The Lawfare Podcast
Lawfare Archive: Coronavirus, Federalism and Supply Chains: A Case Study
From April 25, 2020: We've covered this novel coronavirus from many angles, focusing on the disaster response issues that make up part of national security. For this episode of theLawfare Podcast, we have something a bit different: a case study of how pandemic control measures intersect with federalism issues and supply chain continuity and security. With a focus on what's happening in Illinois, David Priess spoke with Rob Karr, the president and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, representing the industry employing one out of every five people in Illinois, and with Mark Denzler, the co-chair of the state's Essential Equipment Task Force and the president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers' Association, representing companies that employ almost 600,000 Illinoisans.
Lawfare Archive: Deterring Russian Cyber Intrusions
From December 24, 2016: Whatever the President-elect might say on the matter, the question of Russian interference in the presidential election is not going away: calls continue in the Senate for an investigation into the Kremlin's meddling, and the security firm Crowdstrike recentlyreleasednew information linking one of the two entities responsible for the DNC hack with Russia's military intelligence agency. So how should the United States respond?InWar on the Rocks,Evan Perkoski and Michael Poznansky recently reviewed the possibilities in their piece, "An Eye for an Eye: Deterring Russian Cyber Intrusions." They've also written on this issue before in a previous piece titled "Attribution and Secrecy in Cyber Intrusions." We brought them on the podcast to talk about what deterrence of Russian interference would look like and why it's necessary.
What's Up With the January 6 Investigation?
The January 6 investigating committee in the House is busily issuing subpoenas, collecting documents and negotiating with witnesses for depositions. It is also being defied by certain witnesses, and the former president is threatening to try to stop the National Archives from turning over material related to his activities and communications during and leading up to the January 6 insurrection.To chew over the entire spectrum of issues the committee is facing, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Brookings congressional guru and Lawfare senior editor Molly Reynolds, and Quinta Jurecic, also a senior editor at Lawfare and a Brookings fellow focusing on post-Trump accountability issues. They are the authors together of a recent piece on Lawfare on the hurdles the January 6 investigation may face. They talked about executive privilege claims involving witnesses; about executive privilege claims involving documents; about who controls the privilege, the current president or the past president; and about whether this is all just a complex scheme to run out the clock.
Finstas, Falsehoods and the First Amendment
Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s recent testimony before Congress has set in motion a renewed cycle of outrage over the company’s practices—and a renewed round of discussion around what, if anything, Congress should do to rein Facebook in. But how workable are these proposals, really?This week on Arbiters of Truth, our series on the online information ecosystem, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Jeff Kosseff, an associate professor of cybersecurity law at the United States Naval Academy, and the guy that has literally written not just the book on this, but two of them. He is the author of “The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet,” a book about Section 230, and he has another book coming out next year about First Amendment protections for anonymous speech, titled “The United States of Anonymous.” So Jeff isvery well positioned to evaluate recent suggestions that Facebook should, for example, limit the ability of young people to create what users call Finstas, a second, secret Instagram account for a close circle of friends—or Haugen’s suggestion that the government should regulate how Facebook amplifies certain content through its algorithms. Jeff discussed the importance of online anonymity, the danger of skipping past the First Amendment when proposing tech reforms, and why he thinks that Section 230 reform has become unavoidable … even if that reform might not make any legal or policy sense.
What's Going on in Afghanistan?
Bryce Klehm sat down with Vanda Felbab-Brown, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Lawfare senior editor Scott R. Anderson, to discuss the current situation in Afghanistan. They covered a range of issues, including the Taliban government's formation since the U.S. withdrawal, the current humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and the international community's response.
Martijn Rasser on CIA and Emerging Technology
Last week, CIA director William Burns issued a statement with a number of organizational changes and other initiatives regarding the CIA. Most media attention was drawn to the creation of a new China Mission Center, but there were several new initiatives on the technology front that also warrant attention. He talked about a new Technology Fellows program, a new Transnational and Technology Mission Center, a new chief technology officer, and a corporate board devoted to technology issues.To talk through these initiatives, David Priess sat down with Martijn Rasser, who used to serve as a senior intelligence officer and analyst at CIA on emerging technology and tech innovation issues. He also served as a senior advisor in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, as a director at a venture-backed A.I. startup in Silicon Valley, and he is now at the Center for a New American Security as a senior fellow and director of the Technology and National Security Program.
Adam Klein and Benjamin Wittes on FISA
Two weeks ago, the Department of Justice's Office of Inspector General released a report on the FBI's mishandling of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act applications. It's the latest in a string of Inspector General reports and other documents to talk about the process. To go through the latest report, why the process is so important and what it all means, Jacob Schulz sat down on Lawfare Live with Lawfare editor-in-chief Benjamin Wittes, and Adam Klein, the former chairman of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, who is now at the University of Texas at Austin’s Strauss Center as director of the program on Technology, Security, and Global Affairs. They discussed what's in the latest report, what to make of it and how to think about reforms to the process in general.
Lawfare Archive: Maria Ressa on the Weaponization of Social Media
From October 15, 2020: On this episode ofLawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek spoke with Maria Ressa, a Filipino-American journalist and co-founder of Rappler, an online news site based in Manila. Maria was included in Time's Person of the Year in 2018 for her work combating fake news, and is currently fighting a conviction for “cyberlibel” in the Philippines for her role at Rappler. Maria and her fight are the subject of the film, “A Thousand Cuts,” released in virtual cinemas this summer and to be broadcast on PBS Frontline in early next year.As a country where Facebook is the internet, the Philippines was in a lot of ways ground zero for many of the same dynamics and exploitations of social media that are currently playing out around the world. What is the warning we need to take from Maria’s experience and the experience of Philippine democracy? Why is the global south both the beta test and an afterthought for companies like Facebook? And how is it possible that Maria is still, somehow, optimistic?
White House Pressure, the Justice Department and the Election
The majority staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee has issued an interim report, entitled “Subverting Justice: How the Former President and His Allies Pressured DOJ to Overturn the 2020 Election.” A lot of it covers ground we knew about previously, but it contains a raft of new details about the president's pressure on the Justice Department to support his election fraud claims, the resignation of a U.S. attorney in Georgia, and the bizarre attempt to install as acting attorney general a Justice Department official who might actually support the president's ambitions.To go over it all, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Lawfare senior editors Alan Rozenshtein and Quinta Jurecic, and Lawfare associate editor Bryce Klehm, who has been reading all of the depositions in the matter. They talked about what the committee found, what aspects of it are new and what we might do about this dramatic turn of events.