National Security, Technology & Law Working Group

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Internet Platforms: Observations on Speech, Danger, and Money

by Daphne Kellervia Aegis Paper Series
Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Policymakers increasingly ask Internet platforms like Facebook to “take responsibility” for material posted by their users. Mark Zuckerberg and other tech leaders seem willing to do so. That is in part a good development. Platforms are uniquely positioned to reduce harmful content online. But deputizing them to police users’ speech in the modern public square can also have serious unintended consequences. This piece reviews existing laws and current pressures to expand intermediaries’ liability for user-generated content. It discusses three ways that poorly designed laws can do damage—to First Amendment-protected online speech, national security, and the economy.

Featured

Strengths Become Vulnerabilities: How A Digital World Disadvantages The United States In Its International Relations

by Jack Goldsmith, Stuart Russellvia Lawfare Blog
Wednesday, June 6, 2018

We have a new essay in the Hoover Aegis series called “Strengths Become Vulnerabilities: How a Digital World Disadvantages the United States in its International Relations.”  It seeks to explain why the United States is struggling to deal with the “soft” cyber operations that have been so prevalent in recent years: cyberespionage and cybertheft, often followed by strategic publication; information operations and propaganda; and relatively low-level cyber disruptions such as denial-of-service and ransomware attacks. 

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Strengths Become Vulnerabilities

by Jack Goldsmith, Stuart Russellvia Aegis Paper Series
Tuesday, June 5, 2018

This essay seeks to explain why the United States is struggling to deal with the “soft” cyberoperations that have been so prevalent in recent years: cyberespionage and cybertheft, often followed by strategic publication; information operations and propaganda; and relatively low-level cyber disruptions such as denial-of-service and ransomware attacks. The main explanation for the struggle is that constituent elements of U.S. society—a commitment to free speech, privacy, and the rule of law, innovative technology firms, relatively unregulated markets, and deep digital sophistication—create asymmetric weaknesses that foreign adversaries, especially authoritarian ones, can exploit. We do not claim that the disadvantages of digitalization for the United States outweigh the advantages, but we present reasons for pessimism.

Analysis and Commentary

OLC’s Meaningless 'National Interests' Test For The Legality Of Presidential Uses Of Force

by Jack Goldsmith, Curtis A. Bradleyvia Lawfare
Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) published a legal opinion May 31 that explained the basis for its oral advice in April that President Trump had the authority under Article II of the Constitution to direct airstrikes against Syria. 

Analysis and Commentary

A Smorgasbord Of Views On Self-Pardoning

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Tuesday, June 5, 2018

"I have the absolute right to PARDON myself," tweeted President Trump, a few days ago. The president was presumably talking about a self-pardon for federal crimes already committed, not state crimes and not future crimes. Is he right? No president has ever tried to self-pardon and constitutional text does not speak overtly to the issue and there is no judicial precedent on point.

Featured

The New OLC Opinion On Syria Brings Obama Legal Rationales Out Of The Shadows

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Friday, June 1, 2018

There has been some heavy breathing in reaction to Steven Engel’s Office of Legal Counsel opinion released today in support of President Trump’s April 13, 2018 airstrikes in Syria. The opinion does indeed articulate an extraordinarily broad conception of the president’s authority to use military force abroad through air strikes without congressional authorization.

Analysis and Commentary

The Executive Branch's Extraordinarily Broad View Of The Presidential Pardon Power

by Maddie McMahon, Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Thursday, May 31, 2018

Article II gives the president the "Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment." There has long been speculation that President Trump may exercise this power to pardon some of the Russia investigation characters, including Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, Jared Kushner, and possibly even himself.

Featured

The Trump Administration Reaps What The Obama Administration Sowed In The Iran Deal

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The particular manner in which President Obama crafted the Iran deal paved the way for President Trump to withdraw from it.  Obama made the deal on his own presidential authority, in the face of significant domestic opposition, without seeking or receiving approval from the Senate or the Congress.

Comey On Ethical Leadership

by Jack Goldsmith
Monday, April 30, 2018

“I am reluctant to write a memoir and would rather write about leadership,” my friend Jim Comey told me in an email on June 16, 2017, about five weeks after Donald Trump fired him as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Comey was starting to focus on writing a book, and we were discussing literary agents, book-writing techniques, and the like.

