Jack Goldsmith

Senior Fellow

Jack Goldsmith is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Henry L. Shattuck Professor of Law at Harvard University. From 2003 to 2004, he served as the assistant attorney general, Office of Legal Counsel; from 2002 to 2003 he served as the special counsel to the general counsel of the Department of Defense. Goldsmith also taught at the University of Chicago Law School from 1997 to 2002 and at the University of Virginia Law School from 1994 to 1997.

In his academic work, Goldsmith has written widely on issues related to national security law, presidential power, international law, and Internet regulation. His books include Power and Constraint: The Accountable Presidency after 9/11 (2012), The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment inside the Bush Administration (2009), Who Controls the Internet: Illusions of a Borderless World (with Tim Wu) (2006), and The Limits of International Law (with Eric Posner) (2005). He blogs on national security matters at the Lawfare blog,and on issues of labor law and policy at the On Labor blog.

Goldsmith is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He holds a JD from Yale Law School, a BA and an MA from Oxford University, and a BA from Washington & Lee University. He clerked for Supreme Court justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Court of Appeals judge J. Harvie Wilkinson, and Judge George Aldrich on the Iran-US Claims Tribunal.

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Recent Commentary


Journalism In The Doxing Era: Is Wikileaks Different From The New York Times?

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Monday, January 16, 2017

The question is provocative, but the answer is hard. The reaction to WikiLeaks’ publication of the fruits of Russia’s DNC hack raises many puzzles about how we should think about publication of truthful secret information that touches on public affairs.


Contrarian Thoughts On Russia And The Presidential Election

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Tuesday, January 10, 2017

“We assess Moscow will apply lessons learned from its campaign aimed at the U.S. presidential election to future influence efforts in the United States,” says the U.S. intelligence community in the most important sentence in its dismayingly evidence-free report on Russian activities in the presidential election. But how is the United States going to check these future influence efforts?

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The Drone Memos

by Jack Goldsmith, Jameel Jaffervia Lawfare
Monday, January 9, 2017

The Hoover Institution hosted "The Drone Memos" on Monday, January 9, 2017 from 5:00pm - 7:00pm EST.

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Company Confessions: Secrets, Memoirs, And The CIA

by Jack Goldsmith, Christopher Moranvia Lawfare
Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Hoover Institution hosts "Company Confessions: Secrets, Memoirs, and the CIA" on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 from 5:00pm - 7:00pm EST. 

Analysis and Commentary

Senator Kaine On The Forever War

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Saturday, December 3, 2016

Last Wednesday, Senator Tim Kaine devoted his first Senate speech since the election to the AUMF and the war against ISIL. The occasion for the speech was the death Naval CPO Scott Dayton, a Virginian who was killed on Thanksgiving day while disposing of bombs near Raqqa, Syria as part of Operation Inherent Resolve (the operation against the Islamic State).


Libertarian Panic, Unlawful Action, And The Trump Presidency

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Since Donald Trump’s election two weeks ago, we have witnessed—on the pages of Lawfare, and throughout mainstream and social media—what my colleague Adrian Vermeule once described as “libertarian panic.” 

Analysis and Commentary

The Attorney General’s Role In The Clinton Email Mess

by Jack Goldsmith, Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Monday, October 31, 2016

Over the last 48 hours, a parade of former senior Justice Department officials of both parties have written op-eds or given interviews slamming FBI Director James Comey for his action last week on the Clinton email matter.

Analysis and Commentary

This Is What The FBI Director Needs To Do Now About Hillary Clinton Emails

by Jack Goldsmith, Benjamin Wittesvia Time Magazine
Saturday, October 29, 2016

If there is more that James Comey can say to the American public, he should do so.


James Comey, Hillary Clinton, And The Email Investigation: A Guide For The Perplexed

by Jack Goldsmith, Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Saturday, October 29, 2016

Yesterday, FBI Director James Comey threw the presidential election campaign into turmoil with a letter to Congress declaring that the Clinton email matter was, perhaps, not entirely done after all.


How Snowden Smartened Up Our Spying

by Jack Goldsmithvia Newsweek
Friday, October 28, 2016

Three years ago, the Guardian published the first story based on the huge archive of documents Edward Snowden stole from the National Security Agency while working as an NSA contractor.