Drone Rules and Targeted Killing: Huffington Post Live Segment

Today I appeared on Huffington Post Live on a panel discussing rules for the use of drones in targeted killings.  The panel information and video clip appear below.

In anticipation of the election, the Obama administration started working to codify drone policies. Why did they wait so long and what might the rules look like?  Originally aired on November 27, 2012

Hosted by:

  • Josh Hersh (Washington, DC) HuffPost Foreign Policy Correspondent @joshuahersh
  • Hina Shamsi (New York, NY) Director of the National Security Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. @hinashamsi
  • Gregory S. McNeal (Malibu) Professor, Pepperdine University @gregorymcneal



Bush v. Obama on Counterterrorism Policy

On Tuesday, October 4th I will be part of a panel at Mercer University School of Law.  The panel discussion will explore the differences between President Obama and President Bush’s national security policies, specifically as they relate to counterterrorism.  Some issues we will explore are:

  1. Commentary on how successful the current program has been in achieving its objectives
  2. Changes that might need to be implemented to make the terror policy more effective and/or efficient
  3. Specific weaknesses that make the program less effective than it might otherwise be
  4. The continued viability, legality, and future of holding terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay and even other “black sites” in some European nations
  5. How do we balance the needs to secure ourselves with the freedoms we enjoy as citizens.

Another Delay in the Trial for Alleged USS Cole Killers

Tom Joscelyn notes that the Obama administration has delayed the trial by military commission of Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, the mastermind of the USS Cole attack, according to the


Washington Post. The Defense Department denies this, saying in a statement that prosecutors ‘are actively investigating the case against Mr. al-Nashiri and are developing charges against him.’

Tom finds it hard to believe that it’s taking this long to put together a 10 year old case, and I agree that something seems fishy.  In fact, as Tom highlights “the Post talked to some ‘military officials’ who ‘said a team of prosecutors in the Nashiri case has been ready [to] go to trial for some time.’”

So what is holding this up, politics of course.  From the Post:  “‘Its politics at this point,’ said one military official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss policy. He said he thinks the administration does not want to proceed against a high-value detainee without some prospect of civilian trials for other major figures at Guantanamo Bay.”

It’s not like there isn’t sufficient public evidence to proceed against Nashiri, consider the admissions he made during his CSRT (as Tom summarizes):

Tribunal Member: How many times did you meet Osama bin Laden and did you take money from him every time?

Nashiri: Many times. I dont remember what year I met Osama bin Laden. What year, I dont remember. I dont remember what year. Maybe 96 or 95. And during that time whenever [I] went to Afghanistan I just stop by and visited him. And if I needed money I would just ask him and he would give money to me.

Tribunal Member: What was the money used for? And, how much did you take?

Nashiri: Personal expenses. Many times I would tell, give me three of four thousand dollars and he would give them to me. And I use them as personal expenses. When [sic] went to have a project in Yemen, I took money from him several times. I don’t know the total amount of money. Maybe ten thousand. After that five thousand. And the second project after that. After the Cole incident ended[,] I wanted to have a fishing project in Pakistan and a wooden ship in Dubai. I also ask Usama bin Laden to support me.So the bottom line is that I took money from Usama bin Laden for a fishing project. I was under the impression that the project was mine. And it was a fishing project. I didn’t care about Usama bin Laden. If the project succeeded, I would have paid the money back to Usama bin Laden. That’s it. I understood it as being a loan. But when he told me that we could use this for bombing something…

”Nashiri goes on to say that he pulled out of the deal with bin Laden when the terror master started talking about using Nashiri’s fishing boat for, you know, terrorism – just as al Qaeda did in the attack on the USS Cole.  Nashiri conceded that he knew the Cole plotters (“…I got to know the people who were involved in the explosion”), but claimed that they were part of his fishing enterprise (“We were also, we were planning to be involved in a fishing project”). Nashiri also conceded that he used money from Osama bin Laden to purchase explosives, but said the explosives were going to be used to dig wells…”

Read Tom’s full post here.

Miranda on the Battlefield

On Monday March 29th at noon I will be appearing at Texas Tech University School of Law to debate Professor Arnold Loewy, the topic of our debate is “Miranda on the Battlefield: How Boumediene v. Bush Impacts Combat Operations.”

The formal announcement is here.

The event will take place at the law school in Room 109 from 12:00-12:50PM and I expect there will be a 20 minute Question and Answer period to follow the debate.  Lunch will also be served.

International Law, Child Soldiers and Prisoners Rights

On Thursday March 11th the University of Arkansas Little Rock Law Review will be hosting a symposium focusing on prisoners’ rights.  I will be appearing on the panel addressing prisoners’ rights and international law.

The symposium will feature three panels throughout the day, each focusing on different issues surrounding prisoners’ rights.

  • Domestic Prisoners’ Rights – Members of this panel will examine the rights of prisoners in our domestic prison system, and will discuss topics ranging from prison conditions, to the kinds of educational and health access prisoners should be afforded.
  • International Prisoners’ Rights – The second panel of the day will focus on international prisoners’ rights issues, including the differences in treatment between domestic and foreign prisoners, and how the international community should treat child soldier prisoners.
  • Women Prisoners’ Rights – The final panel of the day will discuss prisoners’ rights as how they pertain specifically to women, including the problem of sexual abuse of women prisoners, a female prisoner’s right to an abortion, and health care concerns involving pregnant prisoners.

The full program is here.

National Security Law Report Vol. 31 No. 3 & 4

Issue 3/4 of The National Security Law Report, the journal of the ABA’s Standing Committee on Law and National Security is now available on-line (full disclosure, I’m the general editor).  Here is a snip from the Table of Contents

Ryan Lockman, an attorney in Washington D.C. reviews Louis Fisher’s The Constitution and 9/11.
 In Be Careful What You Wish For: A Review of Ibrahim Warde’s The Price of Fear, Jeff Breinholt (U.S. Department of Justice) offers a critique of Warde’s book and provides a vigorous defense of U.S. counter-terrorism financing prosecutions.
 In Be Careful What You Wish For: A Review of Ibrahim Warde’s The Price of Fear, Jeff Breinholt (U.S. Department of Justice) offers a critique of Warde’s book and provides a vigorous defense of U.S. counter-terrorism financing prosecutions.
 In Covert Action Policy and Procedure, Jonathan M. Fredman (ODNI) outlines the key features of covert action, its limitations and successes.
 In The Golden Rule and the Laws of War, Gabor Rona (Human Rights First) comments on the Detention Policy Task Force’s Preliminary Report and the NDAA Amendments to the Military Commissions Act.
Other pieces included a transcript of Department of Defense General Counsel, Jeh Johnson’s remarks to the Standing Committee, and the announcement of new committee members and advisors. 

Check out the full issue here.