National Security, Technology & Law Working Group

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Quick Thoughts On Sally Yates’ Unpersuasive Statement

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Monday, January 30, 2017

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates—who was Barack Obama’s Deputy Attorney General and has been running DOJ until Jeff Sessions is confirmed—today sent a letter to top Justice Department officials announcing that she will “will not present arguments in defense of” President Trump’s controversial Immigration Executive Order “unless and until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so.” In response, President Trump just fired her.

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The Elephant in the Room: Addressing Child Exploitation and Going Dark

by Susan Hennesseyvia Aegis Paper Series
Friday, January 27, 2017

The public debate over encryption and Going Dark insufficiently addresses the issue of child sexual exploitation. This article describes the particular impacts of Going Dark on the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of child sexual abuse crimes. It reviews the available statistics related to quantifying the scope of the problem and the ways in which these crimes have become easier to commit and more difficult to detect. It concludes that lawful hacking, wherein the government exploits existing software vulnerabilities to circumvent security, is a necessary element of a Going Dark solution. To that end, the article explores the legal and policy questions that must be addressed in order to develop a practical and realistic response.

Analysis and Commentary

Rational Security: The "Centennial" Edition

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Thursday, January 26, 2017

President Trump has announced executive orders on border security and immigration policy—and maybe interrogation. Ex-military officers are taking senior posts in the National Security Council.


Trump’s Self-Defeating Executive Order On Interrogation

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Below are some very quick initial thoughts on President’s Trump’s Executive Order on Detention and Interrogation of Enemy Combatants.

Hoover Book Soiree: Edward Jay Epstein On "How America Lost Its Secrets"

by Jack Goldsmith, Benjamin Wittes
Monday, January 23, 2017

The next in our series of book soirees at the Hoover Institution will take place from 5-7 pm on Monday, February 1, when Ben will interview Edward Jay Epstein on his new book, How America Lost Its Secrets: Edward Snowden, the Man and the Theft.

Analysis and Commentary

Why Is The White House Characterizing The Political Opinions Of Career CIA Employees?

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Sunday, January 22, 2017

Focusing on what's truly important in the many challenges facing America, President Trump got right to work picking a fight with reality over the size of the crowd at his inauguration. And yesterday, White House spokesman Sean Spicer kicked up a firestorm by berating the media for its reporting on inauguration attendance.


Jack Goldsmith: Checks On Presidential Power Are Stronger Than You Think

interview with Jack Goldsmithvia The Cipher Brief
Friday, January 20, 2017

Hoover Institution fellow Jack Goldsmith discusses how much authority resides in the presidency and how checks and balances on presidential power have changed in the past 15 years.

Analysis and Commentary

Rational Security: The "Four Horsemen" Edition

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Thursday, January 19, 2017

President Obama issues a raft of pardons and commutations on his last days in office. The Trump transition team has barely interacted with its counterparts on the National Security Council. And John Brennan reflects on Donald Trump and his legacy at the CIA.

Analysis and Commentary

Obama Is Right On Chelsea Manning

by Benjamin Wittes, Susan Hennesseyvia Lawfare
Tuesday, January 17, 2017

By the time you read this, a firestorm may—or may not—be breaking out over President Obama’s decision to commute Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’re not sure what the reaction is likely to be, to be honest. Predictably many of Manning’s supporters are jubilant. 

Analysis and Commentary

Six Thoughts In Defense Of James Comey

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Let me start with a disclosure: FBI Director James Comey is a personal friend. So feel free to dismiss, if you like, what follows as the rantings of a guy who doesn’t like to see friends put through the ringer. That said, the emerging bipartisan groupthink on Comey needs a big splash of ice cold water.


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.