markets, but as the current crisis shows, Texas's energy exceptionalism comes at a cost. Alexandra Klass is the Distinguished McKnight University Professor at the University of Minnesota Law School and a nationally recognized expert on energy law and policy who recently wrote about the Texas energy crisis for Lawfare. Alan Rozenshtein spoke with her about the current situation and the future of energy policy, both for Texas and for the United States.

Direct download: Alex_Klass_on_the_Texas_Energy_Crisis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

David Hoffman is associate general counsel and global privacy officer for the Intel Corporation, as well as the Steed Family Professor of Practice in Cybersecurity Policy for Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy. He invited Benjamin Wittes to give a talk to a group of students about trust and technology development in which they discussed what the components of trust really are, how many of them are technical and how many of them involve other things like corporate governance, including brand and the regulatory environment in which products are produced.

Direct download: Trust_Hardware_and_Software.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

On February 1, Myanmar's military overthrew the country's democratically elected government in a coup and declared a state of emergency for a year. It returns Myanmar to full military rule after nearly a decade of quasi-democracy that began in 2011. The coup came just hours before the start of a new session of Parliament, which was expected to endorse the results of a November election where de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party won in a landslide and the military-backed party performed poorly. The military has alleged voter fraud, but Myanmar's election commission has said that there is no evidence to support its claims. Since then, the country has seen daily peaceful protests and large-scale strikes against military rule, at times clashing with security forces who have been seen using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds. To break it all down, Rohini Kurup spoke with Aye Min Thant, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist based in Myanmar. They discussed Myanmar's history of military rule, what it is like living through a coup and what to expect in the coming weeks.

Direct download: The_Coup_in_Myanmar.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Right now in India, there’s a legal battle that could portend the future of the internet. In this episode of Arbiters of Truth, Lawfare’s miniseries on disinformation and misinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic talked to Chinmayi Arun, a resident fellow at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School and an affiliate of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. She discussed one of the biggest stories about freedom of expression online today—the battle between Twitter and the Indian government, which has demanded that Twitter geoblock a large number of accounts, including the account of a prominent investigative magazine, in response to protests by tens of thousands of farmers across India. Chinmayi walked us through the political context of the farmers’ protests, how the clash between Twitter and the Indian government is part of an increasingly constrained environment for freedom of expression in India, and where this battle might end up.

Direct download: Chinmayi_Arun_on_India_and_the_Future_of_the_Internet.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

The second impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump is now over. It ended with a roar and then a whimper, and then a little bit of a roar again, as seven Republicans joined all of the Democrats to convict the former president. It wasn't enough, as the Senate needed 67 votes to convict and it only had 57, but it made a statement of sorts—or did it? To discuss the impeachment trial, its weird ending and where it fits in with the effort to hold Donald Trump accountable, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Lawfare managing editor Quinta Jurecic, Lawfare chief operating officer David Priess, senior editor Scott R. Anderson and congressional guru Molly Reynolds. They talked about how the impeachment trial ended, what it meant that the Senate voted to call witnesses and then didn't bother, how to interpret the Senate's performance overall in the second impeachment trial and what the options are now that Donald Trump is a private citizen facing potential civil litigation, as well as criminal investigations and a possible 9/11-style commission.

Direct download: How_the_Impeachment_Trial_Ends.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

The Biden administration has promised significant changes to the U.S. relationship with Iran that could have a marked impact on the Middle East. What is the likelihood that this new administration will be successful? And how will other regional developments—from the Abraham Accords between Israel and a few Arab states, to the healing of the rift within the Gulf Cooperation Council, to the ongoing morass in Syria—affect the dynamics here?

To address these questions, David Priess hosted a panel discussion on February 11 for the Michael V. Hayden Center for Intelligence, Policy and International Security at George Mason University's Schar School of Policy and Government. He sat down with Norman Roule, a 34-year veteran of the CIA, who served as the national intelligence manager for Iran for more than eight years; Kirsten Fontenrose, formerly the senior director for the Persian Gulf on the National Security Council staff and currently the director of the Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative at the Atlantic Council; and Ambassador Dennis Ross, who has served in U.S. government positions pertaining to the Middle East for some 40 years, and who is now a distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Direct download: Iran_the_US_and_the_Middle_East_at_a_Turning_Point.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Lost in the shuffle of an impeachment trial here in the United States was big news from Canada last week. Canada’s Minister of Public Safety added the Proud Boys to Canada’s terror entity list. The listing might be in Canada, but the group had a role in the January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol. The listing has all sorts of interesting legal and national security implications, so Jacob Schulz talked it through with two Canadian national security experts. Jessica Davis is a former senior strategic intelligence analyst with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service who is now the president of Insight Threat Intelligence and a PhD student at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University. And Leah West is an assistant professor of International Affairs at Carleton University and serves as counsel with Friedman Mansour LLP. They talked about right-wing extremism in Canada, what the consequences of the listing might be and what it reveals about the relationship between Canada and the United States.

