Benjamin Wittes

Benjamin Wittes

Biography: 

Benjamin Wittes is a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution and codirector of the Harvard Law School–Brookings Project on Law and Security. His most recent publication is Speaking the Law (Hoover Institution Press 2013), cowritten with Kenneth Anderson. He is the author of Detention and Denial: The Case for Candor after Guantanamo, published in November 2011 by the Brookings Institution Press, and coeditor of Constitution 3.0: Freedom and Technological Change (forthcoming). He is also the author of Law and the Long War: The Future of Justice in the Age of Terror, published in June 2008 by Penguin Press, and the editor of the 2009 Brookings book Legislating the War on Terror: An Agenda for Reform. He cofounded and cowrites the Lawfare blog (http://www.lawfareblog.com/), which is devoted to nonideological discussions of hard national security choices, and is a member of the Hoover Institution's Task Force on National Security and Law.

His previous books include Starr: A Reassessment, published in 2002 by Yale University Press, and Confirmation Wars: Preserving Independent Courts in Angry Times, published in 2006 by Rowman & Littlefield and the Hoover Institution.

Between 1997 and 2006, he served as an editorial writer for the Washington Post specializing in legal affairs. Before joining the editorial-page staff of the Washington Post, Wittes covered the Justice Department and federal regulatory agencies as a reporter and news editor at Legal Times. His writing has also appeared in a wide range of journals and magazines, including the AtlanticSlate, the New Republic, the Wilson Quarterly, the Weekly StandardPolicy Review, and First Things.

Benjamin Wittes was born November 5, 1969, in Boston, Massachusetts, and graduated from Oberlin College in 1990. He has a black belt in tae kwon do.

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

Standing Confusion In Obama v. Klayman

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Monday, August 31, 2015

The D.C. Circuit has spoken in Obama v. Klayman—the constitutional challenge to the just-winding-down bulk metadata program—and it has announced its refusal to speak on the subject.

Analysis and Commentary

The Lawfare Podcast, Special Encore Performance: Bone-Crushing Zombie Action

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Saturday, August 29, 2015

In case you missed it last year, here's our special end of summer reairing of a Lawfare Podcast special edition.

US-China Relations
Analysis and Commentary

Rational Security, The "Don’t Check Your 401(k)” Edition

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Friday, August 28, 2015

This week on Rational Security: We speculate wildly on how China’s economic free fall could affect U.S. national security? What does international law have to say about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?

Analysis and Commentary

Hacking A Sniper Rifle

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Friday, August 21, 2015

This is completely alarming. From Wired a few weeks ago: PUT A COMPUTER on a sniper rifle, and it can turn the most amateur shooter into a world-class marksman.

Analysis and Commentary

What Does An Israeli Islamist Sound Like? Meet Sheikh Abdullah Nimar Darwish

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Tuesday, August 18, 2015

If you had told me a week ago that of the meetings I was going to have in Jerusalem, the one that would impress me most would be with an Islamist leader, I would have been, to say the least, skeptical. And I confess that I wasn't expecting much when Sheikh Abdullah Nimar Darwish entered the conference room in which we met last week.

Mousque of Al-aqsa in Old Town - Jerusalem, Israel
Analysis and Commentary

Strategic Jerusalem: A Tour In Photographs

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Monday, August 17, 2015

I have spent the last few days in Jerusalem, meeting with Israelis and Palestinians, mostly the latter. I will have more to say in the coming days about some of these meetings, which have been organized by Academic Exchange—one of Lawfare's partners in the Omphalos project—and the Yitzhak Rabin Center.

Analysis and Commentary

Announcing The Omphalos Middle East Journalism Program

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Friday, August 14, 2015

I'm delighted to announce a new experiment we are undertaking, along with our friends at Academic Exchange: We want to sponsor some Middle East journalism.

Analysis and Commentary

And The Winner Of Lawfare's "Most Interesting Database To Hack" Contest Is ...

by Benjamin Wittes, Paul Rosenzweigvia Lawfare
Tuesday, August 11, 2015

When we announced our contest to pick the best US database for the Chinese PLA to hack, little did we know that we would get so many interesting, and indeed scary, entries. The possibilites were so many and so varied that we decided to seek our reader input on whom we should choose as the winner. And you were interested!

Analysis and Commentary

Five Hard Encryption Questions

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Friday, August 7, 2015

Over the past few weeks, I have been up to my neck in encryption. Usually, when a public policy issue consumes me like this, it’s because I have taken a strong position on it of one sort or another—one with which people disagree—and the result is a debate.

Analysis and Commentary

Rational Security: The "Empty Chair" Edition

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Thursday, August 6, 2015

On this week's episode, Shane abandons Tamara and me and goes on vacation. His empty chair is filled by Dan Byman, who brings a large Yemeni dagger and a National Counterterrorism Center Calendar, which sparks a discussion of how to categorize terrorist acts that take place within warfare.

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