JNSLP Video: The Border & Beyond Now Online

The Border and Beyond: The National Security Implications of Migration, Refugees, and Asylum under US and International Law

February 28, 2017 | Georgetown Law

Panel 1: Immigration, Homeland Security, and the Constitution (9:05 – 10:30 AM)

Panelists will engage in debate on various constitutional issues, such as the separation of powers and the protection of civil liberties, in the context of recent events in the US in which both migration and national security have been implicated.

Moderator: William Banks, Director, Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism, Syracuse University


  • Jen Daskal, Professor of Criminal, National Security, and Constitutional Law, American University Washington College of Law; former Assistant Attorney General for National Security, US Department of Justice
  • Lucas Guttentag, Professor of the Practice of Law at Stanford Law School; Founder and former National Director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project
  • Marty Lederman, Professor of Constitutional Law at Georgetown University Law Center; former Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the Department of Justice’s Office Legal Counsel
Panel 2: The US Refugee and Asylum Legal Regime (10:35 AM – 12:00 PM)

Panelists will explore the current status of US asylum and refugee laws and how the screening processes factor into national concerns. The panel also will discuss the Trump Administration’s recent executive orders relating to border security and refugee policy in the US.

ModeratorJason Dzubow, Partner, Dzubow & Pilcher, PLLC; Adjunct Professor of Asylum Law, George Washington University Law School


  • Mark Hetfield, President and CEO, HIAS, the oldest international migration and refugee resettlement agency in the US.
  • Anne Richard, Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration; former Vice President of Government Relations and Advocacy, International Rescue Committee
  • Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, University of Maryland-College Park
Luncheon Keynote Address by Elisa Massamino, President & CEO, Human Rights First (12:30 PM – 1:05 PM)
Panel 3: Migration and Security Threats Abroad (1:15 PM – 2:40 PM)

Panelists will discuss the security implications of the refugee crisis in Europe and the potential legal obligations that the US might have under international law to assist its allies in handling the situation.

Moderator: David Stewart, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center


  • Bec Hamilton, Professor of National Security, International, and Criminal Law, American University Washington College of Law
  • Karin Johnston, Professor of International Politics, American University School of International Service
  • A. Trevor Thrall, Senior Fellow, Defense and Foreign Policy Department, Cato Institute; Associate Professor, George Mason University Schar School of Policy and Government
  • Mark Iozzi, Democratic Counsel, House Foreign Affairs Committee

Countering Violent Extremism: What Challenges? What Opportunities? What Future?

SU Law Event

DATE: Wednesday, March 29, 2017
TIME: 11:50 a.m. – 12:50 p.m.
ROOM: Hagelin Lecture Hall (442 Dineen Hall)

Part of the Andrew Berlin Family National Security Research Fund


  • C. Cora True-Frost, Associate Professor of Law, Syracuse Law
  • Hugh Handeyside, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project; former Analyst, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA Counterterrorism Center

“Countering violent extremism” measures relate to surveillance, disruptions of technology, as well as interventions by the state in areas traditionally considered to be outside the concern of security, such as education.  For example, teachers in the United Kingdom must report signs that students are “vulnerable to radicalization.” In pilot cities in the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice are reaching out to civil society—including non-governmental organizations and community members—in order to “identify the most vulnerable” individuals in order to “help them build resilience.”  The Department of State and US AID have conducted efforts to counter violent extremism in other countries, as well. The future of these programs are in transition under the new administration. This panel will engage the challenges and opportunities presented by CVE initiatives, and discuss their future direction.

“Feigned” Surprise: William C. Snyder Discusses US Attorneys’ Dismissals with Sinclair

‘You’re fired’: Experts confirm Trump’s dismissal of 46 U.S. attorneys was totally normal

(Sinclair Broadcasting Group | March 13, 2017) Immediate outrage over any action taken by President Donald Trump has become the new normal, so it wasn’t a surprise to see a wave of criticism follow the administration’s call for the resignations of the remaining 46 U.S. attorneys appointed by Barack Obama.

