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Featured Commentary

What Should America Do With Guantanamo’s High-risk Detainees?

by Jane Harman, Jack Goldsmithvia Washington Post
Friday, February 6, 2015

In his State of the Union address last month, President Obama reiterated his determination to shut down the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Some in Congress are resolved to stop him. Even Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who has supported closing the prison in the past, joined a recent congressional effort to slow releases from Guantanamo on the grounds that the president has never presented Congress with a “concrete or coherent plan.”

Capitol Building
Blogs

The Administration’s Guantanamo Testimony Yesterday

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Friday, February 6, 2015

Here it is, given by Brian McKeon, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, before the Senate Armed Services Committee. And here’s the video of yesterday’s hearing:

Blogs

The Intercept, SecureDrop, And Foreign Intelligence Services: A Response

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Thursday, February 5, 2015

Those readers who do not spend a lot of time on Twitter may have missed the beating Ben has been taking there for this post last week suggesting that the folks at The Intercept may be overestimating their security capabilities relative to the offensive capabilities of nation state intelligence services.

George W. Bush
Blogs

The Bush Administration Wanted To Close GTMO Because (In Part) Of Its Propaganda Value To Jihadists

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Thursday, February 5, 2015

Senator Tom Cotton, whom I like, doesn’t support the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention center.  As the SASC hearing today he said of the Guantanamo detainees, “every last one of them can rot in hell, but since they don’t do that, they can rot in Guantanamo Bay.”   Senator Cotton served in the U.S. Army for five years and is entitled to his opinion.

Blogs

The Legal Basis For The Mughniyah Killing

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Washington Post and Newsweek report that the CIA in 2008 worked with Israel’s Mossad to kill Imad Mughniyah, Hezbollah’s operations chief, in Damascus, Syria. 

Blogs

Rational Security, Episode #4: “The Cold War is Hot”

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Thursday, January 29, 2015

The fourth episode of Rational Security, the new podcast Shane Harris is doing with me and Tamara Cofman Wittes, is now out. In it, we discuss the Russian spy ring broken up this week, the drone crashes on the White House grounds and along the U.S.-Mexico border, and the link between autocracy and terrorism.

Blogs

The Intercept’s Invitation To Criminality—And To Intelligence Agencies

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Intercept posted an interesting document yesterday designed to help a certain class of would-be-criminals—leakers of classified information—but which will, I would imagine, interest a different group of people too.

Blogs

A Speech by General Hayden

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Events which took place at a Washington and Lee School of Law symposium on “Cybersurveillance in the Post-Snowden Age” include a speech by General Michael Hayden about NSA and surveillance matters.

an image
Blogs

Did The Secret Service Watch The Lawfare Drone Smackdown?

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Over at Defense One, Patrick Tucker has an interesting article headlined: “Did the White House Use Drone Killing Technology?”

Blogs

A Reply to Steve Vladeck and Raha Wala

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Monday, January 26, 2015

Both Steve Vladeck and Raha Wala have penned responses to my post of last week complaining of the quality of the “Close Guantanamo” debate. I will react very briefly to each.

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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.