Direct download: Canada_Takes_on_the_Proud_Boys.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

On this episode of Arbiters of Truth, Lawfare’s miniseries on disinformation and misinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Ben Smith, media columnist for the New York Times and former editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed News. Ben spends a lot of time thinking and writing about the gatekeepers who hold the power to shape our public sphere. At BuzzFeed, he capitalized on the way the rise of the internet allowed upstarts to work around the Old Gatekeepers, the legacy media organizations; now, at the Times, he’s one of them. But there are also the other New Gatekeepers: the Platforms, flailing around as much as the rest of us in trying to make sense of the role they’ve found themselves in. So what does Ben think about the current state of the media ecosystem and where it's headed? And why, in his view, was February 26, 2015—almost exactly 6 years ago—the last good day on the internet?

Direct download: Ben_Smith_on_Gatekeepers_in_the_Internet_Age.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

While we have been dealing with an insurrection in Washington, protestors in Hong Kong are being tried under the city's new Beijing-imposed national security law. For an update on what's going on in Hong Kong and in its relationship with China, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Sophia Yan, Beijing correspondent for The Telegraph in London, and Alvin Cheung, a postdoctoral fellow at McGill University and a non-resident affiliate scholar with NYU's U.S.-Asia Law Institute. They talked about how the national security law is being applied in Hong Kong, whether the protests are likely to reignite as the coronavirus epidemic fades and what activists are doing now that they do not know what Beijing will tolerate.

Direct download: An_Update_from_Hong_Kong.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

George Shultz passed away on February 6, just two months after passing his 100th birthday. He was a momentous and fascinating national security figure who has quite a legacy within national defense, foreign policy and even management circles in the federal government. To talk about his legacy and what made him such a special senior government leader, David Priess sat down with Ambassador Nicholas Burns and Kori Schake. Nick Burns is a man of many titles, including professor at the Kennedy School at Harvard University, building on almost three decades of U.S. government service, including a role as the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 2005 to 2008. Kori Schake is the director of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, coming after service in the National Security Council, the Department of Defense and the Department of State. They talked about about George Shultz, the positions he had, the influence he had on those around him and his influence on future administrations, both Republican and Democratic.

Direct download: The_Legacy_of_George_Shultz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

The Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump—the sequel—gets underway this week when the House impeachment managers and Trump's new defense team spar on the Senate floor under the gavel of Senator Patrick Leahy. What should we expect from this second round of impeachment trial? For a preview, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Molly Reynolds, Lawfare's congressional guru and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution; Lawfare's managing editor Quinta Jurecic; and Lawfare's chief operating officer David Priess. They talked about what rules are going to apply this time and whether they will be different from the last time around, whether there will be witnesses, what will be different with Senator Leahy presiding, how the president is likely to present his defense and how he might scuttle his lawyers' efforts.

Direct download: An_Impeachment_Trial_Preview.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Some countries don't just abuse their citizens within their own borders; increasingly, they target individuals after they have gone abroad. A range of nefarious acts play a role here, and together they make up a phenomenon called transnational repression.

Nate Schenkkan, the director of research strategy at Freedom House, and Isabel Linzer, Freedom House's research analyst for technology and democracy, are the two authors of "Out of Sight, Not Out of Reach: Understanding Transnational Repression," a new report detailing the practice and Freedom House's research on the topic. David Priess sat down with them to discuss the variety of forms transnational repression can take, whom is targeted and why, examples from the governments of Russia, Saudi Arabia, China, Rwanda and even Equatorial Guinea, and recommendations to buck this growing trend

Direct download: Transnational_Repression.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

On this episode of Arbiters of Truth, Lawfare’s miniseries on disinformation and misinformation, Quinta Jurecic sat down with Lawfare’s deputy managing editor Jacob Schulz, and Jordan Schneider, host of the ChinaTalk podcast, to talk about Substack. The newsletter service is the new cool thing in the journalism world—and, like any newly popular online service, it is already running into questions around content moderation.

Jacob wrote about Substack’s content moderation policy earlier this month, and Jordan uses Substack to send out his ChinaTalk newsletter, so he filled us in on the platform’s nuts and bolts. Why is Substack so popular right now, anyway? Does it help writers step outside the unhealthy dynamics that help spread disinformation and discontent on social media, or does it just play into those dynamics further? And what might the platform’s content moderation policies leave to be desired?

Direct download: Lawfare_Enters_the_Substack_Discourse.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

There is an impeachment trial next week, and the two sides—the impeachment managers for the House of Representatives and the lawyers for the former president of the United States—filed their briefs before the Senate. The briefs could not be more different. One is long, legally dense and factually rich; the other is short—a mere 14 pages—and contains some interesting oddities and errors. To chew over the briefs, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Lawfare's managing editor Quinta Jurecic and chief operating officer David Priess. They talked about what the two sides are arguing, what it says about the cases they mean to present to the Senate and whether there are going to be witnesses next week when the two sides have to present their cases before the senators themselves.