Syracuse University law professor and former assistant U.S. attorney William C. Snyder made clear that all United States attorneys are presidential appointees who are typically replaced at the change of administration. “Any surprise at that is feigned.”

Within President Trump’s first month in office, 47 of the 93 U.S. attorneys offered their resignation. They were political appointees under Barack Obama and most if not all recognized the fact that after January 20, their days under the new administration were numbered. On Friday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivered the message for the remaining attorneys to immediately step down from their posts.

This kind of house-cleaning at the Department of Justice is entirely typical for a new administration, even though different presidents have approached the matter in different ways. On Monday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer characterized the transition, saying it is “standard operating procedure for a new administration around this time to ask for the resignation of all the U.S. attorneys” …

… Syracuse University law professor and former assistant U.S. attorney William C. Snyder made clear that all United States attorneys are presidential appointees who are typically replaced at the change of administration. “Any surprise at that is feigned.” The way that process is done, however, differs depending on the administration …

… Bill Clinton was a different story. He broke with tradition in an even more dramatic way than President Trump, firing all 93 U.S. attorneys in one day. In March 1993, Clinton’s Attorney General, Janet Reno penned a similar letter to the one Sessions sent out on Friday calling for every attorney to submit his or her resignation.

“I remember it well,” said Snyder, who was serving as an assistant U.S. attorney at the time. “I was with the person who was named Acting U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia that afternoon, and he was completely shocked and surprised to have been named. He had received no contact from anyone about that, prior to the call from the White House advising that he was named Acting U.S. Attorney.”

The man he was scheduled to replace, U.S. Attorney Jay B. Stephens, challenged the order to resign. The perception at the time was that his dismissal was politically motivated and intended to stop his ongoing investigation of a Clinton ally in Congress for financial crimes. Stephens, like Bharara, was ultimately fired and the scandal received ample press coverage at the time.

“The Clinton action in 1993 was viewed with outrage as a departure from the norm,” Snyder explained …

To read the complete story, click here.

David M. Crane Explains NC Commission’s Investigation of Rendition Program to The Independent

A major new inquiry has just been opened and it could reveal just how complicit the UK was in CIA torture

(The Independent | March 16, 2017) A major new inquiry has just been launched into the role of the US state of North Carolina in the CIA’s torture and rendition of terrorism suspects after 9/11. The CIA apparently used an aviation contractor based in North Carolina to fly kidnapped captives to secret prisons around the world, where they were brutally tortured. It is estimated that at least thirty four individuals were transported by the CIA front company, Aero Contractors, including a number of Britons.

“Disclosures of new information could fuel litigation and serve as a ‘catalyst for further action.’”

Aero’s involvement in the CIA program was first revealed in 2005, prompting local activists to press for an official investigation. But, despite repeated meetings with state officials, including North Carolina’s Attorney General, no action was taken. According to Dr Christina Cowger, chair of the inquiry’s board, they were “taking their cue” from President Obama, who had decided in 2009 not to prosecute Bush officials. Their lack of cooperation led to the formation of a citizens’ inquiry, the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture.

After years of preparation, that inquiry is now ready to go. It is led by several commissioners, including some with high-level government service. At a briefing for reporters on Wednesday, Jennifer Daskal, one of the commissioners and a former official in President Obama’s Justice Department, explained that the inquiry was “important” due to the “relative lack of significant accountability” for CIA wrongdoing so far and “particularly important” in light of President Donald Trump’s willingness to consider reviving CIA torture …

… “Certainly the UK will be brought into this,” said commissioner David Crane, a professor at Syracuse University College of Law and founding chief prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Other nations which held detainees transported by Aero Contractors, such as Morocco and Poland, will also be examined. The inquiry may help lift the lid on how many countries participated in the program. It was believed that 54 were involved, but new research shows that 15 more countries, including France and Japan, cooperated …

… The inquiry is unlikely to result in any criminal investigations, given the history of impunity for CIA torture so far. But disclosures of new information could fuel litigation and serve as a “catalyst for further action”, David Crane told me. Jonathan Freeman, another commissioner and a fellow at the Truman National Security Project, hopes that the inquiry will create a “transparent process” and effect “a change in policy, even on a subtle level”. But the going might be tough, especially with Trump in the White House.