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A Helsinki Conference for Asia

by Philip Bobbittvia Aegis Paper Series
Thursday, April 26, 2018

This paper proposes a comprehensive set of agreements to resolve the current crisis over North Korean nuclear capabilities. This settlement envisages a peace conference that would end the Korean War, recognize current borders as inviolate, and accord current regimes international recognition by all parties. This agreement depends upon China offering North Korea a guarantee of extended deterrence against the United States or its allies in exchange for North Korean denuclearization under stringent UN inspections.

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Aegis on Lawfare

 
Aegis explores legal and policy issues at the intersection of technology and national security.  Published in partnership with Lawfare, it features long-form essays of the working group, examines major new books in the field, and carries podcasts and videos or the working group’s events in Washington and Stanford.

Security by the Book Podcasts

The Security by the Book podcast series features monthly interviews with authors of important, new national security-oriented books and publications.

In the News

The Way Of The Strangers: Encounters With The Islamic State

Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Hoover Institution, Washington DC

The Hoover Institution hosted "The Way of the Strangers: Encounters with the Islamic State" on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 from 5:00pm - 7:00pm EST.

Event

U.S-China Relations: Cyber and Technology

Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Hoover Institution, Stanford University

The Hoover Institution’s Working Group on National Security, Technology, and Law hosted a conference on March 14-15, 2017 titled, U.S.-China Relations: Cyber and Technology, which focused on the future of conflict and cooperation between China and the United States in the realm of cyber and technology. The goal of the event was to foster a rich and wide-ranging discussion geared toward producing practical ideas and recommendations of immediate usefulness for Washington policymakers and lawmakers.

Event
In the News

Cybersecurity In The Trump Administration: What Should We Expect?

Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Hoover Institution, Washington DC

The Hoover Institution hosted "Cybersecurity in the Trump Administration: What Should We Expect?" on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 from 11:00am - 3:00pm EST. 

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In the News

How America Lost Its Secrets

Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Hoover Institution, Washington DC

The Hoover Institution hosted a discussion on "How America Lost its Secrets" with author Edward Epstein on Wednesday, February 1, 2017 from 5:00pm - 7:0pm EST. 

Event
In the News

The Drone Memos

Monday, January 9, 2017
Hoover Institution, Washington DC

The Hoover Institution hosted "The Drone Memos" on Monday, January 9, 2017 from 5:00pm - 7:00pm EST. 

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In the News

Company Confessions: Secrets, Memoirs, And The CIA

Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Hoover Institution, Washington DC

The Hoover Institution hosted "Company Confessions: Secrets, Memoirs, and the CIA" on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 from 5:00pm - 7:00pm EST. 

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In the News

Soldiers On The Homefront: The Domestic Role Of The American Military

Monday, November 14, 2016
Hoover Institution, Washington DC

The Hoover Institution hosted "Soldiers on the Homefront: The Domestic Role of the American Military" on Monday, November 14, 2016 from 5:00pm - 7:00pm. 

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In the News

The President's Book Of Secrets: The Untold Story Of Intelligence Briefings To America's Presidents From Kennedy To Obama

Thursday, October 13, 2016
Hoover Institution, Washington DC

The Hoover Institution hosted "The President's Book of Secrets: The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to America's Presidents from Kennedy to Obama" on Thursday, October 13, 2016 from 5:00pm - 7:00pm. 

Event
In the News

How Everything Became War And The Military Became Everything: Tales From The Pentagon

Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Hoover Institution, Washington DC

The Hoover Institution hosted "How Everything Became War And The Military Became Everything: Tales From The Pentagon" on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 from 5:00pm - 7:00pm. 

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In the News

Code Warriors: NSA's Codebreakers And The Secret Intelligence War Against The Soviet Union

Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Hoover Institution, Washington DC

The Hoover Institution hosted "Code Warriors: NSA's Codebreakers And The Secret Intelligence War Against The Soviet Union" on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 from 5:00pm - 7:00pm.

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The Working Group on National Security, Technology, and Law brings together national and international specialists with broad interdisciplinary expertise to analyze how technology affects national security and national security law and how governments can use that technology to defend themselves, consistent with constitutional values and the rule of law.

The group will focus on a broad range of interests, from surveillance to counterterrorism to the dramatic impact that rapid technological change—digitalization, computerization, miniaturization, and automaticity—are having on national security and national security law. Topics include cybersecurity, the rise of drones and autonomous weapons systems, and the need for and dangers of state surveillance. The group’s output will also be published on the Lawfare blog, which covers the merits of the underlying legal and policy debates of actions taken or contemplated to protect the nation and the nation’s laws and legal institutions.

Jack Goldsmith and Benjamin Wittes are the cochairs of the National Security, Technology, and Law Working Group.