The Lawfare Podcast-logo

The Lawfare Podcast


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 Support this show See for privacy and opt-out information.

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 Support this show See for privacy and opt-out information.


United States


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 Support this show See for privacy and opt-out information.






Lawfare Archive: Adam Jentleson and Molly Reynolds on Getting Rid of the Senate Filibuster

From August 14, 2020: On July 30, former President Barack Obama, speaking at the funeral of Congressman John Lewis, threw his weight behind ending the Senate filibuster if necessary to pursue a voting rights agenda. His comments brought to the forefront a debate that has been simmering for years within the Democratic party. Margaret Taylor spoke with Adam Jentleson, who served as deputy chief of staff to Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid during the Obama administration, and Brookings...


Lawfare Archive: Chesney, Monaco, McCord, and Rasmussen on Domestic Terrorism

From October 15, 2019: A couple of weeks ago, Lawfare and the Strauss Center for International Security and Law sponsored a series of panels at the Texas Tribune Festival. For this episode, we bring you the audio of our Tribfest event on domestic terrorism—what it is, how we define it, how we outlaw it, and what more we can do about it. David Priess sat down with Bobby Chesney, Lawfare co-founder and professor at the University of Texas School of Law, and former U.S. government officials...


Trouble in Ukraine and Kazakhstan

There's a lot going on in Russia's near-abroad, the countries on the periphery of the Russian Federation. There’s a war brewing in Ukraine, with talks in Geneva between Russia and the West seeming to fail this week. There are also Russian troops in Kazakhstan, there at the invitation of the autocratic Kazakh government in response to protests over fuel prices. To check in on the situation, Benjamin Wittes sat down on Lawfare Live with Alina Polyakova of the Center for European Policy...


Podcasts Are the Laboratories of Misinformation

Valerie Wirtschafter and Chris Meserole, our friends at the Brookings Institution, recently published an analysis of how popular podcasters on the American right used their shows to spread the “big lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. These are the same issues that led tech platforms to crack down on misinformation in the runup to the election—and yet, the question of whether podcast apps have a responsibility to moderate audio content on their platforms has largely...


Benjamin Wittes and Alan Rozenshtein on Trump v. Thompson, Presidential Immunity and the First Amendment

On Monday, January 10, a federal district court in DC heard oral argument in Trump v. Thompson. The case considers civil claims against Donald Trump and others for their roles in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. It raises a number of complicated legal issues, including whether Trump is immune from these kinds of claims, whether it's possible to establish a conspiracy among the perpetrators of the attack and how the First Amendment factors into all of this. Natalie Orpett sat down with...


Dr. Charles Lieber and the China Initiative

On December 21, Harvard University chemist Dr. Charles Lieber was convicted of making false statements and other tax offenses in connection with his participation in the Chinese Thousand Talents program. Lieber’s case got a lot of attention, both because of his profile as a well known researcher at Harvard University, and because of the case’s connection with the U.S. government's occasionally controversial three-year-old program called the China Initiative. The program was unveiled in 2018...


The January 6 Insurrection One Year Later

Last week marked one year since the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill, in which a mob of Trump supporters attacked Congress in an effort to stop the certification of Joe Biden's election as president of the United States. On Thursday, the anniversary itself, Lawfare editors appeared in a Brookings event titled, “The January 6 insurrection: One year later.” Lawfare’s editor-in-chief Benjamin Wittes moderated a panel that included Lawfare senior editor Quinta Jurecic, Lawfare senior editor Roger...


Lawfare Archive: The Soleimani Strike and Its Fallout

From January 3, 2020: The American drone strike last night that killed Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Iranian Quds Force, is a seismic event in U.S.-Iranian relations—and for the broader Middle East. We put together an emergency podcast, drawing on the resources of both Lawfare and the Brookings Institution and reflecting the depth of the remarkable collaboration between the two. Iran scholar Suzanne Maloney, terrorism and Middle East scholar Daniel Byman, Middle East scholar and...


The Aftermath, Episode 1: Day Zero, Ground Zero

We're bringing you the first episode of Lawfare’s new narrative series, The Aftermath, which we released this past Thursday on the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection. Hosted by Lawfare’s executive editor, Natalie Orpett, and produced in partnership with Goat Rodeo, The Aftermath is a multipart series that focuses on what our democracy has been doing over the last year to confront, respond to, and deliver accountability for Jan. 6. The series explores the many questions that have...


Roger Parloff on the Conspirators

Lawfare senior editor Roger Parloff has a piece out on Lawfare, entitled “The Conspirators: The Proud Boys and Oath Keepers on Jan. 6.” It is an examination of the major conspiracy indictments flowing from the January 6 investigation. Both sets of indictments focus on far right militia organizations that participated in the attack—one set on the group called the Oath Keepers; the other on a group called the Proud Boys. In the article, Parloff argues that the Proud Boys in particular played a...


