Eve Levin  //  10/31/17  //  Topic Update


Reports indicate the United States deployed Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) forces following the ambush of a Special Forces team in Niger (WaPo).

  • Senior White House officials initially believed multiple soldiers were missing (WaPo).
  • President Trump repeated his claim that he remembered the name of Army Sgt. La David Johnson during a call with Johnson’s widow (WaPo).

Following the ambush in Niger, Senator John McCain is calling on Congress to update the President’s legal authority for U.S. military operations overseas (Politico).

  • Congressional oversight following the Niger attack should be scaled appropriately, writes Andy Wright at Just Security.

Senators who attended a closed-door Pentagon briefing on the Niger attack asked for more information (WaPo).

Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed frustration with the incremental revelation of information in the media regarding the attack (WaPo).

Niger may soon join the short list of locations where the U.S government uses lethal force, provoking several questions, writes Robert Chesney at LawFare.

Nikki Haley, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, warned that on-going violence in South Sudan may foreclose future aid from the United States (WaPo).

  • Ambassador Haley was later evacuated from a refugee camp after residents began protesting when they were informed they could not meet with her (The HillPolitico).

The United States imposed sanctions on eight individuals and one business affiliated with the Islamic State in Yemen and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (NYT).

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the United States wants Syria to remain a unified country, but that peace talks must involve the departure of President Bashar al-Assad (WaPo).

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s lack of transparency in voting on the reauthorization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is the wrong approach to surveillance reform, writes Neema Singh Guliani (ACLU).

A coalition of conservative groups are urging Congress to pass a bi-partisan bill that would create a new legal framework for law enforcement to access U.S. electronic communications held on foreign servers (The Hill).

Encryption should be a priority, writes Dan Richman at LawFare.

Members of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee are pressing the White House for information regarding the use of software produced by Kaspersky Lab, a Russian company, following reports that Russian hackers exploited the firm’s anti-virus product to steal U.S. secrets (The Hill) .

American cybersecurity firm McAfee will no longer let U.S. or foreign governments review its source code (The Hill).

Ten years after the passage of the Patriot Act, the Act’s unintended malignant effects are widespread, writes Patrick Eddington at JustSecurity.

Business lobbyists are growing increasingly concerned that the Trump administration will withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NYT).

  • The Trump administration’s demand that trade agreements be “reciprocal” is incoherent and would likely harm the American economy, argue Simon Lester and Inu Manak at Cato@Liberty.

A leaked document shows that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is attempting to centralize foreign policy decisionmaking within a small group of senior aides (Politico).

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson insisted President Trump will not block European trade to Iran (WSJ).

Military experts worry that President Trump’s generals are too engaged in political matters, writes Mark Perry at Politico.

Congress’s failure to pass a budget and full-year appropriations bill before the start of the fiscal year hurts national defense, writes John B. Wood at the Hill.

The U.S. nuclear arsenal is far larger than the country could ever need, writes the Editorial Board of the New York Times.

The military’s role as the most trusted institution in America could be coming to an end, writes Daniel W. Drezner at the Washington Post.


Updates | The Week of January 22, 2018

1/28/18  //  Daily Update

President Trump's Guantánamo "policy" is best understood as an extension of his anti-Muslim bigotry, wrote Nimra Azmi and Sirine Shebaya at Take Care. The terrorist watchlist statistics from last week's DOJ and DHS exaggerate the threat of terrorism, argued Harsha Panduranga at Just Security. The Pentagon's new National Defense Strategy contains notable omissions related to climate change and the use of special operations forces.

Updates | The Week of January 22, 2018

1/28/18  //  Daily Update

President Trump threatened to take aid away from Palestine if Palestinian leadership remained unwilling to negotiate with Israel. Vice President Mike Pence announced that the new embassy in Jerusalem would open in 2019.

Updates | The Week of January 15, 2018

1/14/18  //  Daily Update

In a series of tweets, President Trump wavers between opposition and support of FISA reauthorization. On the 16th anniversary of the prison’s founding, Guantanamo Bay prisoners file mass habeas petition.

Zachary Piaker

Columbia Law School