Jack Goldsmith

Senior Fellow
Biography: 

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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Blogs

Cyberwar, Surveillance And Security MOOC

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Thursday, May 21, 2015

The University of Adelaide has a free new MOOC called Cyberwar, Surveillance and Security that is taught by Melissa de Zwart, Dale Stephens, and Rebecca LaForgia.   The web page and registration can be found here. And here is a teaser introduction to the MOOC, which contains brief statements from some of the experts who participate, including Mike Schmitt, Renn Gade, Jonathan Zittrain, Ben Wizner, Bruce Schneier, and yours truly.  It looks like a great introduction to the topic.

Blogs

Intelligence Officials’ Unpersuasive Response To The NYT’s Identification of Three Undercover CIA Officers

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Thursday, May 14, 2015

The New York Times identified three undercover senior CIA officials in an April 25 story by Mark Mazzetti and Matt Apuzzo about oversight of the CIA’s lethal drone operations. (Background here and here.)  ODNI General Counsel Bob Litt and twenty former CIA officials, all of whom I admire, argue that the Times was wrong to do so.

Jack Goldsmith
Blogs

Jack Goldsmith's Speech At ODNI Legal Conference: “Toward Greater Transparency Of National Security Legal Work”

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Tuesday, May 12, 2015

I was honored to be invited to give a keynote speech at an Intelligence Community legal conference. The speech was entitled Toward Greater Transparency of National Security Legal Work. The main question I addressed was: “How should [the intelligence community]  think about and react to the government’s growing inability to keep secrets?”

Blogs

20 Senior CIA Officials Criticize NYT For Publishing Names Of Covert Operatives

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Monday, May 11, 2015

Twenty senior former CIA officials—including every CIA Director (including DCIs) dating back to William Webster (1987-91)—wrote a letter to the NYT to take issue with NYT Executive Editor Dean Baquet’s defense (in this interview on Lawfare) of his decision to publish the names of the three covert CIA operatives in a story a few weeks ago.

Blogs

Dean Baquet, Executive Editor Of New York Times, On Publication Decisions About Intelligence Secrets, And More

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Wednesday, April 29, 2015

On April 25, two days after President Obama announced that a U.S. drone strike accidentally killed two innocent hostages, the New York Times published a story about congressional and White House support for the CIA’s “targeted killing program.” Yesterday I discussed these issues with Dean Baquet, the Executive Editor of the Times.

Blogs

The Latest Erosion Of Norms Against Publishing Classified Information

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Director of National Intelligence General Counsel Bob Litt says the NYT “disgraced itself” by “publishing an article in which it purported to name three covert CIA officers.” The NYT explained that it decided to name these names over CIA objections “because [the men] have leadership roles in one of the government’s most significant paramilitary programs."

Blogs

Why Republicans Skeptical Of The Iran Deal Are Trying To Make It Easier For The President To Implement The Iran Deal

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Why would Republicans skeptical of the Iran deal want to remove (or prevent creation of) obstacles to the President’s implementation of the deal?  Probably because they know that, whether the Review bill passes or not, Congress ultimately cannot stop the President from implementing the deal.

Featured Commentary

The Perils Of Partial Official Acknowledgment

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Friday, April 24, 2015

Yesterday the President acknowledged that the United States inadvertently killed an American citizen and an Italian citizen held hostage by al-Qaida.  The killings, he said, took place during “a U.S. counterterrorism operation targeting an al Qaeda compound in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.”

Blogs

Another Response To Andrew Mccarthy On The Corker Bill Iran Review

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Monday, April 20, 2015

The Iran deal by itself, no matter what it says, cannot permanently lift U.S. statutory sanctions.  Only Congress can permanently change the sanctions regime.  Even if Obama agrees in the handshake deal to permanently reduce sanctions, he cannot follow through on that pledge by himself.

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