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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 Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


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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 Support this show Hosted on Acast. See for more information.






Lawfare Archive: Alperovitch and Iftimie Talk Response to Russia and China

From April 28, 2021: The Biden administration has now responded to two major cyberattacks—one from Russia, the SolarWinds attack, and the other from China, the so-called Hafnium Microsoft Exchange Server attack. Recently, Lawfare has run articles on both of these incidents—a piece from Dmitri Alperovitch, the co-founder and former CTO of CrowdStrike, and a piece from Alex Iftimie, a former Justice Department official and a lawyer at Morrison & Foerster. They joined Benjamin Wittes to discuss...


What We've Learned About Security and Intelligence Failures on Jan. 6

Last month, the Government Accountability Office released its latest report on the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, focusing on the failures of several government agencies to fully process and share information about a potential attack in the days and weeks leading up to January 6, 2021. Lawfare Senior Editor and Brookings Senior Fellow Molly Reynolds sat down with NBC News Justice Reporter Ryan Reilly, who's reported broadly on law enforcement issues related to Jan. 6, and Lawfare Senior...


The New American Foreign Policy of Technology

The open nature of the internet has allowed malicious actors to abuse technology. Information operations, offensive cyber, and IP theft are just some examples of this misuse. The Biden administration has pursued an industrial policy that hopes to counter the weaponization of globalized systems. This approach includes technology subsidies, export controls, and rethinking supply chains. But this approach could undermine efforts to advance global rules and values. To discuss how the United...


Travis LeBlanc and FISA Section 702

On December 31, 2023, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) will expire unless it is reauthorized by Congress. Section 702 authorizes the U.S. government, in order to obtain foreign intelligence information, to target foreigners who are reasonably believed to be outside of the U.S. and collect their communications inside the U.S. without a warrant—even when such surveillance may involve the incidental collection of communications of U.S. persons. Privacy and civil...


Charles Dunst on Defeating the Dictators

By many accounts, the United States is living through a new era of competition—not just between major powers and strategic rivals, but between ideologies. Around the world, many authoritarian governments seem to be on the rise, even as many liberal democracies are facing a crisis of confidence, including, by some accounts, here in the United States. In a new book entitled, “Defeating the Dictators,” Charles Dunst, a former journalist and current deputy director of research and analytics at...


Two Perspectives on the Invasion of Iraq at 20, with Ambassador Doug Silliman and Salem Chalabi

Twenty years ago today, the United States invaded the nation of Iraq, intent on removing the regime of dictator Saddam Hussein and installing a stable democratic government. What followed instead was two decades of political instability and horrible sectarian violence that has yielded a modern Iraqi state that remains plagued with corruption and other problems, and is increasingly under immense pressure from the nearby regime in Iran. To gain perspective on the legacy of the U.S. invasion...


Chatter: Spy Movies and the Oscars with Alyssa Rosenberg

The Academy loves a good spy flick, and so do we! This week, Shane Harris talks with Washington Post culture critic Alyssa Rosenberg about the enduring power of espionage on the big screen. Movies like Zero Dark Thirty, the Mission: Impossible franchise, and this year’s Top Gun: Maverick and All Quiet on the Western Front, which both took home Oscars, help us understand global conflict as they wrestle with questions of personal morality. How do the stories of James Bond and George Smiley...


Lawfare Archive: Fault Lines: Hot Topics in the Arctic

From February 24, 2020: What do Russia, China and Canada all have in common? They all disagree—in one manner or another—with American policy goals in the Arctic, where climate change is driving opportunities and challenges for U.S. policy-makers. In this episode, National Security Institute Visiting Fellow and former senior intelligence official Jim Danoy discusses his paper, “The Arctic: Securing the High Ground,” with host Lester Munson. They discuss the fascinating policy dilemmas posed...


Orly Lobel on How AI Can Make the World a Better, More Equal Place

Artificial Intelligence is advancing at what seems like an exponential rate, with every month—sometimes every week—bringing news of a new, game-changing discovery. But just as the progress in AI is accelerating, so is the pessimism about it, with many scholars, commentators, and technologists themselves raising the alarm about AI's potential harms to equality, privacy, and security. Challenging this consensus is Orly Lobel, a law professor at the University of San Diego and the author of...