Content Moderation After January 6

One year ago, a violent mob broke into the U.S. Capitol during the certification of the electoral vote, aiming to overturn Joe Biden’s victory and keep Donald Trump in power as the president of the United States. The internet played a central role in the insurrection: Trump used Twitter to broadcast his falsehoods about the integrity of the election and gin up excitement over January 6, and rioters coordinated ahead of time on social media and posted pictures afterwards of the violence. In...


The Soleimani Strike Two Years Later

Two years ago this week, the head of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Qassem Soleimani, was killed in an American strike. At the time, we convened a group of Brookings and Lawfare experts to talk about the potential benefits and risks of the strike, and two years later, we got the gang back together. Benjamin Wittes sat down with Suzanne Maloney, the head of Foreign Policy program at Brookings and an Iran specialist; Dan Byman, terrorism expert, Middle East scholar and...


Christina Koningisor on Secrecy Creep

Government secrecy is pervasive when it comes to national security and foreign affairs, and it’s becoming more and more common for state and even local governments to invoke government secrecy rationales that in the past, only the president of the United States and the national intelligence community were able to claim. While some of the secrecy is no doubt necessary to ensure that police investigations aren't compromised and state and local officials are getting candid advice from their...


The Annual “Ask Us Anything” Episode

As is our annual tradition, we're bringing you the Lawfare “Ask Us Anything” episode. You, the listeners, sent over your questions, and we, the Lawfare staff and Lawfare contributors, have got answers. Julian Ku, Alan Rozenshtein, Benjamin Wittes, Natalie Orpett, Scott R. Anderson and David Priess tackle questions about the South China Sea, Jan. 6, and an interesting collection of questions about elected officials, the executive branch and constitutional issues. Support this show...


Lawfare Archive: Afshon Ostovar on Iran's Revolutionary Guard

From February 11, 2020: Afshon Ostovar is the associate chair for research and an assistant professor of national security affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School. He is also the author of "Vanguard of the Imam: Religion, Politics, and Iran's Revolutionary Guards." The IRGC has been in the news of late because of the killing of the head of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, Qassem Soleimani. Benjamin Wittes spoke with Ostovar about the fallout from the Soleimani killing, how...


Lawfare Archive: A Speech on Sextortion by Mona Sedky

From April 22, 2017: Over the past year, Lawfare has expended a great deal of ink on the problem of sextortion, a form of online sexual assault in which perpetrators obtain explicit images or video of their victims and use those images to extort further explicit content. We even brought Mona Sedky, a Justice Department prosecutor who focuses on sextortion cases, onto the podcast to discuss her work. Now, we’re pleased to feature Mona on the podcast once again with audio of her talk at the...


Lawfare Archive: Missy Cummings on Drones, Drones, Drones

From March 3, 2012: Missy Cummings, Director of the Humans and Automation Laboratory and a professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT, sat down with Ritika Singh for the fifth episode of the Lawfare Podcast to talk about robots on our battlefields. Cummings is a bit of a force of nature. In addition to designing unmanned weapons systems, she was one of the Navy's first female fighter pilots—an experience she chronicles in her book “Hornet's Nest.” There are currently around 20,000...


Rational Security 2.0: The “Choosy Spies Choose JIF” Edition

The Lawfare Podcast isn't Lawfare’s only podcast offering. Each week, Scott R. Anderson, Quinta Jurecic, Alan Rozenshtein and a special guest sit down on the podcast Rational Security to have a more casual and freewheeling conversation about national security stories in the news. Today, we thought we'd share one of our favorite Rational Security episodes from the past year, originally released on October 13. This episode features Washington Post reporter Shane Harris, himself a former...


Chatter, with Rolling Stone's Noah Shachtman

We're giving you something a bit different for today's Lawfare Podcast. It's an episode of Lawfare’s new podcast, Chatter, in which Shane Harris or David Priess, or occasionally both of them, have extended, one-on-one conversations with fascinating people working at the creative edges of national security. In this episode, Shane talks with Noah Shachtman, the editor-in-chief of Rolling Stone, who got there in part from his work as a national security journalist. Support this show...


“The Lazarus Heist” with Jean Lee and Geoff White

Despite being isolated from much of the rest of the international community, North Korea has emerged as an unexpected powerhouse in the realm of cybercrime, with affiliated hackers pulling off some of the most daring heists in cyberattacks of the past decade. Scott R. Anderson sat down with journalists Jean Lee and Geoff White, who have put together a podcast series entitled “The Lazarus Heist” for the BBC that explores how North Korea came to play this role. Through the lens of the...