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The Lawfare Podcast

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The Lawfare Podcast features discussions with experts, policymakers, and opinion leaders at the nexus of national security, law, and policy. On issues from foreign policy, homeland security, intelligence, and cybersecurity to governance and law, we have doubled down on seriousness at a time when others are running away from it. Visit us at www.lawfareblog.com.

The Lawfare Podcast features discussions with experts, policymakers, and opinion leaders at the nexus of national security, law, and policy. On issues from foreign policy, homeland security, intelligence, and cybersecurity to governance and law, we have doubled down on seriousness at a time when others are running away from it. Visit us at www.lawfareblog.com.
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United States

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The Lawfare Podcast features discussions with experts, policymakers, and opinion leaders at the nexus of national security, law, and policy. On issues from foreign policy, homeland security, intelligence, and cybersecurity to governance and law, we have doubled down on seriousness at a time when others are running away from it. Visit us at www.lawfareblog.com.

Twitter:

@lawfareblog

Language:

English


Episodes

What Should Privacy Legislation Do?

9/14/2019
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Amid all of the legislative disfunction from Congress, a consensus of sorts is emerging on the need for privacy legislation. Between European pressure, data breaches, and scandals associated with social media manipulation by foreign actors, the idea of some kind of comprehensive privacy legislation has gone mainstream over the last couple of years. But while people agree over the idea of privacy legislation in theory, the substance of that legislation (that is, what a privacy bill would...

Duration:00:55:48

Congress, Congress, and More Congress

9/10/2019
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The lengthy August recess has come to a close, and Congress is back. We have an impeachment investigation, we have an expanded scope of that investigation, we have confrontations between the executive branch and the legislature, and we have all of the other work Congress is supposed to do—like budget issues and a National Defense Authorization Act. Molly Reynolds and Margaret Taylor sat down with Benjamin Wittes to talk about it all. They talked about what we should call the impeachment...

Duration:00:49:17

Turnover and Turmoil Inside the State Department

9/7/2019
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This summer has been a tumultuous one inside the U.S. State Department. In August, the department’s Office of the Inspector General handed down a scathing report alleging political manipulation and abusive practices inside the department’s International Organization bureau—only one of a series of similar allegations. At the same time, a number of career State Department officials ranging from assistant secretaries to the rank-and-file have resigned due to alleged complaints and disagreements...

Duration:01:04:16

Tom Wheeler on the Need for Real Cybersecurity for 5G

9/3/2019
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5G telecommunications networks are beginning to be rolled out in the United States and around the world. We've heard a lot about the national security concerns posed by Chinese companies like Huawei getting a foothold in 5G networks. We're told it is important to win the race to 5G, that China is aggressively deploying 5G technology, and that the United States and the West are lagging behind. But is this the right way to think about the security challenges posed by 5G? What would it really...

Duration:00:32:27

The Report, Episode 7: Charging Decisions

9/1/2019
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It’s April 18, 2019, Attorney General Bill Barr summons reporters to the Department of Justice in Washington DC. Robert Mueller’s report is about to be released. Before the press and the public finally see the document for themselves, Barr wants a chance to tell his own version of the story it contains. But is the bottom line according to Barr the same as the bottom line according to Robert Mueller? We’ll let you decide. Previous episodes have told the story of the factual findings of the...

Duration:00:58:00

Janet Napolitano on the State of Homeland Security

8/31/2019
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Janet Napolitano served as the secretary of homeland security from 2009–2013. Before that, she was attorney general of the State of Arizona and the governor of that state. Since 2013, she has served as the president of the University of California system. More recently, she is the author of "How Safe Are We? Homeland Security Since 9/11." David Priess spoke with Secretary Napolitano by phone to talk about the whole range of issues that Homeland Security encompasses. They talked about some...

Duration:00:42:22

Christine Fair on Developments in Kashmir

8/27/2019
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On August 5, the Indian government announced that it was revoking “special status” for the states of Jammu and Kashmir, enshrined in Article 370 of its constitution. Since then, the government has instituted a lockdown in the Kashmir valley, hundreds of people have been detained, there have been mass protests, and tens of thousands of Indian troops have been deployed to the region. Professor Christine Fair of Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program sat down with Benjamin Wittes to...

Duration:00:46:12

The Report, Part VI: Back Channels

8/26/2019
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It’s December 29, 2016. The Obama administration announces that it’s imposing sanctions on Russia, as punishment for election interference. Michael Flynn has been tapped to become Trump’s national security advisor when the new administration takes office in January, but it’s still the transition period. Flynn is taking a few days vacation at the beach, when he sees the news. He grabs his phone and texts the transition team at Mar a Lago. He writes “Tit for tat with Russia not good” and says...

Duration:01:01:55

Jessica Marsden on New Proposals for Protecting Democracy

8/24/2019
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In a recent white paper, the organization Protect Democracy makes the case that President Trump has used the powers of the presidency, federal resources, and intimidating rhetoric to manipulate election outcomes in the United States. The paper argues that the answer to this behavior is congressional action and offers recommendations for legislation on six issues ranging from preventing voter intimidation to requiring campaigns to disclose offers of financial assistance. Jessica Marsden,...

