The Lawfare Podcast: Patreon Edition
Lawfare Archive: General Austin as Secretary of Defense
From December 9, 2020: President-elect Joe Biden has selected a new defense secretary, retired general Lloyd Austin, former commander of Central Command. The selection has received somewhat mixed reviews, and to discuss why, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Brookings senior fellow Mike O'Hanlon, a defense policy analyst, and Kori Schake, the head of defense and foreign policy at the American Enterprise Institute. They talked about why people are upset about General Austin's nomination, his background, the experience he has and doesn't have, who would have been a better choice and whether it matters that this is the second administration in a row that begins by putting a retired general at the head of the Pentagon.
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Trump’s Trials and Tribulations: Gag Orders, Telephones, and Other Stuff01:24:31It's another edition of “Trump’s Trials and Tribulations,” recorded on Thursday before a live audience of Lawfare Material Supporters. Lawfare Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes sat down with Lawfare Senior Editor Roger Parloff, Lawfare Legal Fellow Anna Bower, and special guest Kyle Cheney of Politico, to talk about Scott Perry's text messages that were newly revealed in a filing in D.C. District Court, about happenings with New York gag orders and D.C. gag orders, about Section 3 of the 14th Amendment cases, and about Anna's story about the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s report in Coffee County and how much it sucked. This is a live conversation that happens online every Thursday at 4:00pm Eastern Time. If you would like to come join and ask a question, be sure to visit Lawfare’s Patreon account and become a Material Supporter.
Lawfare Archive: Jim Baker on AI and Counterintelligence46:52From September 25, 2018: The United States has become the global leader in both defense and private-sector AI. Inevitably, this has led to an environment in which adversary and ally governments alike may seek to identify and steal AI information—in other words, AI has become intelligence, and those who work in AI have become potential sources and assets. And with intelligence, comes counterintelligence.Jim Baker, a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution and former FBI General Counsel, is part-way through a series of essays for Lawfare on the links between counterintelligence and AI, two parts of which have already been published (Part I and Part II). On Monday, Jim sat down with Benjamin Wittes to discuss his work on the subject. They talked about how to understand AI as an intelligence asset, how we might protect this valuable asset against a range of threats from hostile foreign actors, and how we can protect ourselves against the threat from AI in the hands of adversaries.
Anna Bower Critiques the Georgia Bureau of Investigation47:43Anna Bower is a Legal Fellow at Lawfare and our Fulton County Correspondent, and has been digging into the weird events in Coffee County in the aftermath of the 2020 election. Her latest tome on the subject is entitled “What the GBI Missed in Coffee County,” and is about the Georgia state investigation, the report on which clocks in at almost 400 pages but is a great deal less impressive than it may seem at first glance.Lawfare Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes sat down with Anna to talk about the GBI's investigation of the Coffee County caper. What did the GBI do? What didn't they do? Did they add any new information? They actually did—but they also left out a whole lot that any reasonable investigator would want to look at.A video version of this conversation is available on Lawfare's YouTube channel here.
Comparing Civilian Casualty Tolerance in the Israel-Hamas War to the War Against ISIS with Mark Lattimer40:57Israel’s military response to Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre has raised deep concern from international legal observers and the general public. The IDF’s tactics have been described as “disproportionate,” and not taking sufficient care to avoid killing civilians or damaging civilian infrastructure, as the law of armed conflict requires.When it comes to incidental casualties in particular, Mark Lattimer, Executive Director of Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights, recently argued on Lawfare’s pages that Israel’s tolerance for civilian deaths seems to surpass even that of the U.S. and U.K.’s in the war against ISIS. Lawfare Associate Editor Hyemin Han talked to him about the case study he used to make this point—an analysis of Israel’s decision to carry out airstrikes in the Jabalia Refugee Camp in October. They compared that to what happened in the Battle of Mosul in 2014, and then got into the bigger differences between Israel’s war against Hamas and the war against ISIS.