To read the complete story, click here.

See also: Associate Press/Charlotte Observer: Citizens’ group aims to investigate CIA rendition program (March 15, 2017) 

Great Merit: David M. Crane Discusses Ukraine’s ICJ Case Against Russia With UATV

On March 6, 2017, representatives of Ukraine and Russia met at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, to argue claims made by Ukraine about Russia’s involvement in the annexation of Crimea and in alleged operations in Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine.

Specifically, Ukraine accuses Russia of violating the 1999 International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism by supporting eastern Ukrainian separatists. It also claims that Ukrainian and Tatar minorities in Crimea are being treated unfairly under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

“Ukraine’s Claim in The Hague has Great Merit” — Former Chief Prosecutor for UN Court

(UATV | March 13, 2017)

Israel Passes Law Barring Foreign BDS Activists From Entry

By Miriam Elman

(Re-published from Legal Insurrection | March 9, 2017) On Monday night (March 6), Israel’s parliament (the Knesset) passed in its second and final reading a law barring the entry of foreign nationals who have “knowingly and publicly” called for boycotting Israel or who “represent an organization” that calls for such a boycott.

The law extends the ban to those foreign visitors (excluding permanent residents) who back the anti-Israel BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) movement and to those who support the boycott of settlement goods in Judea and Samaria/the West Bank.

From Inside Higher Education: Writing for the blog Legal Insurrection, Miriam Elman, an associate professor of political science at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School, described the ban as “a perfectly reasonable move for Israel to prevent foreigners from abusing tourist visas in order to try to destroy Israel.” “Israel isn’t particularly unique in refusing entry to people determined to be threats to the state, but the law makes such bans more transparent because individuals would no longer be refused entry into Israel on a case-by-case basis, left solely up to the discretion of the government,” she wrote.

The legislation, which passed with 46 votes in favor and 28 against, was sponsored by center-right political parties and had been in the works for over a year, as discussed in detail in my prior post, Will Israel Bar Entry of Foreign BDS Activists?

As noted, the law aims to combat anti-Israel, BDS-promoting tourist activism that’s gone on unimpeded in the country for years. These foreign activists foment and participate in often violent protests, then take film of the Israeli police response in order to demonize Israel in furtherance of the boycott movement.

To my mind, it’s a perfectly reasonable move for Israel to prevent foreigners from abusing tourist visas in order to try to destroy Israel.

How Israel’s New Anti-BDS Entry Law Will Work

The new legislation is supposed to improve the current situation by replacing an existing law that grants any foreign visitor from a friendly country an automatic 3-month entry visa, except for those who the Interior Minister specifically barred.

The new law flips the situation around such that entry for individuals affiliated with designated pro-BDS organizations would be automatically banned, unless the Interior Minister allows it.

So a key component of the law is “shifting the burden” from the state to the foreign activists themselves. Now, instead of the Ministry of the Interior having to account for why someone shouldn’t be admitted into the country, it’ll be up to the BDS-supporting visitors to “persuade the state” why she or he should be allowed in.

The law aims to address the absurd situation that’s developed in Israel where foreign BDS activists enter Israel under false pretenses and routinely take advantage of automatically issued tourist visas to engage in political warfare against the state.

Every nation on the planet is entitled to control its borders and determine which foreign nationals can enter. Israel isn’t particularly unique in refusing entry to people determined to be threats to the state, but the law makes such bans more transparent because individuals would no longer be refused entry into Israel on a case-by-case basis, left solely up to the discretion of the government.

