Episode 121: The Persian Gulf of Tonkin

May 15, 2019

In this week’s episode, Steve Vladeck and Bobby Chesney debate and discuss the latest national security legal news, including:

  • Iran – The prospect of some form of armed conflict with Iran, and the various legal issues this raises.  Among other things, we address the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs, the War Powers Resolution, Article I and Article II War Powers, and UN Charter Article 51.  The discussion highlights the central role (legally, politically, and diplomatically) that might be played by a precipitating incident either in the Persian Gulf or in Iraq.
  • Military Commissions – While there is no major development to report, we do have an array of smaller decisions on matters relating to recusals, preservation of evidence, and the like.
  • SCOTUS – We coin the phrase “starry-eyed decisis” as we explore this week’s portentous stare decisis dispute in the state sovereign immunity case.
  • Media and Propaganda – We note a DOJ victory in securing an order requiring a Florida company to register as a Russian agent based on its broadcasting of Sputnik content.
  • Honestly, it wasn’t wise to cheat on sanctions – We discuss DOJ’s effort to seize a North Korean vessel (the Wise Honest) that was impounded in Indonesia for sanctions-busting.
  • Leak Prosecution – We compare the prosecution of Daniel Hale for leaking classified information to Jeremy Scahill and the Intercept, contrasting the scenario with that involving Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, and Wikileaks.
  • Too Conflicted? DOJ is trying to oust former Deputy AG James Cole from representing Huawei.  We discuss this unusual intersection of the DC revolving door with the challenge of protecting classified information in litigation.

Oh, the frivolity?  Yes, there was a tv show on Sunday night.  Something about thrones and dragons.  Your hosts have opinions.

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