Direct download: Impeachment_Briefing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

It was the second weekend of major protests in Russia, as Russians across the country took to the streets to protest the detention of Alexei Navalny. In a major show of force, the police rounded up a very large number of people and there were a number of beatings. To bring us up to speed on the situation in Russia, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Alina Polyakova, president of the Center for European Policy Analysis. They talked about whether the protests are dwindling or gathering strength, and whether that's really about the Russian security services or the 30-degree-below-0 weather. They talked about Putin's game plan, Navalny's game plan and where this is all heading over the next few months and years.

Direct download: Alina_Polyakova_on_the_Protests_in_Russia.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

On January 27, the Department of Homeland Security issued an unusual National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin—unusual because it addressed solely the heightened threat environment of violence from domestic violent extremists, with no mention of foreign terrorist organizations or even the word terrorism. It's a striking document both for what it describes and for what it leaves unsaid.

To discuss the bulletin, its context and what comes next, David Priess sat down with Carrie Cordero, former counsel to the National Security Division at the Department of Justice and senior associate general counsel at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; Andrew McCabe, the former deputy director of the FBI; Elizabeth Neumann, former deputy chief of staff to the Secretary of Homeland Security and assistant secretary for threat prevention and security policy at DHS; and Nick Rasmussen, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center.

Direct download: DHS_Warning_Domestic_Violent_Extremists.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Yesterday was a big day—the day that the Facebook Oversight Board released its first decisions. The independent board, an experiment in platform governance set up by Facebook, handed down five rulings weighing in on the company’s decision to remove various posts for violating Facebook’s community guidelines. It may not be Marbury v. Madison, but it’s still a big moment for online speech regulation.

To mark the occasion, Lawfare is setting up a new page collecting and tracking the board’s decisions.

For this episode of the podcast, Quinta Jurecic spoke with Evelyn Douek, cohost of Lawfare’s Arbiters of Truth podcast series on disinformation and a lecturer at Harvard Law School, and Lawfare deputy managing editor Jacob Schulz. They discussed everything you need to know about the Oversight Board, including those most basic but crucial of questions: What exactly is it, anyway? What’s in the decisions? And why should we care?

Direct download: The_Least_Dangerous_Branch_of_Facebook.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

For this episode of Arbiters of Truth, Lawfare’s miniseries on disinformation and misinformation, Kate Klonick and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Joan Donovan, the research director at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Her work focuses on networked social movements, disinformation and media manipulation—so she’s the perfect person to help untangle the continued fallout not only from the January 6 Capitol riot, but from the last four years more broadly. They talked about Joan’s route from researching Occupy Wall Street to studying far-right disinformation, the importance of understanding networks of communication and coordination in studying social media, and the responses of big social platforms to the violence in the Capitol.

Direct download: Joan_Donovan_on_Disinformation_and_Social_Movements.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

David Kris sat down with David Hatch, the senior historian at the U.S. National Security Agency. They discussed Project VENONA, an incredibly significant intelligence program involving encrypted Soviet messages that began during World War II and went on for many years thereafter. It's a story full of unusual events and interesting lessons about intelligence and counterintelligence and spy vs. spy. There's also a little review of encryption—specifically, the risks of reusing one-time encryption pads—and a discussion of the declassification process of Project VENONA and why we can talk about the project at all.

Direct download: Project_VENONA.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Jack Goldsmith sat down with Michael McConnell, the Richard and Frances Mallery Professor and director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author of the new book, "The President Who Would Not Be King: Executive Power Under the Constitution." They discussed McConnell's textual historical approach to interpreting presidential power under Article II of the U.S. Constitution, the many novel elements of executive power embodied in Article II and the proper understanding of Article II's Vesting Clause. They also talked about contemporary implications of his reading of Article II for war powers, the unitary executive and late impeachments.

Direct download: The_President_Who_Would_Not_Be_King.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

The day before last week's inauguration of President Joe Biden, four of the Biden administration's core national security nominees appeared before various Senate committees for their confirmation hearings. Avril Haines, Biden's nominee for Director of National Intelligence, appeared before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence; Alejandro Mayorkas, the nominee for Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, appeared before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; retired general Lloyd Austin, Biden's nominee to head the Defense Department, appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee; and Antony Blinken, Biden's nominee for Secretary of State, appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The hearings included a whole lot of performative partisan flattery and outrage, but they also provided a snapshot of the Biden administration's national security priorities. We cut out all of the nonsense, all of the unnecessary information and the duplicative questions to leave you only the most interesting questions and answers.