Will Generative AI Reshape Elections?49:03Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard a great deal over the last year about generative AI and how it’s going to reshape various aspects of our society. That includes elections. With one year until the 2024 U.S. presidential election, we thought it would be a good time to step back and take a look at how generative AI might and might not make a difference when it comes to the political landscape. Luckily, Matt Perault and Scott Babwah Brennen of the UNC Center on Technology Policy have a new report out on just that subject, examining generative AI and political ads.On this episode of Arbiters of Truth, our series on the information ecosystem, Lawfare Senior Editor Quinta Jurecic and Lawfare’s Fellow in Technology Policy and Law Eugenia Lostri sat down with Matt and Scott to talk through the potential risks and benefits of generative AI when it comes to political advertising. Which concerns are overstated, and which are worth closer attention as we move toward 2024? How should policymakers respond to new uses of this technology in the context of elections?
U.S. Arms Transfers to Israel, with Brian Finucane and Josh Paul49:53Last month, following Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel, President Biden announced that his administration would ask Congress for “an unprecedented support package for Israel’s defense,” totaling $14.3 billion. Such a package would supplement the defense aid Israel already receives from the U.S. According to Jonathan Guyer in Vox, “Israel has received about $3 billion annually, adjusted for inflation, for the last 50 years, and is the largest historical recipient of US security aid.” But with civilian casualties in Gaza mounting, including the reported killing of thousands of Palestinian children, likely with weapons of U.S. origin, a recent article in Foreign Affairs by Brian Finucane asks, “Is Washington Responsible for What Israel Does With American Weapons?” To talk through that essay, Lawfare Managing Editor Tyler McBrien sat down with Brian, a Senior Adviser at the International Crisis Group and former attorney adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. State Department, as well as Josh Paul, a former Director in the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, which oversees U.S. arms transfers, who resigned in protest over the U.S. government’s provision of weapons to Israel for use in the conflict in Gaza. They discussed the scale and process of U.S. weapons transfers, the domestic and international law that govern these transfers, and whether the U.S. is complicit and liable for war crimes committed with its weaponry. They also discussed why it would be a mistake to rely solely on the law of war to bring an end to the death and destruction in Gaza.
November Minipod: The U.S. and Egypt’s Relationship18:25On this month’s minipod episode, Lawfare Associate Editor for Communications Anna Hickey sat down with Lawfare Deputy Foreign Policy Editor Dana Stuster to discuss the historical relationship between the United States and Egypt and how the Israel-Gaza War and the recent indictment of Sen. Menedez is impacting this relationship.
Tiana Epps-Johnson on Lawsuits and the Big Lie51:20Tiana Epps-Johnson is the Executive Director of the Center for Tech and Civic Life, an organization which provides technical and financial assistance to election workers nationwide. If this sounds like it should be uncontroversial, hang on to your hats, folks. It is anything but. After her work in 2020 to help election workers conduct the presidential election under horrendously difficult COVID conditions and with inadequate budgets, Epps-Johnson found herself the subject of lawsuits, investigations by state attorneys general, and other forms of harassment. None of these have come to anything, but it's been extremely costly for the organization.She joined Lawfare Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes and Lawfare Senior Editor Quinta Jurecic to tell the story. What does the Center for Tech and Civic Life really do? What was the nature of the attacks she faced? How much did it cost her organization to defend them, and how did she pay it? And what does it all mean for the future of safe elections in the United States?
Lawfare Archive: Building a Bridge Between 20th Century Law and 21st Century Intelligence01:08:48From November 7, 2015: Last week, George Washington University and the CIA co-hosted an event entitled Ethos and Profession of Intelligence. As part of the conference, Kenneth Wainstein moderated a conversation between CIA General Counsel Caroline Krass, Orin Kerr, and Benjamin Wittes on Bridging 20th Century Law and 21st Century Intelligence, a panel which we now present in full. What new legal questions are raised by rapidly evolving technologies and how do those questions interact with existing national security law? In response to these changes, how can the United States strike a balance between privacy, security and the economic imperatives driving innovation? The panel addresses these critical issues and more.