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Tag Archive: ISIL

Assessing the Damage of the President’s Intelligence Sharing with Russia


Following the Washington Post’s revelations Monday night, the legality of President Donald Trump’s decision to share sensitive information related to the ISIS bomb threat to airliners with senior Russian officials has been generally accepted. This leaves the manner in which he chose to share this information as the issue that must be addressed, from the perspective of conducting what the intelligence community refers to as a “damage assessment.”

How much damage has been caused by this disclosure, and the subsequent leaks to the media?

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Don’t Be So Quick to Call Those Disclosures “Legal”

Following multiple reports that President Trump disclosed highly classified information to Russian officials at a private meeting, various legal experts have asserted that Trump broke no laws. An impressively thorough blog post on Lawfare noted that “the very purpose of the classification system is to protect information the President, usually through his subordinates, thinks sensitive.…   continue »

Targeted Killing Under Trump: Law, Policy, and Legal Risk

A recent Presidential Memorandum directs the Secretary of Defense to develop a preliminary plan to defeat ISIS. The plan “shall include . . . recommended changes to any United States rules of engagement and other United States policy restrictions that exceed the requirements of international law.” As Luke Hartig recently explained, these Obama-era policy restrictions—particularly those in the well-known 2013 Presidential Policy Guidance (PPG)—are supported by a range of moral, political, and military considerations.  continue »

New Symposium Scholarship on Human Shields

We have covered on these pages the legal and moral issues surrounding the use of human shields in contemporary armed conflict situations. The American Society of International Law, in a new partnership with Cambridge Press, released yesterday its first symposium edition of the American Journal of International Law Unbound, which provides stereoscopic perspectives on this phenomenon, which has become “endemic” in modern warfare.…   continue »

The Troubling Application of the Political Question Doctrine to Congressional Force Authorizations

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Nov. 21 dismissed the suit brought by U.S. Army Captain Nathan Michael Smith challenging the legality of the military campaign against ISIS under Operation Inherent Resolve. The opinion by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly rejecting the suit on political question grounds is troubling.…   continue »