Duration:00:46:34

Michael Desch on Social Science and National Security

8/20/2019
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David Priess sat down with Michael Desch, Professor of International Relations at the University of Notre Dame and the director of the Notre Dame International Security Center, to discuss Michael's new book, "Cult of the Irrelevant: The Waning Influence of Social Science on National Security." They discussed the different roles of social science in the policymaking process and the value of academic scholarship for policymakers. They also talked about the history of the relationship between...

Duration:00:50:00

The Report, Part V: Russian Overtures

8/18/2019
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It’s the morning of April 25, 2016. At a hotel in London, a Maltese professor meets with a young foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign. The two have been in touch over the past few weeks; the professor has been helping the young man connect with Russian officials. Now, over breakfast, the professor lets him in on a secret. On a recent trip to Moscow, high-level government officials told him that the Russians have “dirt” on Trump’s opponent. What was the “dirt” in question? “Emails,”...

Duration:01:07:17

Chip Brantley and Andrew Beck Grace on White Lies

8/17/2019
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Andrew Beck Grace and Chip Brantley are the creators of the NPR podcast audio documentary White Lies, which deals with the murder of Rev. James Reeb in Selma, Alabama, during the Civil Rights Era. The podcast is an incredible historical investigation of an episode that many people had forgotten, and resonates remarkably in contemporary discussions of domestic terrorism, white supremacist violence, and many other things we're still talking about today. Benjamin Wittes talked with Andrew and...

Duration:00:45:29

Sasha O'Connell on Turning a Ship Like the FBI

8/13/2019
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Sasha O'Connell is Executive in Residence in the School of Public Affairs at American University, as well as AU's director of the Terrorism and Homeland Security Policy Masters program. She also had a long career at the FBI where she served in a variety of strategic management positions. She was basically the FBI's Chief Strategy Officer. She joined Ben Wittes in the Jungle Studio to talk about what it takes to turn a ship like the FBI when it comes to issues like IT, technology, and...

Duration:00:51:03

The Report, Episode 4: A Tale of Two Trump Towers

8/11/2019
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The fourth episode of Lawfare’s narrative audio documentary, The Report, which tells the story Robert S. Mueller lays out in his famous 448-page document. This is the story of two Trump Towers, one in Moscow and one in New York. While Donald Trump was assuring Americans that he had no business in Russia, Mueller describes how he was simultaneously endeavoring to build a skyscraper with his name on it in Russia’s capital. And he describes as well the now infamous Trump Tower meeting in...

Duration:00:57:37

Amanda Sloat on Boris Johnson and Brexit

8/10/2019
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The United Kingdom has a new Prime Minister. It also has a looming cliff it is careening toward and about to leap off of on Halloween of this year. This week, Benjamin Wittes sat down with his Brookings colleague Amanda Sloat to talk about all things Brexit. They talked about the new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (and his hair), and his views on Brexit. They compared him to his American counterpart (and his hair). They talked about the deadlock between Britain and the European Union....

Duration:00:51:46

Mark Rozell on 'Presidential Power, Secrecy and Accountability'

8/6/2019
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Over the years, presidents have used different language to describe the withholding of information from Congress. To discuss the concept of "executive privilege," Margaret Taylor sat down with Mark Rozell, the Dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, and the author of "Executive Privilege: Presidential Power, Secrecy and Accountability," which chronicles the history of the executive privilege in its many forms since the founding of the United States. They...

Duration:00:36:32

The Report, Episode III: The Campaign and the Leaks

8/4/2019
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While Trump campaign officials engaged with the Russian social media manipulation operation as unwitting dupes, the story of the Trump campaign’s involvement with the GRU email hacking operation is more complicated. Episode three is entitled "The Campaign and the Leaks." It covers the Trump campaign involvement in the distribution of hacked materials. No American took part in the actual Russian hacking of Democratic emails, but when it came to actually releasing the stolen emails, the story...

Duration:00:44:43

Mary Ann Glendon on Unalienable Rights

8/3/2019
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Mary Ann Glendon is the chair of the Commission on Unalienable Rights, announced by Secretary Pompeo on July 8, 2019, to great controversy. The commission was charged with examining the bases of human rights claims and the extent to which they are or are not rooted in the American rights tradition. The response of the human rights community was swift and fierce, with a lot of skepticism, a lot of anger, and a lot of criticism. Mary Ann Glendon, the Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard...

Duration:00:33:50

Ambassador Doug Silliman on the State of the U.S.-Iraq Relationship

7/30/2019
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Few nations have a history with the United States that is as complicated as that of the Republic of Iraq. Today, several factors, including the Trump administration's campaign of maximum pressure against Iraq's neighbor Iran, are putting entirely new pressures on this relationship, one that many believe remains essential to maintaining regional security. To help examine these dynamics and what they might mean, Scott R. Anderson spoke with Ambassador Douglas A. Silliman, the new president of...

Duration:00:50:09

Jonna Mendez on 'The Moscow Rules'

7/28/2019
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In the 1950s and 1960s, the Central Intelligence Agency had a major problem. The streets of Moscow were a virtually impossible operating environment due to heavy KGB surveillance and other operational difficulties. Through a series of trial and error, and a whole lot of ingenuity, along came the "Moscow rules," a series of technical advancements in the area of disguise and communications technology, and some different operating tradecraft that allowed CIA case officers to get the information...

Duration:00:51:04