“Going About His Business:” Bloomberg Discusses the Mueller Probe’s Effect on the Midterms with William C. Banks

William Banks, a professor at Syracuse University Law School, discusses the latest progress in the Mueller Probe, and how the probe, which began in the spring of 2017, could impact the midterm elections.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/audio/2018-10-16/affirmative-action-not-on-trial-in-harvard-case-podcast

Banks’ segment begins at 8m 25s. 

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Setting the Terms: William C. Banks Discusses Christopher Wray’s Senate Testimony

Professor Emeritus William C. Banks discusses the recent Senate testimony by FBI director Christopher Wray, who named China as the number one threat to the US. Banks also discusses the FBI’s handling of the second Justice Kavanaugh background check and the future of domestic unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) regulation, among other topics raised at the hearing.

Banks’ segment starts at 6m 09s

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“Questions About Character”: William C. Banks Speaks to Bloomberg About Kavanaugh Probe

Trump Advocates “Very Comprehensive” Kavanaugh Probe

(Bloomberg Law | Oct. 1, 2018) William Banks, professor at Syracuse University Law School, discusses President Trump’s Monday comments, where he supported a “very comprehensive” investigation into sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Plus, Bloomberg News Supreme Court reporter Greg Stohr, discusses the start of the Supreme Court’s fall term and how Kavanaugh’s confirmation is impacting the high court. They speak with Bloomberg’s Peter Barnes and Amy Morris.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/audio/2018-10-01/trump-advocates-very-comprehensive-kavanaugh-probe-radio

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NCCIT Publishes Report on “Torture Flights” from North Carolina Airfields

The North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture (NCCIT)—which counts as one of its Commissioners INSCT Research and Practice Associate David M. Crane—has published Torture Flights: North Carolina’s Role in the CIA Rendition and Torture Program.

“The report demonstrates to state officials across the country how illegal activity at the federal level may come to implicate state actors in potential liability.”

The report presents NCCIT’s investigatory findings on the issue of whether individuals or business entities located in the state of North Carolina, and acting out of its territory, participated in the US Government’s CIA-led torture program during the President George W. Bush Administration.

The report’s sobering finding is that they did.

The connection between North Carolina and the government-sponsored torture of the era is clear, write the authors. Aircraft operated by at least one local company—flown by North Carolina pilots out of North Carolina airfields that were subsidized by North Carolina revenues and subject to a measure of North Carolina regulation—were engaged in the transport of dozens of captive individuals to multiple foreign sites, some managed by US officials, others by foreign governments, to be tortured.

Torture Flights not only documents North Carolina’s connection to torture, it helps illuminate one of the least known aspects of the CIA’s infamous “Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation” program, the rendition element.

According to the authors, the “torture taxi” system that transported prisoners relied on a network of private contractors that were engaged in this activity, both important cogs in the machinery of torture.

“There are many dark corners that need to see the light of truth related to America’s so called War on Terror,” says Crane. “This import report shines that light of truth.”

Furthermore, the report demonstrates to state officials across the country how illegal activity at the federal level may come to implicate state actors in potential liability.

“Indeed, because the commission of torture or conspiring in the commission of torture is a crime in North Carolina (as it is in every state), it would be surprising if North Carolina state authorities would not now launch their own investigation to determine whether or not state laws were broken or whether evidence relevant to open investigations in other countries should not be sought,” suggest the authors.

Read the report here.

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“A Saturday Night Massacre on a Monday?” William C. Banks Speaks to Bloomberg Law

Rosenstein, Trump Set Thursday Meeting at White House

(Bloomberg Law | Sept. 24, 2018) William Banks, a professor at Syracuse University Law School, discusses Rod Rosenstein’s future in the Justice Department after Monday reports that he offered his verbal resignation to the White House. Plus, Steve Sanders, a professor at Indiana University Maurer School of Law, discusses Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation, which is in further doubt on Monday after a second woman accused the appeals court judge of sexual misconduct. They speak with Bloomberg’s June Grasso.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/audio/2018-09-24/rosenstein-trump-set-thursday-meeting-at-white-house-radio

 

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William C. Banks Speaks to the Media About FISA Declassification

Trump: Declassified Russia probe papers expose ‘bad things’

(Associated Press | Sept. 18, 2019) President Donald Trump is flexing his executive power to declassify secret documents in the Russia investigation, an extraordinary move he says will ensure that “really bad things” at the FBI are exposed. But the decision, made against the backdrop of Trump’s spiraling outrage at the special counsel’s Russia investigation, may expose sensitive sources and methods and brush up against privacy law protections, experts say.

“The Privacy Act is a big hurdle here unless Congress takes control of the materials and tries to release them themselves.”

The order is likely to further divide the president from the intelligence agencies he oversees and raises new concerns that Trump is disclosing government secrets for his own political gain. Critics of the move say the president has a clear conflict by trying to discredit an investigation in which he himself is a subject …

… William Banks, a Syracuse University national security expert, said that by making the information public, Trump is essentially overruling the decisions of career officials intent on keeping it from foreign intelligence services, terrorist groups and other adversaries.

He said while there’s nothing to prevent Trump from releasing the bulk of the information identified by the White House, he may face some problems releasing the Russia-related text messages because of the federal Privacy Act, which governs the type of personal information the government can make public.