I wrote in my prior post:

“By making the default option not to grant a visa unless the government says otherwise, the new law would effectively identify and advertise which of the dozens of NGOs currently operating inside Israel are deemed to be harmful to the Jewish state.”

Bottom line: As Naftali Bennett—education minister and leader of the Jewish Home party—said on Twitter (see in Hebrew below) when it passed, the law is “necessary and logical” and “let’s Israel defend itself from those who wish it ill.”

Barring Entry Only to Major BDS Leaders Who Call for Israel’s Destruction

Will a left-wing Jewish American college student who tweeted using the hashtag #BDS or who called for a boycott on her Facebook page be turned away at Ben Gurion Airport because of the new anti-BDS entry law?

What about someone who made a one-time donation to a BDS-supporting organization, or who signed a pro-BDS petition at some point in the last few years?

None of these people would be blocked (although, as I noted in my prior post, there’s always the chance that an over-zealous Interior Ministry official will enforce the law improperly).

The law is meant to advance steps to “oppose those who call for Israel’s demise.” But it’s supposed to apply to “major BDS activists” and foreign BDS campaigners “with standing” who can “really impact the situation” by getting others to boycott Israel. It’ll apply to “known organizations” and their main activists and won’t involve any “blacklists” of other individuals.

It certainly won’t be applied to someone who just “posts a comment on Facebook against Israel.”

In the category of those who would be blocked from entry by the new law are BDS-backing foreigners who spend their time in Israel not doing touristy things but collecting false information and ‘evidence’ about Israel’s alleged perfidy and malevolence to spread on social media and to share back home to captive audiences.

Also included will be BDS activists who act to harass and obstruct IDF and security personnel by organizing or participating in violent protests, making contact with representatives of terror organizations, and inciting Palestinians or Jewish settlers to violence …

To read the whole post, click here.

Surveillance of Presidents and People: William C. Banks Speaks to CNN, Bloomberg, Other Media

In the wake of two surveillance-related stories in the past few days, the media have turned to the national security expertise of INSCT Director William C. Banks.

The first story concerns the explosive March 4, 2017, claim made by President Donald J. Trump on Twitter that former President Barack Obama personally ordered a “wiretap” of the Trump presidential campaign before the November 2016 election, presumably to ascertain links between the campaign and the Russian government. This claim led to media questions about how and why a wiretap of phones or electronic communications could be made by the government, the workings of the FISA court (where such a request might lawfully be made), and whether or not President Trump could find and release this information in order to quell confusion and concern. Banks addressed these issues nationally with CNN’s Erin Burnett Outfront (see video clip below); MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show (on background); and the Sinclair Media Group (“Congress poised to investigate Trump’s wiretap claims”).

Secondly, on March 7, 2017, Wikileaks released thousands of documents that appeared to catalog the CIA’s domestic cybersurveillance and cyberespionage capabilities, and in particular new technology that enables the agency to surveil targets via personal electronic devices. Banks discussed this issue on Bloomberg Radio with fellow national security expert Steve Vladeck of the University of Texas School of Law (see audio clip below).

Graham Threatens Subpoena for Trump Wiretap Info

(CNN Erin Burnett Outfront | March 8, 2017)

WikiLeaks Reveals CIA Cyber-Spying Tactics

(Bloomberg Radio | March 8, 2017) Stephen Vladeck, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law, and William Banks, Director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University College of Law, discuss new documents released by WikiLeaks, which, if true, show the extent of the CIA’s abilities to use personal technology devices to monitor seemingly private conversations and messages. They speak with June Grasso and Michael Best on Bloomberg Radio’s “Bloomberg Law.”


Robert Murrett to Speak on UB Panel on Terrorism and Homeland Security

INSCT Deputy Director Robert B. Murrett, a former Director of Naval Intelligence and Director of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, will speak on the SUNY-University at Buffalo (UB) Alumni Panel on Terrorism and Homeland Security on March 9, 2017, Army-Navy Club, Washington, DC.

