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The Week That Was: All of Lawfare in One Post

Alex R. McQuade
Saturday, May 7, 2016, 10:32 AM

Our rundown of this week's activity on Lawfare.

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A U.S. servicemember is suing President Obama over his “undeclared” war against the Islamic State. Bruce Ackerman highlighted some key points in Captain Nathan Smith’s lawsuit against President Obama. Jack Goldsmith, however, told us that he is skeptical that the lawsuit will succeed.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this week, you already know that Donald Trump became the inevitable Republican nominee for President of the United States. Carrie Cordero argued that those who care about national security simply cannot vote for Trump.

After Carrie delivered her broadside against Trump on national security grounds, Benjamin Wittes asked if anyone will make the serious national security case for voting Trump come November.

Ben also released the newest Rational Security, the “Never Say Never Trump Again” edition:

Ben also issued the latest edition of the Lawfare Podcast, highlighting Intel Security’s Chris Young on cybersecurity and a debate on using data to protect privacy.

He also posted video of the April 14th lunch event at which Young's speech took place, an event entitled, “Using Data to Secure Networks: Optimizing Individual Privacy While Achieving Security.” A few essays flowed out of that event: David Hoffman considered the link between privacy and security and the use of data to protect data and privacy. Susan Hennessey took a hypothetical on shower cameras and privacy and ran with it. Laura Donohue commented on the public v. private collection debate and observed that in the end, it all comes down to power. Daniel Weitzner analyzed facing privacy tradeoffs to restore trust and the rule of law.

Stewart Baker, meanwhile, shared the latest edition of the Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast, featuring an interview with General Michael Hayden.


Jack Goldsmith flagged a report of an “Internet of things-style surveillance network.”

Benjamin Wittes provided an update on Twitter, ISIS, civil liability, and immunity.

He also shared the video of the Fordham Law School Center on National Security’s conference, "Hindsight: Reflections On 15 Years of the War on Terror."

Heather Brandon questioned if President Obama’s targeted killing policy will indicate what “areas of active hostilities” means.

Also on targeted killings, Jack Goldsmith and Ben Wittes invited us to the next Hoover Book Soiree, featuring H. Jefferson Powell on his new book Targeting Americans: The Constitutionality of the U.S. Drone War.

Jumping over to the chaos in the Middle East, Peter Margulies commented on CENTCOM’s report on the Kunduz hospital attack, which he says “painstakingly detailed a parade of errors.”

Bruce Riedel questioned if the Binladen Group’s turmoil is a mirror of Saudi Arabia’s.

Tamara Wittes provided an overview of the threats to the Jewish state.

David Bosco flagged the U.N. Security Council members receiving a briefing on allegations against Israel.

Amira Mikhail commented on the crackdowns of free speech in Sisi’s Egypt.

In Sunday’s Foreign Policy Essay, Stephen Watts analyzed a competing risks approach to security sector assistance for fragile states.

Rachel Brand took a look at what effective intelligence oversight looks like.

John Bellinger provided some excerpts of his new article in the Washington Diplomat, entitled “Legal Minefield: Lawsuits Force Foreign Governments to Navigate U.S. Court System.”

Chris Mirasola wrote the latest edition of Water Wars, featuring how charm offensive yielded uncertain results throughout Southeast Asia.

Finally, Benjamin Wittes announced an upcoming online event to release his research on sextortion.

And that was the week that was.

Alex McQuade was a national security intern at the Brookings Institution. He recently graduated with a master’s degree in Terrorism and Homeland Security Policy from American University. Alex holds a BA in National Security Studies and Justice and Law, also from American University.

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