National Security, Technology & Law Working Group

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Analysis and Commentary

Bad Legal Arguments For The Syria Airstrikes

by Jack Goldsmith, Oona A. Hathawayvia Lawfare
Saturday, April 14, 2018

On Friday night, the United States, United Kingdom, and France launched a coordinated attack in Syria, reportedly aimed at sites related to Syria’s chemical weapons program. President Trump stated that he “ordered the United States armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.”

Analysis and Commentary

The Cycles Of Panicked Reactions To Trump

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The raid on the office of Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen, the president’s latest tweet-complaints and related rant, and the White House press secretary's claim that the President believes he has the authority to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, have many people spun up about that possibility that Trump will soon fire Mueller, or Attorney General Jeff Sessions, or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

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The Downsides Of Bombing Syria

by Jack Goldsmith, Oona A. Hathawayvia Lawfare
Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The U.S. government seems on a set path toward intervening in Syria with military force (probably air strikes of some sort) in response to the recent a chemical weapons attack allegedly sponsored by the Syrian government. We think a few brief points are worth keeping in mind.

Analysis and Commentary

Can Mueller Or Rosenstein Issue An Interim Report On Obstruction?

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Monday, April 9, 2018

Unnamed sources in a Washington Post story last week claimed that Special Counsel Robert Mueller told President Trump’s lawyers that “he is preparing a report about the president’s actions while in office and potential obstruction of justice.” The Post added that “Mueller’s investigators have indicated to the president’s legal team that they are considering writing reports on their findings in stages—with the first report focused on the obstruction issue.”

Featured

We Need Special Court Procedure For The Removal Of Special Counsels

by Adam J. White quoting Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Monday, March 26, 2018

As President Trump intensifies his attacks on Special Counsel Robert Mueller, his critics intensify their calls on Congress to legislate statutory removal protections limiting the president’s and Justice Department’s ability to fire Mueller. Such a legislative push is probably futile—and rightly so. Instead, Congress should focus on another aspect of this issue: namely, legislating the process by which the courts would hear a lawsuit challenging the firing of a special counsel. 

Analysis and Commentary

Don't Expect A Starr-Like Report From Mueller

by Jack Goldsmith, Maddie McMahonvia Lawfare
Thursday, March 22, 2018

Benjamin Wittes and Quinta Jurecic have usefully reviewed the models that Special Counsel Robert Mueller might draw on deciding whether and how to tell the world what he learned in his investigation of the Russia matter. If Mueller follows the “orthodox path,” we will only “learn about the extent of ‘collusion’ or about possible obstructions of justice” to the extent Mueller issues indictments. 

Analysis and Commentary

‘Can It Happen Here? Authoritarianism In America’

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Monday, March 5, 2018

Tuesday is the release date for an extraordinary collection of essays published under the title: Can It Happen Here? Authoritarianism in America.

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The ‘China, Inc.+’ Challenge To Cyberspace Norms

by Robert D. Williamsvia Aegis Paper Series
Wednesday, February 21, 2018

This paper explores two aspects of China’s governance model that pose distinctive challenges to the construction of international cyberspace norms: the embedded and intertwined nature of the Communist Party-state in China’s economy and the expansive conception of national security reflected in Chinese laws and policies. Viewed in conjunction with Chinese cyberspace strategy and activity, these characteristics of “China, Inc. +” raise vexing questions with considerable implications for US-China relations.

Analysis and Commentary

The Downsides Of Mueller's Russia Indictment

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Monday, February 19, 2018

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia indictment represents “a remarkable rebuke of the president’s claims” that the Russia investigation was a “phony Democrat excuse for losing the election,” the Lawfare team concluded. The indictment also educates the American public about the reality and scale of the Russian threat to the American political process more credibly than last year’s intelligence community report on the matter. Perhaps it will help the United States build resilience against future attacks.

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Small Towns, Big Companies: How Surveillance Intermediaries Affect Small And Midsize Law Enforcement Agencies

by Anne Bousteadvia Aegis Paper Series
Wednesday, February 7, 2018

This paper explores how efforts by companies to resist government requests for consumer information may disproportionately affect small and mid-sized law enforcement agencies, as small departments face obstacles to using commercially collected information that do not occur in the context of larger departments. Differences between law enforcement agencies that serve large communities and those that serve small communities suggest corresponding differences in their ability to adapt to changes in the process for obtaining data from digital communication companies.  Failing to account for these differences may encourage policies that will only work as expected for large law enforcement agencies.

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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.

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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. 

Event
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. 

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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. 

Event
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.