Direct download: Confirmation_Hearing_Blitz_with_No_Bull.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

It was supposed to be the big sequel to the January 6 "Stop the Steal" rally-turned-riot. It was supposed to be the largest armed protest in the history of the United States, taking place in all 50 state capitals. And yet, Inauguration Day turned out to be peaceful. Protesters were few; acts of violence were even fewer. It's a major counterterrorism success, and like many major counterterrorism successes, it has largely been unremarked upon. How did we go without the sequel to the bloody events of January 6? To what extent should we credit law enforcement action or the deplatforming of the president and his followers, or is the explanation something entirely different? To talk it through, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Dan Byman, Lawfare's foreign policy editor and counterterrorism expert, who has identified six major factors that likely contributed to this week's success.

Direct download: Dan_Byman_on_the_Sequel_that_Never_Came_to_Be.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

During his inaugural address yesterday, President Biden spoke about the subject of this podcast: disinformation. “There is truth and there are lies,” Biden said, “lies told for power and for profit.” And he asked Americans to unify rather than “turn inward” against those “who don't get their news from the same sources you do.”

But in an era of QAnon and pandemic disinformation, how will that unification be possible? The day before the inauguration, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Kate Starbird, an associate professor of Human Centered Design & Engineering at the University of Washington, for this first episode of Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth miniseries under the Biden administration. Kate last came on the podcast in March 2020 to discuss disinformation and misinformation around the coronavirus, and she has had a long year since then researching online ecosystems around the pandemic and supposed voter fraud. And the Capitol riot on January 6 threw all this into sharp relief, as the things that Kate studies every day boiled over into mainstream consciousness with a vengeance. They spoke with Kate about what led up to the riot, what the disinformation landscape looks like now and what kind of work will be required to move forward.

Direct download: Information_Disorder_During_and_After_the_Trump_Presidency.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Private entities—in particular, technology giants like internet service providers, email services and social networks—play a vital role in helping law enforcement fight child pornography online. But the involvement of private entities does not eliminate the Fourth Amendment issues that come with electronic surveillance. In fact, the more the private entities cooperate with the government, the more likely it is that courts will consider them government agents, and the evidence they collect will be subject to the same Fourth Amendment restrictions as apply to law enforcement agencies. Jeff Kosseff is an assistant professor at the United States Naval Academy's Cyber Science Department. As part of Lawfare's ongoing Digital Social Contract research paper series, he published a paper entitled, "Online Service Providers and the Fight Against Child Exploitation: The Fourth Amendment Agency Dilemma." Alan Rozenshtein spoke with Jeff about how the government and internet companies can thread the needle on fighting digital child exploitation without running afoul of the Constitution.

Direct download: Jeff_Kosseff_on_the_Fight_Against_Online_Child_Pornography.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

In the wake of the January 6 mob attack on the Capitol, some have called for the invocation of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. Section 3 disqualifies anyone who has engaged in rebellion or insurrection against United States from public office. In particular, critics of President Trump have seized on this as a potential way of preventing him from running in 2024. Alan Rozenshtein spoke about Section 3 with professors Daniel Hemel of the University of Chicago Law School and Gerard Magliocca of the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.

Direct download: Section_3_of_the_14th_Amendment.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

The NSA this week released a long-awaited update to its signals intelligence policy, which had not been updated since 1988. David Kris, former assistant attorney general for the National Security Division, shortly thereafter produced an even longer paper analyzing the dense and technical policy document. David joined Benjamin Wittes to talk about the significance of this new policy document, what it does and how it is different from the document it replaces. They also talked about David's paper, how he came to write it, why it is so much longer than the policy document itself and what the implications of the new NSA policies are for signals intelligence collection and civil liberties.

Direct download: David_Kris_on_the_NSA_Annex.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Yesterday, January 13, the House of Representatives impeached President Trump a second time for encouraging the violent riot in the Capitol Building on January 6. And yet, the impeachment is probably less of a crushing blow to the president than something else that’s happened in recent days: the loss of his Twitter account.

After a few very eventful weeks, Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation is back. Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Jonathan Zittrain, the George Bemis Professor of International Law at Harvard Law School, about the decision by Twitter, Facebook and a whole host of other platforms to ban the president in the wake of the Capitol riot. Jonathan, Evelyn and Quinta take a step back and situate what’s happening within the broader story of internet governance. They talked about how to understand the bans in the context of the internet’s now not-so-brief history, how platforms make these decisions and, of course, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Listeners might also be interested in Zittrain's February 2020 Tanner Lecture, "Between Suffocation and Abdication: Three Eras of Governing Digital Platforms," which touches on some of the same ideas discussed in the podcast.

Direct download: Jonathan_Zittrain_on_the_Great_Deplatforming.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Jack Goldsmith sat down with Brian Kalt, a law professor at Michigan State University, to talk about an important issue in the news this week: late impeachments. In the current context, the issue of a late impeachment would arise if the House of Representatives impeaches President Trump before he leaves office but the Senate does not hold the trial for Trump, with possible conviction and disqualification from further office, until after he leaves office. They discussed how the Constitution and its historical background and structure inform this question, as well as what the practice of impeachments over 230 years teaches us. They also talked about how former President Trump might challenge any trial, conviction or disqualification that takes place after he leaves office.

