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

Seven National Security And Executive Power Questions For Donald Trump

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Sunday, September 25, 2016

The first of the presidential debates takes place tomorrow evening. Last week, I found myself in Las Vegas, giving a pair of addresses on the election, national security, and the challenge of Donald Trump.

Analysis and Commentary

Rational Security: The "What Candy Are You?" Edition

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Thursday, September 22, 2016

I'm off in Las Vegas this week, but it turns out that Rational Security does need me. The gang discusses how the bombings in New York and New Jersey have fixed us again on the threat of lone wolf terrorists.

Analysis and Commentary

In Defense Of The Washington Post's Much Maligned Snowden Editorial

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

To see the Snowdenistas and many media elites clutching for their smelling salts, you’d think my former colleagues at the Washington Post editorial page had stabbed Edward Snowden in the back after swearing a blood oath to protect him to Bart Gellman and the Post’s news team.

Analysis and Commentary

No Pardon For Snowden But A Commutation For Chelsea Manning

by Susan Hennessey, Benjamin Wittesquoting Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Monday, September 19, 2016

Let’s start with an obvious point: As Jack Goldsmith pointed out last week, President Obama is not going to pardon Edward Snowden. It’s just not going to happen. Period. And everyone involved in the campaign for a pardon for the Moscow-based fugitive is fully aware there is no hope it will come to fruition.

Analysis and Commentary

Rational Security: The "Walking Pneumonia" Edition

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Thursday, September 15, 2016

How much medical history should presidential candidates disclose? Activists launch a new campaign to pardon Edward Snowden, just in time for the launch of a biopic on the world’s most famous leaker.

Analysis and Commentary

In Defense Of Jim Comey: Politico's Bizarrely Shoddy Attack On The FBI Director

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Wednesday, September 14, 2016

An astonishingly bad piece appeared in Politico this week under an admittedly arresting headline: “The Case Against James Comey: Not Since Hoover Has an FBI Director Shown Such a Lack of Accountability.”

Analysis and Commentary

Livestream Of "The National Security Division At 10: Past, Present, And Future"

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A major event on ten years of the Justice Department's National Security Division is taking place at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

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Rational Security, The "Too Soon For Mattress Sales" Edition

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Saturday, September 10, 2016
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump spar over who’d be the better commander-in-chief. The FBI releases its report on Clinton’s email server. And what has changed, and what hasn’t, since 9/11?
Analysis and Commentary

Get Yer "Commander In Chief Forum" Video Here

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Thursday, September 8, 2016

This candidate forum with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on national security issues took place last night on NBC. It includes questions to both candidates from an audience of veterans.

Analysis and Commentary

My Electoral Forecast Model

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Sunday, September 4, 2016

Okay, this has nothing to do with national security law or policy. What's more, this is way, way outside my area of expertise. But I have this feeling that this may be of interest to some Lawfare readers, so I'm going to post it to this site once and then never mention it here again: I've developed a super-crude electoral forecast model.

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