National Security & Law Task Force

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Analysis and Commentary

No New Torture Probes

by Jack Goldsmithvia Washington Post
Wednesday, November 26, 2008

There has been much speculation about how the Obama administration will deal with what many view as the Bush administration's harsh, abusive and illegal interrogation program...

Jack Goldsmith

Does Europe Believe in International Law?

by Jack Goldsmith, Eric Posnervia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, November 25, 2008

American politicians frequently express their skepticism about international law, while European politicians loudly proclaim its central role in their value systems, even when they are defying it.

Police and National Security: American Local Law Enforcement and Counter-Terrorism after 9/11

by Matthew Waxmanvia Journal of National Security Law & Policy, Vol. 3, p. 377, 2009
Friday, November 21, 2008
What makes the issue of American policing and national security so interesting and complex is the decentralized and localized nature of most law enforcement in the United States. These attributes give rise to three challenges for policing and national security. First, the decentralized and localized nature of American policing creates enormous organizational problems in coordinating national security activities, and combating terrorism in particular. Second, the counter-terrorism agenda may influence or disrupt systems and patterns of political accountability of local police agencies. Third, some of the same attributes of local policing that makes it a useful counter-terrorism tool also create difficulties in effectively carrying out more traditional functions.

Can Courts Be 'Trusted' in National Security Crises

by Matthew Waxmanvia Foundation for Law, Justice & Society, affiliated with Oxford University
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Since the birth of the United States, presidents have asserted greater powers at the short-term expense of liberty during crises, especially in times of war. Sometimes these expanded powers, such as authority to use military force, to monitor suspected groups, to arrest or deport, have come from Congress, and sometimes they have been assertedunilaterally. Events since the September 2001 terrorist attacks followed this familiar pattern. Congress passed several statutes, such as the USA PATRIOT Act, expanding and clarifying law enforcement and domestic intelligence powers. The Bush administration asserted as a matter of ’inherent‘ executive wartime authority additional powers, including the power to monitor domestic communications and to detain and interrogate certain suspected terrorists, beyond court (or public) scrutiny.

Suppose We Caught Bin Laden . . . Then What?

by Benjamin Wittesvia Hoover Digest
Sunday, October 12, 2008

Seven years after 9/11, the legal aspects of the war on terrorism remain a mess. The next commander in chief must clean it up quickly. By Benjamin Wittes.

Memo to the Next President

by Jack Goldsmithvia Hoover Digest
Sunday, October 12, 2008

Soft power in the war on terror needs to be much more effective. How to sharpen one of the most important soft weapons: the law. By Jack Goldsmith.

Supreme Court Justice Kennedy is the swing vote

Power Misdirected

by Peter Berkowitzvia Hoover Digest
Sunday, October 12, 2008

Did the Boumediene decision represent a victory for separation of powers? Hardly, despite what the Supreme Court majority claimed. Instead, it was judicial overreach. By Peter Berkowitz.

One Side Only

by Benjamin Wittesvia Policy Review
Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Benjamin Wittes on The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals by Jane Mayer

In the News

Seven Years Later: Complacency

by Benjamin Wittesvia New Republic
Thursday, September 11, 2008

America has grown complacent, and how could it have done otherwise?...

Analysis and Commentary

The Seventh Anniversary

by Ruth Wedgwoodvia Forbes
Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tomorrow, we will stop--again--to wonder why we lost 3,000 people to al-Qaida's acts of terrorist violence...


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.