Direct download: Late_Impeachments.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Donald Trump is headed for a second impeachment, a whole lot of people have been charged in federal and local courts in Washington, and an even larger number are probably about to be. What's more, the president's social media accounts have vanished; in fact, one of the very networks on which the president's supporters organized has itself disappeared. To talk through it all, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Lawfare's Alan Rozenshtein, Bryce Klehm, David Priess, Quinta Jurecic and Susan Hennessey. They talked about whether impeachment is inevitable now, if the article of impeachment Congress is considering is well-crafted, who has been charged and who is going to be charged, and what we should make of the actions of the tech companies against the president and his allies.

Direct download: The_Incredible_Vanishing_President.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Jamie Gorelick was the deputy attorney general under President Bill Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno. In that capacity, she hired as her top aide and adjutant one Merrick Garland. This was before Garland became a D.C. Circuit judge, but it was a fateful period for the department, a period in which Garland supervised some high-profile cases, including the investigation of the Oklahoma City bombing. Benjamin Wittes sat down with Gorelick to talk about Garland's history at the department, his selection as attorney general and the team that will surround him.

Direct download: Jamie_Gorelick_on_Merrick_Garland.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

The storming of the Capitol on Wednesday was a catastrophic failure of protective law enforcement, as rioters overran Capitol Police barricades and gained access to a building that a lot of police were supposed to be protecting. How did it happen? Who screwed up? And what can be done about it? Benjamin Wittes sat down with Fred Burton, the executive director of the Center for Protective Intelligence at Ontic and a former protective officer; Garrett Graff, a journalist who covers federal law enforcement and who wrote a book about continuity in government; and Lawfare's executive editor Susan Hennessey. They talked about how bad the failure was on the part of the Capitol Police, who is responsible for it, what can be done now to bring the perpetrators to justice and how we should think about changing security protocols on Capitol Hill going forward.

Direct download: Who_Let_the_Barbarians_Through_the_Gates.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Today a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol following a rally at which the president spoke. Congressional efforts to count the electoral votes were suspended, and an armed standoff, in which at least one person was killed, ensued. To discuss the matter, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Lawfare managing editor Quinta Jurecic; Lawfare chief operating officer David Priess; Georgetown's Mary McCord, who used to run the National Security Division at the Justice Department; and Daniel Byman, a professor at Georgetown and Lawfare's foreign policy editor.

Direct download: Insurrection_at_the_Capitol.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:17pm EDT

It is electoral count voting day, and members of Congress in a joint session will open and count the electoral votes and declare Joe Biden and Kamala Harris the winners of the election. It will not be without controversy, however, as members from both houses plan to object, forcing debate, and as the Proud Boys descend on Washington. In anticipation of turmoil inside and outside of the Capitol, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Lawfare senior editor Scott Anderson, Brookings and Lawfare congressional guru Molly Reynolds, and law professor and election law specialist Ned Foley of The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. They talked about what the rules are for counting electoral votes, how much latitude they have, what could really happen today and what role, if any, Mike Pence could play in the disposition of the final stage of the presidential election.

Direct download: Counting_the_Electoral_Votes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Jack Goldsmith sat down with Margaret Love, the United States Pardon Attorney in the Justice Department from 1990 to 1997. They discussed Donald Trump's very controversial pattern of pardons and commutations, Trump's circumvention of the traditional pardon attorney process and the historical operation of that process prior to Trump. They also discussed various potential reforms of the process for determining pardons and commutations.

Direct download: The_Role_of_the_Pardon_Attorney.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Alexander Vindman sat down with Dr. Geoffrey Gresh to discuss his new book, "To Rule Eurasia's Waves: The New Great Power Competition at Sea." Dr. Gresh is a professor of International Security Studies at the College of International Security Affairs (CISA) at the National Defense University in Washington D.C., with a primary research focus on maritime affairs. He has also served as the chair of the Department of International Security Studies and as CSIA's director for the South and Central Asia Security Studies program. They discussed Russia's, China's and India's interests in their near-seas competition cooperation and the implications of great power competition for U.S. policy.

The views expressed by Dr. Gresh in this episode do not represent the U.S. government, the Department of Defense or National Defense University.

Direct download: To_Rule_Eurasias_Waves.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

It is the last podcast of the year, and we are giving 2020 an appropriate send-off. Benjamin Wittes sat down with Lawfare executive editor Susan Hennessey, managing editor Quinta Jurecic, senior editor Scott Anderson, and Lawfare contributor and law professor Alan Rozenshtein to talk about the worst stories of the year, as well as their expectations and predictions for the coming year.