“The Privacy Act is a big hurdle here unless Congress takes control of the materials and tries to release them themselves,” Banks said.

The FBI earlier released in heavily redacted format 412 pages of surveillance applications and court orders related to Page. Monday’s declassification order covers 21 pages of a 101-page June 2017 application to renew the warrant — the last of four filed by the Justice Department. His communications were monitored for nearly a year starting in October 2016 …

Read the whole article.


Trump says declassifying Russia docs is about ‘total transparency,’ but some disagree

(WJLA ABC 7 | Sept. 18, 2019) President Donald Trump said Tuesday he wants “total transparency” in the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, calling some of the details revealed so far “a disgrace to our nation,” but critics say his latest effort to shine light on the probe is a self-serving attempt to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller.

“If you want a more complete understanding of what went on here, you wouldn’t declassify two pages here or four pages there. You’d declassify all of it, and that’s not what they did.”

“This is a witch hunt,” Trump told reporters before a meeting with President Andrzej Duda of Poland. “Republicans are seeing it. The Democrats know it’s a witch hunt, too, but they don’t want to admit it because that’s not good politics for them. But it’s a terrible witch hunt, and it’s hurt our country.”

In a statement issued Monday night, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders announced the president is ordering the declassification of selected documents related to the FBI’s applications to a Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act court to conduct surveillance of Carter Page, a former adviser to Trump’s campaign, and text messages sent by several officials involved in the investigation. Sanders said Trump was acting “at the request of a number of committees of Congress, and for reasons of transparency” …

… “What’s being released here has been reviewed by officials in the executive branch already and they decided the documents should not be declassified,” said William Banks, former director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University.

National security law experts say there is no precedent for a commander in chief selectively declassifying materials from an investigation of his own conduct, but they agree it is within Trump’s authority to do so …

… According to Banks, FISA proceedings are secretive for good reason, and pulling back the curtain could demoralize intelligence and law enforcement officers.

“Anytime the FISA materials see the light of day, our adversaries can learn more about the processes we use to keep tabs on them,” he said …

… Experts and former DOJ officials have warned of the risk to intelligence-gathering methods in this investigation and others if the sources identified in the documents are exposed

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., dismissed these concerns, telling Fox News host Laura Ingraham Monday night it is “laughable” to claim this declassification endangers national security.

“This is really full transparency for the American people,” Nunes said.

Banks rejected the notion that declassifying 21 hand-picked pages of the FISA applications is about “full transparency.”

“If you want a more complete understanding of what went on here, you wouldn’t declassify two pages here or four pages there. You’d declassify all of it, and that’s not what they did,” he said …

Read the whole article.

 

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28th Annual Review of the Field of National Security Law Conference

INSCT Director James E. Baker and Professor Emeritus William C. Banks will represent the Institute at the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security’s 28th Annual Review of the Field of National Security Law Conference, taking place Nov. 1-2, 2018 at the Capitol Hilton in Washington DC.

This premier national security law conference includes panels focusing on vital topics, including:

  • Space Law: Issues and Progress
  • Legal Issues Confronting the Military National Security Law Community
  • The 4th Amendment, Surveillance and the Future, preceded by a special keynote luncheon address by Glenn Gerstell, General Counsel, National Security Agency
  • Reviewing Current Controversies Surrounding Security Clearances
  • Ethical Challenges of the National Security Lawyer: A Roundtable Discussion
  • Global Trade and National Security
  • The Movement of Individuals Across Borders and National Security
  • SCOTUS, GTMO, the FISC, and More: The Role of the Courts in Shaping National Security Law
  • Social Media: 2020
  • The Role and Duty of the National Security Lawyer: The Audience Responds

Judge Baker will host the panel on “The Role and Duty of the National Security Lawyer: The Audience Responds,” and Banks will moderate “SCOTUS, GTMO, the FISC and More: The Role of the Courts in Shaping National Security Law.” This panel also will feature discussants Amy Jeffress, Partner, Arnold & Porter; Mary McCord, Visiting Professor of Law and Senior Litigator from Practice, Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, Georgetown University Law Center; and the Hon. Reggie Walton, Senior Judge, US District Court for the District of Columbia.

More information and registration

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James E. Baker Speaks at Dean Rusk International Law Center

INSCT Director James E. Baker spoke at the Dean Rusk International Law Center, part of the University of Georgia School of Law, on Sept. 13, 2018.

Baker spoke on “National Security Decision-Making.” The talk was co-sponsored by the University of Georgia School of International & Public Affairs and the International Law Society.

James_E.Baker_Rusk_Center

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“He Likes to Talk!”: William C. Banks Discusses Trump’s Mueller Interview Comments with Bloomberg Law

Trump Says He is Open to Mueller Interview

(Bloomberg Law | Sept. 7, 2018) William Banks, a professor at Syracuse University Law School, discusses President Trump’s Friday comments aboard Air Force One, where he said that he would be open to an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller “under the right conditions.” Plus, Bloomberg News Supreme Court reporter Greg Stohr discusses the final day of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. They speak with Bloomberg’s June Grasso.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/audio/2018-09-07/trump-says-he-is-open-to-mueller-interview-radio

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