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Blank Section (Placeholder)EssaysAnalysis and Commentary

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.

Analysis and Commentary

The Merits Of Supporting 702 Reauthorization (Despite Worries About Trump And The Rule Of Law)

by Jack Goldsmith, Susan Hennesseyvia Lawfare
Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Senate voted by a razor-thin margin Tuesday to invoke cloture on the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017, which would reauthorize for six years Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The bill includes some significant changes to 702, though the reforms are substantially more modest than those sought by privacy advocates. The House approved its version last week. A final Senate vote is scheduled for Thursday; the bill is expected to pass handily.

Analysis and Commentary

Why Hasn’t Rod Rosenstein Recused Himself From The Mueller Investigation?

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Friday, January 5, 2018

One puzzle that deepens with Mike Schmidt’s New York Times story on “Trump’s Struggle to Keep [a] Grip on [the] Russia Investigation” is why Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has not recused himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation. On Lawfare’s special edition podcast yesterday, Susan Hennessey briefly raised the issue, but the puzzle is worth unpacking a bit more here.

Analysis and Commentary

The President Can’t Kill The Mueller Investigation

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Monday, January 1, 2018

One of most remarkable stories of 2017 was the extent to which President Donald Trump was prevented from executing his many pledges—both on the campaign trail and in office—to violate the law. As predicted, courts, the press, the bureaucracy, civil society, and even Congress were aggressive and successful in stopping or deterring Trump from acting unlawfully.*

Featured

The Ease Of Writing An OLC Opinion In Support Of Military Action Against North Korea

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Thursday, September 14, 2017

I’ve been asked a lot recently about the President’s power under Article II to order a military strike on North Korea in the absence of congressional authorization. The proper meaning of Article II on this question is contested and I won’t offer my views on that here. But the only opinion about Article II that effectively matters on this question is the Executive branch’s. 

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Nobody But Us

by Ben Buchananvia Aegis Paper Series
Wednesday, August 30, 2017

This paper examines how the NOBUS approach works, its limits, and the challenging matter of what comes next. Traditionally, signals intelligence is neatly bifurcated into offense and defense: intercept adversaries’ communication technology and protect one’s own. In the modern era, however, there is great convergence in the technologies used by friendly nations and by hostile ones. Signals intelligence agencies find themselves penetrating the technologies they also at times must protect. To ease this tension, the United States and its partners have relied on an approach sometimes called Nobody But Us, or NOBUS: target communications mechanisms using unique methods accessible only to the United States.

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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 Jean Perkins Foundation 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 is the chair of the Jean Perkins Foundation Working Group on National Security, Technology, and Law.