Meanwhile in Somalia with Charlie Savage and Eric Schmitt

As U.S. counterterrorism efforts have waned in Yemen, Libya, and parts of Pakistan, Somalia has emerged as the most active element in the “forever wars” that the U.S. has waged since 9/11, according to Eric Schmitt of the New York Times. Schmitt traveled to Somalia in February for a rare embed with U.S. Special Operations forces on the ground in the midst of a recent offensive launched by the Somali government against a formidable enemy, Al Shabab. Lawfare Managing Editor Tyler McBrien sat...


Jen Easterly

As Director of the United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Jen Easterly is one of several women at the very top of the cybersecurity pyramid in the United States. A graduate of West Point, decorated U.S. Army officer, and a Rhodes Scholar, Jen has served her country in a plethora of senior cybersecurity and counterterrorism roles, and most recently before her return to government, was the head of Firm Resilience at Morgan Stanley. David Kris, Lawfare contributor and...


A New Sanctions Approach for Humanitarian Assistance

For years, the international community has wrestled with how to reconcile sanctions policies targeting terrorist groups and other malevolent actors with the need to provide humanitarian assistance in areas under those groups’ control. Late last year, both the Biden administration and the UN Security Council took major steps toward a new approach on this issue, installing broad carveouts for humanitarian assistance into existing sanctions regimes. To talk through these changes, Lawfare...


Chip Brantley and Andrew Beck Grace on White Lies Season 2

Chip Brantley and Andrew Beck Grace are the creators of the NPR audio documentary White Lies, which was a Pulitzer finalist for its first season. Chip and Andrew are back for season 2, a story they began reporting in 2015 after they stumbled on an archival photo of a prison riot in Talladega, Alabama. This season focuses on the Mariel boatlift, a 6-month period in 1980 during which 125,000 Cubans emigrated to the United States to seek asylum. What they found is as much an American...


Rational Security: The “Giving Two Effs” Edition

This week on Rational Security, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined by Naval Academy professor and cyberlaw expert Jeff "Two Effs" Kosseff to work through the week's big national security news stories, including: Support this show Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


Lawfare Archive: Nicole Perlroth on the Cyberweapons Arms Race

From March 19, 2021: Jack Goldsmith spoke with New York Times cybersecurity reporter Nicole Perlroth about her new book, "This is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyberweapons Arms Race." They discussed the dark world of markets for zero-day vulnerabilities that are so vital in offensive cyber operations, the history of the markets, how they work, who the players are and why the United States doesn't control as much as it used to. They also discussed broader issues of U.S. cybersecurity...


Kemba Walden

Kemba Walden recently took over from Chris Inglis as Acting National Cyber Director in the White House. She had been Principal Deputy Assistant National Cyber Director after serving in multiple cybersecurity positions in government and in the private sector. David Kris, Lawfare contributor and former Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division, and Bryan Cunningham, Lawfare contributor and Executive Director of the University of California, Irvine’s Cybersecurity Policy &...


Does Section 230 Protect ChatGPT?

During recent oral arguments in Gonzalez v. Google, a Supreme Court case concerning the scope of liability protections for internet platforms, Justice Neil Gorsuch asked a thought-provoking question. Does Section 230, the statute that shields websites from liability for third-party content, apply to a generative AI model like ChatGPT? Luckily, Matt Perault of the Center on Technology Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill had already been thinking about this question and...


Philippe Sands on Britain’s Last Colony

A few weeks ago, Human Rights Watch released a report on the forced expulsion of the Chagossian people, whom the United Kingdom deported from their island homes in the Indian Ocean about 60 years ago to make way for the United States to build a military base called Diego Garcia. The report recommends reparations for the Chagossian people and a trial for individuals responsible for these crimes against humanity—the very first time the group has laid such a charge at the door of the US and...


Biden’s Cybersecurity Strategy

On March 2, the Biden administration released its long-awaited National Cybersecurity Strategy. The new strategy comes more than two years after President Biden took office and sets out a bold vision to achieve a more cyber-secure future by the end of the decade. Lawfare Legal Fellow Saraphin Dhanani sat down with our in-house cyber experts, Lawfare’s Senior Editor Stephanie Pell and Fellow in Tech Policy and Law Eugenia Lostri, to discuss the strategy and their latest piece published on...


The Israeli Judicial System on the Brink

Amichai Cohen and Yuval Shany are both Israeli legal scholars and longtime Lawfare contributors. Shany is a professor of international law at the Hebrew University Law School in Jerusalem. Cohen is a professor at Ono Academic College. They are both scholars at the Israel Democracy Institute, and together they are also co-authors of a six-part series in Lawfare about the ongoing effort by the Israeli government to alter the Israeli judicial system. It is a detailed account of a very serious...