Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With
When Barack Obama came into office, the strategic landscape facing the United States in its overseas counterterrorism operations was undergoing a shift. Even before the rise of drones necessitated the articulation of legal doctrine, the Obama administration had to explain itself. In Speaking the Law, the authors offer a detailed examination of the speeches of the Obama administration on national security legal issues. Viewed together here for the first time, the authors lay out a broad array of legal and policy positions regarding a large number of principles currently contested at both the domestic and international levels. The book describes what the Obama administration has said about the legal framework in which it is operating with respect to such questions as the nature of the war on terrorism, the use of drones and targeted killings, detention, trial by military commission and in federal courts, and interrogation. The authors analyze this framework, examining the stresses on it and asking where the administration got matters right and where they were wrong. They conclude with suggestions for certain reforms to the framework for the administration and Congress to consider.