Other distinguished UB alumni who will offering their insight into critical issues that confront the United Sates are:

  • Pam Benson, Managing Editor, Cipher Brief, and former Senior Producer for National Security, CNN, will moderate the panel.
  • MAJ Donald T. Zajackowski, Political and Military Analyst, US Marine Corps.
  • Christine A. Potosnak, Branch Chief, Administrative Appeals Office, Citizenship and Immigration Services, US Department of Homeland Security.
  • Gregory Michaelidis, Founder and Director, Security Awareness Lab, and former Senior Advisor for Public Affairs, US Department of Homeland Security.


UPDATED: David M. Crane to Serve as Commissioner on North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture

David M. Crane will be joining other distinguished members of the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture project for a conference call press event on March 15, 2017, at 10 a.m. (for details contact John Bagwell).

Other speakers will include Lawrence Wilkerson, Retired U.S. Army Colonel and former Chief of Staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell; Rev. Ben Boswell, Senior Minister at Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC; Jennifer Daskal, former counsel at the US Department of Justice and law professor at American University in Washington, DC; Christina Cowger, Chair of the Board of the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture; and Richard Mahoney, Arizona’s former Secretary of State, and current director of North Carolina State University’s School of Public and International Affairs (moderator). 

As the media advisory states: “In the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the CIA secretly used North Carolina as a staging ground to launch flights which picked up suspected terrorists abroad and transported them to CIA ‘black site’ prisons in Eastern Europe and Asia. There, US personnel could operate beyond the reach of US law and use ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’ or torture, to gather information and intelligence.

“Declassified documents and news reports have confirmed the CIA front company Aero Contractors used North Carolina’s aviation infrastructure and public airports to launch these ‘torture taxi’ flights as part of the United States’ Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI) program.

“This is the first non-governmental inquiry of its kind established to promote transparency and accountability for a state’s role in supporting the CIA’s unlawful RDI program.”

INSCT Affiliated Faculty Member David M. Crane, a resident of North Carolina, has agreed to serve as a Commissioner on the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture (NCCIT).

NCCIT is a non-profit, non-governmental organization created to address the issue of North Carolina’s role in torture and rendition and to craft a model of accountability “that can inspire efforts elsewhere.”

According to the NCCIT website, the state has been closely involved with extraordinary rendition efforts, such as the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI) program, which potentially violate national and international laws. The NCCIT writes that whether in the “black site” jails of proxy nations or in facilities belonging to the US, “captives were held secretly, denied access to families or lawyers, and tortured during their interrogations.”

According to NCCIT, North Carolina’s specific role in the practice of extraordinary rendition revolves around the presence of special forces in the state; its proximity to Langley, VA, the headquarters of the CIA; and the existence rural airports alleged to be staging posts for rendition initiatives. Several aviation companies in the state also are alleged to have helped the CIA with its RDI program and, in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, to have run the “Guantanamo Express” air route:

“So far, human rights investigators have documented that over 135 persons were subjected to extraordinary rendition. In at least 34 documented cases, North Carolina-based jets, pilots, and crews ferried detainees to torture sites for the CIA, and at least 18 of those cases appear in the executive summary of the Senate Torture Report.”

The NCCIT’s mission is to probe North Carolina’s role in CIA extraordinary rendition, enhance transparency, and help build momentum for genuine accountability for US torture, including acknowledgment and redress for the victims and survivors.

Over the next 18 months, NCCIT staff, board members, and volunteers will prepare briefing documents for commissioners, organize expert testimony, coordinate logistics for a hearing, and assist commissioners with publishing a report containing findings and recommendations.

