National Security & Law Task Force

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Quick Thoughts on the (Domestic) Legal Basis for Air Strikes in Iraq

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Thursday, August 7, 2014

As Wells notes, the Obama administration is contemplating air strikes in Iraq to protect threatened religious minorities there. Setting aside the moral and strategic merits of such strikes, how might they be consistent with domestic law?

African Pictorial Collection, Box 2, Hoover Institution Archives.
Featured Commentary

What Libya Says About Intervention

by Matthew Waxmanvia Global Public Square (CNN)
Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Last month, American diplomats and Marines were evacuated from Tripoli. The 2011 international coalition intervention in Libya was supposed to be a step forward for the Responsibility to Protect doctrine – the notion that if a state fails to protect its citizens from mass atrocities, it becomes the international community's responsibility to do so. Tragically, the current collapse of governance and bloody infighting among factional militias there will instead result in a step backwards for this important principle.

CIA Headquarters

On the CIA Inspector General’s Findings

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Friday, August 1, 2014

I have largely refrained, until now, from wading into the dispute between the Senate Intelligence Committee and the CIA over the mutual hacking allegations, on the theory that the facts were all contested and I couldn’t make heads or tails of what had really happened.


Why Indictments Won’t Stop China’s Cybersnooping

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Chinese government and its proxies have recently ratcheted up harassment of U.S. IT firms doing business in China.  In the last week, China has deployed its antitrust laws against Qualcomm and Microsoft.  This comes on the heels of recent attacks in China on Apple and Cisco and IBM.  China has also increased its harassment of non-IT U.S. firms.


Shooting in the Air

by Ruth Wedgwoodvia American Interest
Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Russia’s operatives could be taken to the International Criminal Court for their role in the downing of flight MH17 over Ukraine. Even ICC skeptics in America ought to be open to this approach.

Global Puzzle Pieces

Philip Bobbitt: This crisis is the crucial test of the new world order

by Philip Bobbittvia London Evening Standard
Monday, July 21, 2014

Only by sticking to an international framework of agreed rules can we ensure peace among today’s great powers. The terrible events in Ukraine, electrified by the interception and destruction of a Malaysian passenger plane, should be a thunderclap, shaking us from our torpor and confusion.

Smartphone Image

Edward Snowden: Civil Liberties Violator

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A government contractor steals tens of thousands of highly-sensitive communications intercepts. The communications have national security implications, yes, but put that aside for now. They also involve the most intimate details of the lives of thousands of people: their love letters, their pictures of their kids, their pictures of themselves in lingerie, records reflecting their domestic and professional struggles.

Privacy, Security, and the National Security Agency (NSA)

Thoughts on Edward Snowden’s Interview

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Thursday, May 29, 2014

Let’s give Edward Snowden his due: He did himself a lot of good in his interview with NBC’s Brian Williams, which aired last night. He presents well, coming across as earnest, thoughtful and intelligent.

The White House

More on the Administration’s AUMF Strategy

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Thursday, May 22, 2014

A friend who is familiar with Obama administration thinking responds to my post on yesterday’s AUMF hearing:

Privacy, Security, and the National Security Agency (NSA)

The U.S. Corporate Theft Principle

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Wednesday, May 21, 2014

David Sanger’s piece in this morning’s NYT explores the USG’s attempts to justify cracking down on cyber-theft of intellectual property of U.S. firms while at the same time continuing to spy on non-U.S. firms for different purposes. 


The Briefing

The Briefing provides perspectives on national security under the auspices of the rule of law and US constitutional law.

Lawfare Blog

The National Security and Law Task Force examines the rule of law, the laws of war, and American constitutional law with a view to making proposals that strike an optimal balance between individual freedom and the vigorous defense of the nation against terrorists both abroad and at home.

The task force’s focus is the rule of law and its role in Western civilization, as well as the roles of international law and organizations, the laws of war, and U.S. criminal law. Those goals will be accomplished by systematically studying the constellation of issues—social, economic, and political—on which striking a balance depends.

Peter Berkowitz serves as chair of the National Security and Law Task Force.