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Analysis and Commentary

The Sony Hack: Attribution Problems, and the Connection to Domestic Surveillance

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Friday, December 19, 2014

The FBI said today of the Sony hack:

Analysis and Commentary

Thoughts on the SSCI Report, Part II: The Program’s Brutality

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Friday, December 19, 2014

I want to begin my review of the SSCI interrogation report and the responses from the CIA and the SSCI minority by addressing the area in which, in my view, the majority report is strongest: the allegation that the treatment of detainees was far more abusive, far less controlled, and far more brutal than the CIA has acknowledged.

Analysis and Commentary

A Coffee Shop on the Israeli-Al Qaeda Border

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The last time I was on the Israeli-Syrian border looking at the ruined Syrian city of Quneitra was thirty years ago. I was fifteen and taking a summer course in Israel. 

Analysis and Commentary

The Heroism Of Effective Logistics: A Dispatch From Kerem Shalom

by Matthew Waxman, Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Tuesday, December 16, 2014

We witnessed a moving scene today—if the loading and unloading of trucks amid looming concrete security barriers can ever really be moving: A major joint Palestinian-Israeli operation to route goods into the Gaza Strip.

CIA Headquarters
Analysis and Commentary

Thoughts on the SSCI Report, Part I: Introduction and Overview

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Monday, December 15, 2014

I have now spent enough quality time with the SSCI interrogation report—and with minority views and the CIA response—that I am ready to begin commenting upon it.

Analysis and Commentary

Lawfare Podcast, Episode #103: Mieke Eoyang on FAA Exclusivity

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Saturday, December 13, 2014

A few weeks ago, Mieke Eoyang wrote and post on Lawfare entitled “A Modest Proposal: FAA Exclusivity for Collection Involving U.S. Technology Companies.” Mieke is a long-time congressional staffer on national security matters, who served a stint on the House Intelligence Committee during the drafting of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) and now runs national security programming at Third Way—a centrist Democratic think thank.

Analysis and Commentary

The Onion’s Minotaur Video

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Friday, December 12, 2014

No news source in any medium captures the CIA interrogation debate more fully than this video from the Onion, which bears reposting this week:

US Capitol
Analysis and Commentary

The SFRC Vote On The Menendez AUMF

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Friday, December 12, 2014

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 10-8 yesterday to approve Senator Menendez’s draft AUMF for ISIL.  As endorsed by the Committee, the bill:

Capitol Building
Analysis and Commentary

A Few Thoughts on Yesterday’s AUMF Hearing

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Jack aptly stated earlier today many of my thoughts on yesterday’s hearing on an Islamic State AUMF—at which Secretary of State John Kerry testified. In particular, he highlighted the broad authorization the administration is seeking—one with few of the sort of accountability mechanisms Jack, Matt, Bobby and I have suggested.

Analysis and Commentary

The Forthcoming SSCI Report: Preemptive Commentary and What to Expect on Lawfare

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA’s interrogation program is expected out today, but unsurprisingly, many people aren’t bothering to wait for it, the minority views, or the CIA’s response before commenting breathlessly on it. After all, actually reading it will be time consuming. Between all three documents, it’s many hundreds of pages.


The Hoover Institution Jean Perkins National Security & Law Task Force is no longer active as of August 31, 2015. This page will not be updated with future posts.

The Briefing

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

Lawfare Blog

Tad and Dianne Taube Senior Fellow
Senior Fellow

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.