Direct download: Bye_Bye_2020.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Bob Bauer is a former White House counsel, and he has been leading the legal response for the Biden campaign and transition to the unprecedented onslaught of efforts on the part of the president to overturn the 2020 election. He also recently wrote a piece for Lawfare on the current occupant of the White House counsel's office, Pat Cipollone, and how he should be handling the incredibly difficult position the president has put him in. Benjamin Wittes spoke with Bob about the article, the role of the White House counsel when the president is trying to overturn a democratic election, and the spate of pardons the White House has issued over the last few weeks.

Direct download: Bob_Bauer_on_the_White_House_Counsel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

It's the end of the year, and that means we opened the phones for the annual "Ask Us Anything" edition. You called in with your questions, which we routed to Lawfare contributors for their answers. Benjamin Wittes, Molly Reynolds, Steve Vladeck, David Priess, Susan Hennessey, Scott Anderson, Judd Devermont and Rohini Kurup responded to questions on everything from pardons to prosecuting contractors to ethnic diversity at Lawfare.

Thank you for your questions. And as always, thank you for listening.

Direct download: Ask_Us_Anything.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

It’s not something that has gotten a lot of attention amid a busy U.S. news cycle, but much has been happening in Ethiopia over the past two months. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who just last year won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to bring unity between Ethiopia and neighboring Eritrea, led a military battle against domestic forces in the northern Ethiopian region of Tigray. The fighting has caused the significant displacement of people living in the region and has involved reports of atrocities. In early December, the Prime Minister claimed victory, but concerns remain about how long tensions will endure—or at least continue to simmer. It’s a complicated situation with major implications for stability in the East Africa and Horn of Africa region. To break it all down, Jacob Schulz talked with two different experts. First, to get a sense of what’s going on and how we got to this point, he spoke with Emmanuel Igunza, a reporter in East Africa for BBC News; then, he spoke with Beza Tesfaye, the director of research and learning for migration at Mercy Corps, about the humanitarian problems implicated by the crisis.

Direct download: Conflict_in_Ethiopia.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital technology was touted as a potential savior. In particular, there was a burst of enthusiasm around so-called digital contact tracing apps, which would track people's movements and interactions and notify them if they had been exposed to COVID. Apple and Google, which together control the operating systems for virtually the entire smartphone market, joined forces and created a standard to help researchers, private entities and governments create contact tracing apps. But despite the early hype, enthusiasm about these apps quickly fizzled, and even today, they remain underdeveloped and rarely used. As part of Lawfare's ongoing Digital Social Contract research paper series, law professors Jane Bambauer from the University of Arizona and Brian Ray from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, published a paper titled, "COVID-19 Apps Are Terrible—They Didn't Have to Be." Alan Rozenshtein sat down with Jane and Brian to talk about why contact tracing never played more than a marginal role in managing the pandemic.


The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has been conducting and regulating signals intelligence, SIGINT, since before the United States was born. To talk about how they do it across the pond, David Kris sat down with two experts on UK SIGINT and SIGINT regulation: Michael Drury and Tony Comer, both veterans of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the British counterpart to our own National Security Agency. Michael was GCHQ's first full-time legal advisor from 1996 to 2010, when he joined the private sector, and Tony was GCHQ's historian until his retirement earlier this year. They compared and contrasted the U.S. and UK experience with SIGINT, SIGINT regulation, popular support for SIGINT and intelligence in general, and also some cutting-edge issues, including how SIGINT works today, synergies between SIGINT and cyber, GDPR encryption and online harms.

Direct download: SIGINT_in_the_UK.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Jasmine El-Gamal is a nonresident senior fellow with the Middle East program at the Atlantic Council. Between 2008 and 2015, she served as a Middle East advisor in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and as a special assistant to three undersecretaries of defense for policy. She is the author of a recent article in Newlines magazine entitled, "Lost and Found in Guantanamo Bay: Two encounters with two different men in the most notorious detention facility in the world shaped my faith – and my life – forever." She joined Benjamin Wittes to talk about the article, how she ended up as a young woman as a translator at Guantanamo and in Iraq, what she's done since, and how the experience of Guantanamo shaped her later policy career, as well as her view of America, Islam and counterterrorism.

Direct download: Jasmine_El-Gamal_on_What_She_Lost_and_Found_at_Guantanamo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

This week on Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Jaime Longoria, an investigative researcher at First Draft, who monitors information disorder in Latino or Latinx communities in the United States and in Latin America. In the run-up to the 2020 U.S. election, there was an explosion of press stories about mis- and dis-information in Spanish-speaking communities. But this is hardly a new phenomenon. They talked with Jaime about the long-standing and ongoing information disorder in these communities, how it is or isn’t distinctive, why it tends to go under the radar in public conversation and what can be done about it.

