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.

Filter By:

Topic

Type

Recent Commentary

To Understand Russian Election Interference, Start with This Movie About Doping

by Benjamin Wittes
Wednesday, August 9, 2017

In 2014, an amateur cyclist named Bryan Fogel had an eccentric idea for a film: He had just participated in a prestigious and grueling alpine stage race called the Haute Route in the Alps and had finished in 14th place. He decided to spend the next year not just training, but also doping. He meant to come back and run the race again the following year. He meant to not get caught for the doping. He expected the doping would vault him into the group of elite leaders who had finished above him.

In the News

Announcing A New Partnership With Foreign Policy

by Benjamin Wittes, Susan Hennesseyvia Lawfare
Thursday, July 6, 2017

We are excited to announce a new partnership between Lawfare and Foreign Policy magazine. 

Russian Presidential Press Office
Analysis and Commentary

Rational Security: The "Guns And Smoke" Edition

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Thursday, July 6, 2017

The first signs of potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia emerge. State Department employees say they’re uncertain about the future of their work under the Trump administration. And the president is facing a crisis in North Korea as he prepares to meet with world leaders, including Vladimir Putin. 

If Donald Trump Is A Crook, What Kind Is He?

by Susan Hennessey, Benjamin Wittes
Thursday, July 6, 2017

[Subscription Required] Conservatives are right that collusion with foreign spies isn’t necessarily a crime. But prosecutors have plenty of other options.

In Praise Of The Intelligence Oversight Process: Our New Anti-Populist Paper

by Jonathan Rauch, Benjamin Wittes
Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Years ago, when Lawfare was still in its infancy, the two of us made an entirely serious video (well, maybe not entirely serious) for YouTube about the emergent problem of abusive internet comments. Entitled "Comment or Vote," it proposed a constitutional amendment to deprive of the franchise anyone who left a comment on any website. 

Analysis and Commentary

If Rod Rosenstein Recuses: What Happens Next?

by Jack Goldsmith, Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Friday, June 16, 2017

ABC News is reporting that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “has privately acknowledged to colleagues that he may have to recuse himself from” his role as Acting Attorney General for the Department’s Russia Investigation. (Recall that Rosenstein assumed that role when Attorney General Sessions recused himself earlier.)

Analysis and Commentary

Updating The 2001 AUMF At Long Last? On The Flake-Kaine Bill

by Robert Chesney, Jack Goldsmith, Matthew Waxman, Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Tuesday, May 30, 2017

It is past time for Congress to update the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), explicitly authorizing the armed conflict with the Islamic State while also adding further important reforms to that foundational instrument. The bill that Senators Flake (R-AZ) and Kaine (D-VA) introduced this week would serve that purpose well.

Featured

Another Bomb Drops: Initial Thoughts On Trump Asking Comey To Kill The Flynn Investigation

by Helen Klein Murillo, Jack Goldsmith, Susan Hennessey, Quinta Jurecic, Matthew Kahn, Paul Rosenzweig, Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The New York Times is reporting that President Donald Trump asked then-FBI Director James Comey to drop the FBI’s investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. 

Analysis and Commentary

Bombshell: Initial Thoughts On The Washington Post’s Game-Changing Story

by Jack Goldsmith, Susan Hennessey, Quinta Jurecic, Matthew Kahn, Benjamin Wittes, Elishe Julian Wittesvia Lawfare
Monday, May 15, 2017

The Washington Post this afternoon published a stunning story reporting that President Trump disclosed highly-classified information to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during their visit to the Oval Office last week.

Analysis and Commentary

Partisan Political Figures Cannot Run The FBI

by Jack Goldsmith, Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Monday, May 15, 2017

Rumors are flying that Donald Trump will soon nominate a replacement for James Comey as FBI Director—perhaps even before he leaves on his foreign trip at the end of this week. It’s hard to imagine the universe of people who would both accept the nomination in the current environment and in whom the public could repose confidence in holding the job. But some of the names Trump is reportedly considering should be unacceptable per se.

Pages