National Security, Technology & Law Working Group

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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. 

Featured

Living Inside Adversary Networks

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Friday, March 16, 2018

The Trump administration on Thursday accused Russia of infiltrating by digital means “energy and other critical infrastructure sectors” in the United States. “We now have evidence they’re sitting on the machines, connected to industrial control infrastructure, that allow them to effectively turn the power off or effect sabotage,” Eric Chien, a security-technology director at Symantec, said to Nicole Perlroth and David Sanger in the New York Times. 

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.

Analysis and Commentary

The McGahn Cover Letter In Light Of The Trump Tweet

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Saturday, February 3, 2018

The Nunes memo was thoroughly debunked less than 12 hours after its publication. The sources of this debunking transcended politics, and ranged from The Intercept and Marcy Wheeler to Paul Rosenzweig and David French.

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A Rubicon

by Daniel E. Geer, Jr.via Aegis Paper Series
Friday, February 2, 2018

Optimality and efficiency work counter to robustness and resilience. Complexity hides interdependence, and interdependence is the source of black swan events.  The benefits of digitalization are not
transitive, but the risks are.  Because single points of failure
require militarization wherever they underlie gross societal
dependencies, frank minimization of the number of such single points
of failure is a national security obligation.  Because cascade
failure ignited by random faults is quenched by redundancy, whereas
cascade failure ignited by sentient opponents is exacerbated by
redundancy, (preservation of) uncorrelated operational mechanisms
is likewise a national security obligation.

Analysis and Commentary

What's Up With McGahn Revisionism?

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Saturday, January 27, 2018

“[T]he WH Counsel seems to be renting out space in his office to the New York Times,” notes Bill Kristol in reference to the sympathetic New York Times story yesterday about White House Counsel Don McGahn’s efforts to “Corral Trump While Pushing G.O.P.’s Agenda,” on top of the Times story the day before on McGahn threatening to quit rather than carry out Trump’s directive to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Analysis and Commentary

Power And Integrity At The FBI: Chris Wray Stands Up To The President And The Attorney General

by Jack Goldsmith, Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Monday, January 22, 2018

Jonathan Swan of Axios reported Monday night, based on “three sources with direct knowledge,” that FBI Director Chris Wray “threatened to resign” if FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe “was removed” from office. The threat apparently came in response to pressure on Wray by “Attorney General Jeff Sessions—at the public urging of President Donald Trump” to fire McCabe.

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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.

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.