Direct download: No_One_Expects_the_Spanish_Disinformation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

It is two days after the Electoral College has met in 50 state capitals, voted and given 306 electoral votes to Joe Biden, making him the next president of the United States. Or did it? There is talk of a kind of electoral Alamo wherein a final showdown takes place over the counting of those electoral votes come January 6 when Congress meets in a joint session to receive the votes of the state electors. To discuss what happened this week, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Molly Reynolds, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Scott R. Anderson, Lawfare senior editor and fellow at the Brookings Institution. They talked about whether the election is actually over, or if we are heading toward some kind of final cataclysm where the forces of Trumpism take on the last stage of the electoral process.

Direct download: Its_Over_or_Is_It.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Alan Rozenshtein sat down with Yaya Fanusie, a former CIA analyst and an expert on the national security implications of cryptocurrencies, who recently published a paper as part of Lawfare's ongoing Digital Social Contract research paper series, entitled, "Central Bank Digital Currencies: The Threat From Money Launderers and How to Stop Them." They talked about how central banks are exploring digital currencies, how those currencies might in turn be used by criminals and terrorist groups, and how governments and the private sector should respond.

Direct download: Yaya_Fanusie_on_Central_Bank_Digital_Currencies-2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

In the first part of this episode, Jordan Schneider, the host of ChinaTalk, sat down with Yun Jiang, a former Australian government official and an editor at the Australian National University's China Story blog, for a deep dive into the Australia-China relationship, providing much needed context on why tension has boiled over in recent months. In the second part, we excerpt a conversation that Jordan had with Wendy Cutler, a long-time USTR official and current vice president and managing director of the Asia Society Policy Institute. They talked about how the Biden administration could address China on trade, and she offers her take on Yun and Jordan's policy proposals for shoring up Australia.

Direct download: China-Australia_Relations.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

This week, the Supreme Court returned once again to the complex and sometimes controversial Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, or FSIA, that protects foreign sovereigns from litigation before U.S. courts. At the same time, Congress is once again debating new exceptions to the protections provided by the FSIA on issues ranging from cybercrime to the coronavirus pandemic, an effort that may risk violating international law and exposing the United States to similar lawsuits overseas. To discuss these developments and where they may be headed, Scott R. Anderson sat down with two leading scholars on sovereign immunity issues: Chimène Keitner, a professor at the UC Hastings School of Law and a former counselor on international law at the U.S. State Department, and Ingrid Wuerth, a professor at Vanderbilt University Law School and one of the reporters for the American Law Institute's Fourth Restatement on U.S. foreign relations law.

Direct download: The_Past_Present_and_Future_of_Sovereign_Immunity.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

This week on Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Claire Wardle, the co-founder and leader of the nonprofit organization First Draft and a research fellow at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center. First Draft recently released a report on the information environment around the development of vaccines for COVID-19, and Claire talked about what she and her team found in terms of online discussion of the vaccine in English, Spanish and French. What kinds of misinformation should we be ready for as vaccines begin to be administered across the world? Why might fact-checking and labeling by platforms not be effective in countering that misinformation? And why is Claire still pessimistic about the progress that platforms and researchers have made in countering dis- and misinformation over the last four years?

Direct download: The_Vaccine_Misinformation_Cometh.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

President-elect Joe Biden has selected a new defense secretary, retired general Lloyd Austin, former commander of Central Command. The selection has received somewhat mixed reviews, and to discuss why, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Brookings senior fellow Mike O'Hanlon, a defense policy analyst, and Kori Schake, the head of defense and foreign policy at the American Enterprise Institute. They talked about why people are upset about General Austin's nomination, his background, the experience he has and doesn't have, who would have been a better choice and whether it matters that this is the second administration in a row that begins by putting a retired general at the head of the Pentagon.

Direct download: General_Austin_as_Secretary_of_Defense.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

On Monday, Lawfare released the first paper in its "The Digital Social Contract" paper series. For each paper, Alan Rozenshtein will be doing a podcast interview with the author, and the first guest is law professor Kyle Langvardt of the University of Nebraska College of Law. His paper, "Platform Speech Governance and the First Amendment: A User-Centered Approach," examines how the First Amendment should and should not apply to the content moderation decisions of major internet platforms. Plus, Alan and Benjamin Wittes have a brief discussion to introduce the paper series as a whole.

Direct download: Kyle_Langvardt_on_Platform_Speech_and_the_First_Amendment.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Jack Goldsmith spoke with Adam Cox and Christina Rodríguez, the authors of "The President and Immigration Law," a new book about the historical rise and operation of a president-dominated immigration system. They discussed the various ways that Congress has delegated extraordinary power over immigration to the president, how what the authors call "de facto delegation" confers massive presidential enforcement discretion that is the basis for programs like the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and the benefits, costs and legal limits of this system. They also discussed what President Donald Trump accomplished with his immigration program during his term in office and President-elect Biden's possible immigration agenda.