The Internet of Things & You: Exercise Caution

By Christopher Folk

(Re-published from Crossroads: Cybersecurity Law & Policy | March 4, 2017) As we continue to move to a world in which all things are networked and even toys now have connections to the cloud, people need to be cognizant and careful.  According to the Hacker News, in 2015 the toy manufacturer VTech revealed that they had suffered a data breach which resulted in the exfiltration of personally identifiable information (PII) of nearly 5M adults as well as photos of roughly 200K children.  Not only did the breach involve the PII of adults, but also the names, gender, and birthdates of children, which raises a number of additional potential issues, according to the article.  

“Therefore, this is one area where the threat of either legal liability or, dare I say, regulations can be implemented.”

Fast forward to 2017, and yet another toymaker has fallen victim to a massive data breach. Hacker News reported that CloudPets, developed by a California-based company, Spiral Toys, exposed the voice recording of more than two million parents and children as well email addresses and passwords for over 800,000 accounts.  CloudPets are stuffed animals that allow parents and children to send voice messages back and forth via the Internet, according to the article, which further states that Spiral Toys was advised at least four times that their data had been exposed and they failed to take any ameliorative steps.

I have and will continue, to make the argument that cybersecurity requires a baseline approach, especially as the number of connected devices grows at a seemingly exponential rate.  So long as manufacturers are not required to meet minimum cybersecurity hygiene standards, the number of incidents such as those referenced above will crop up as seemingly innocuous devices become the target of choice due to their lax security protocols and lack of safeguards.

In the instances above, the cybersecurity measures in place were either non-existent or rudimentary at best. The encryption was weak, the databases were public, and arguably these companies failed to meet the duty of care owed to consumers and what is likely valuable PII. The databases were reportedly devoid of either social security numbers or credit card information; however, the fact remains that the available data could (and still may) be used as one piece of the puzzle by which additional information can be gleaned, email addresses can be targeted, and passwords can be leveraged to attempt to access additional accounts (in many cases, users have a single password that is used across multiple sites).

This situation should raise a number of red flags for all of us. Consider the world in which we live—our cars are connected, our appliances are connected, children’s toys are now connected. In each case we are providing at least limited information in order to access and utilize all of our connected devices and in so doing we put a large amount of trust that companies will safeguard that data.  

However, as we continue to see, that is often not the case. This is further exacerbated by the “make it work mantra,” wherein the majority of users simply want products to perform as advertised. Thus, consumers will often forego research and understanding of how/where their data is going and will be used so they can get the product to function as quickly as possible.  In the case of these toys, consider a parent who is faced with a child who just wants the toy to do whatever it has been billed and advertised as doing. They are not interested in using complex passwords that are difficult to remember and enter; they are unlikely to research the toy company to determine if they are using two-way encryption or if they offer multi-factor authentication for their devices—they just want the item to work. This scenario raises a whole new set of issues regarding the “human side” of cybersecurity.

Although this is one area where technology could be implemented to manage the cybersecurity of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and still provide ease-of-use, the problem is that companies are ultimately profit-driven. In the absence of financial incentives to bake in additional technology to help safeguard data, while simultaneously enhancing ease-of-use, companies choose the lowest cost-alternative, nearly universally. Therefore, this is one area where the threat of either legal liability or, dare I say, regulations can be implemented via legislation that mandates that companies—especially those in the realm of IoT—take certain steps toward cybersecurity.  

One of the keys will be to draft intelligent legislation that does not merely require that cybersecurity protocols to be baked-in but that additional cybersecurity have “enhanced ease-of-use.” That is, opting out of additional security measures would be purposeful and intentional rather than merely a button to click to get the product to function online, versus navigating through burdensome security-driven setup. Until then, I encourage everyone to become device-aware and consider the information you are providing to IoT companies in order to get something simply “to work.”  In many cases, you may find that having a connected device is neat in theory but scary in practice. Companies perform cost-benefit and risk analyses on a daily basis—so too, should consumers.


Christopher Folk is a candidate (2017) for both a master’s in Forensic Science and Technology (Syracuse University) and a Juris Doctor degree (SU Law).