Direct download: Cristina_Rodriguez_and_Adam_Cox_on_The_President_and_Immigration_Law.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

In a ruling late in the night, the day before Thanksgiving, the Supreme Court issued a preliminary injunction against Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York, preventing him from imposing restrictions on how many people could attend houses of worship—restrictions that Governor Cuomo defended as necessary to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. In a lawsuit brought by a Catholic Diocese and an organization of Orthodox Jews, a majority of the Court held that the occupancy restrictions had a high likelihood of violating the free exercise of religion as protected by the First Amendment. To help explain that decision and to discuss its implications for future public health responses to COVID, Alan Rozenshtein spoke with law professors Lindsay Wiley of American University and Josh Blackman of the South Texas College of Law.

Direct download: Diocese_v_Cuomo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

On this episode of Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on platforms and disinformation, Quinta Jurecic spoke with Alina Polyakova and Ambassador Daniel Fried, the former U.S. ambassador to Poland and the Weiser Family Distinguished Fellow at the Atlantic Council. The two have a new paper out on “Democratic Offense Against Disinformation,” published by the Atlantic Council and the Center for European Policy Analysis. They have written previously on how democracies can defend themselves against disinformation and misinformation from abroad, but this time, they turned their attention to what it would mean for democracies to take the initiative against foreign purveyors of disinformation, rather than just playing defense.

So how effective are democracies at countering disinformation? What tools are available if they want to play offense? And is it even possible to do so without borrowing tactics from the same authoritarian regimes that democracies seek to counter?

Direct download: Can_Democracies_Play_Offense_on_Disinformation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

The top Iranian nuclear scientist has been killed, apparently in an Israeli strike. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who has long been the mastermind of the Iranian nuclear program, was gunned down in an attack with a remote control machine gun. Iranian reprisals are expected, although their timing and nature is not clear. It also puts the incoming Biden administration, which is looking to bring back the Iran nuclear deal, in a bit of a pickle.

To chew it all over, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Scott R. Anderson, international law specialist and Lawfare senior editor; Suzanne Maloney, the vice president and director of the Foreign Policy Program at the Brookings Institution and an Iran scholar; and Natan Sachs, director of the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings where he focuses on Israeli policy. They talked about why the Israelis would conduct this operation, how effective its killing of Iranian nuclear scientists has been, whether any of it is legal and what it means for the future of U.S.-Iran relations.

Direct download: An_Assassination_in_Iran.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

“American companies are in a bind.” So argue Bill Priestap and Holden Triplett, who have written a series of articles for Lawfare making the case that more and more state intelligence agencies are turning their attention to private businesses, using the tools of espionage in order to build their own economic power. Both writers are speaking from experience: Priestap ran the FBI’s counterintelligence division from 2015 to 2018, and Triplett led the FBI office in Beijing from 2014 to 2017 and was deputy head of the FBI office in Moscow from 2012 to 2014. Quinta Jurecic sat down with them to discuss why countries have started to use their intelligence services in this way, what dangers this creates for American businesses and why counterintelligence risks are hard to intuitively understand.

Direct download: Why_Businesses_Need_to_Take_Espionage_Seriously.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Jordan Schneider, the host of the ChinaTalk podcast, sat down with H. R. McMaster, President Trump's former national security advisor. They talked about his time in government; the origins of the 2017 national security strategy, which focused the U.S. government on China; how he thinks history is best applied to policymaking; and even why he considers himself to be the funkiest NSA in U.S. history.

Direct download: HR_McMaster_on_China.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

On this episode of Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on platforms and disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Nick Rasmussen, the Executive Director of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (also known as GIFCT). The GIFCT is an organization working to facilitate cross-industry efforts to counter the spread of terrorist and violent extremist content online. It was founded in 2017 by four platforms, but is now transitioning to a new life as an independent organization, which Nick is heading up.

Online violent extremism is one of the most difficult problems of the internet age, and collaboration between companies and governments may be the only way to effectively tackle it. But how can the GIFCT balance this with the need to respect legitimate free speech concerns? How is Nick thinking about the transparency and accountability problems that such collaboration might exacerbate? And why might the GIFCT be one of the most important institutions for the future of online free speech?

Direct download: Collaborating_to_Counter_Violent_Extremism_Online.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

We have a new president-elect here in the United States, which means changes to certain U.S. domestic policies and also a different way of doing foreign policy. So, what does Biden’s win mean for different countries and regions globally? Jacob Schulz brings you dispatches from around the world about the effects of Biden’s win with Boris Ruge on Germany and the EU, Alina Polyakova on Russia and Ukraine, Emmanuel Igunza on East Africa and the Horn of Africa, Ambassador Antonio Garza on Mexico, Tanvi Madan on India, Sophia Yan on China, Ben Hubbard on Saudi Arabia, Rasha Al Aqeedi on Iraq, Daniel Reisner on Israel and Kemal Kirişci on Turkey.

Direct download: Biden_Victory_Around_the_World.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next » 9