Say Hello To Our New Friends At Just Security

Screen shot 2013-09-23 at 11.46.58 AMWe do a lot of things here at Emptywheel including occasionally, goofing off. But our primary focus has always been the intersection of security issues, law and politics. I think I can speak for Marcy and Jim, and I certainly do for myself, we would love it if that intersection were not so critical in today’s world. But, alas, it is absolutely critical and, for all the voices out there in the community, there are precious few that deep dive into the critical minutiae.

Today we welcome a new and important player in the field, the Just Security Blog. It has a truly all star and broad lineup of contributors (most all of whom are listed as “editors” of one fashion or another), including good friends such as Steve Vladeck, Daphne Eviatar, Hina Shamsi, Julian Sanchez, Sarah Knuckey and many other quality voices. It is an ambitious project, but one that, if the content already posted on their first day is any indication, will be quite well done. The home of Just Security is the New York University School of Law, so they will have ample resources and foundation from which to operate for the long run.

Ironically, it was little more than three years ago (September 1, 2010 actually) that the Lawfare Blog went live to much anticipation (well, at least from me). Whether you always agree with Ben Wittes, Bobby Chesney, Jack Goldsmith and their contributors or not, and I don’t always, they have done this field of interest a true service with their work product, and are a fantastic and constantly evolving resource. There is little question but that Just Security intends to occupy much of the same space, albeit it in a complimentary as opposed to confrontational manner. In fact, it was Ben Wittes who hosted the podcast with Steve Vladeck and Ryan Goodman that serves as the multi-media christening of Just Security.

Orin Kerr (who is also a must read at Volokh conspiracy), somewhat tongue in cheek, tweeted that the cage match war was on between Lawfare and Just Security. That was pretty funny actually, but Orin made a more serious point in his welcome post today, and a point that I think will greatly interest the readers of Emptywheel:

Whereas Lawfare tend to have a center or center-right ideological orientation, for the most part, Just Security‘s editorial board suggests that it will have a progressive/liberal/civil libertarian voice.

From my understanding, and my knowledge of the people involved, I believe that to be very much the case. And that is a very good thing for us here, and the greater discussion on so much of our work.

So, say hello to our new friends at Just Security, bookmark them and give them a read. Follow them on Twitter. You will be better informed for having done so.

21 replies
  1. joanneleon says:

    Col Morris Davis makes a good point though. He counted 40 attorneys and none of them have a military background, that he could see. An expert blog on national security and not one person with any actual military experience?

    Lawfare & Just Security @lawfareblog 2 natsec blogs, >40 masthead attys, ZERO w/military background (that I see).— Col. Morris Davis (@ColMorrisDavis) September 23, 2013

  2. Yeah A Real Big Shocker says:

    Close ties between White House, NSA spying review

    Stung by public unease about new details of spying by the National Security Agency, President Barack Obama selected a panel of advisers he described as independent experts to scrutinize the NSA’s surveillance programs to be sure they weren’t violating civil liberties and to restore Americans’ trust.

    But with just weeks remaining before its first deadline to report back to the White House, the review panel has effectively been operating as an arm of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees the NSA and all other US spy efforts.

  3. newz4all says:

    Donald Sachtleben, Ex-FBI Agent, To Plead Guilty In AP Leak Case

    A former FBI agent arrested in 2012 on child pornography charges has admitted to being the source of a disclosure to the Associated Press about a foiled al Qaeda plot, Justice Department officials said Monday.

    Donald Sachtleben, a 55-year-old from Carmel, Indiana, was an FBI agent for 25 years and worked on major cases, including the Oklahoma City bombing and the hunt for the Unabomber. According to paperwork filed in federal court, Sachtleben provided a reporter with information gathered during his role as an FBI contractor starting in 2009.

    Sachtleben exchanged text messages with an Associated Press reporter in late April and early May of 2012 before disclosing the national security information in a phone call.

  4. orionATL says:


    i doubt any of this will be about the nuts and bolts of national security issues.

    “lawfare” is simply a shorthand term for “the weblog that espouses the use and interpretation of the law and the constitution for authoritarian purposes under the aegis of ‘national security’ .”

    time will tell just what “just security” will stand for, though one can hope for better given the principals bmaz listed.

  5. orionATL says:


    a former fbi agent gets 3+ years for “one of the most serious leaks blah, blah, blah… plus a child pornography charge?

    and john kiriakou got 3+ years for providing a reporter with a cia colleague’s name which was publicly known?

    blind justice?

    no, far more than that.

    maybe it came in handy that this guy knew something about the fbi and the oklahoma city bombing.

  6. bmaz says:

    @Yeah A Real Big Shocker: @newz4all:

    Just so that everybody here knows that you fraudulently post under multiple sock puppet names, I am addressing this comment to both of you (I could dredge out some of your previous names, but it is not worth the effort).

    First off, this blog does not need constant link dropping from you. Secondly, and you have been warned about this before, sock puppetry is not permitted here. The next violation and spamming of our threads will be your last.

  7. joanneleon says:

    @orionATL: Agree. It was just a point of interest. I did find it surprising though that among 40 writers, none with military background. Then again, it’s possible that some of them do have military experience, but did not put it in a bio.

    What I’m most happy about is that the site will have left and/or civil libertarian leanings.

  8. Snoopdido says:

    Nine members of the Senate Judiciary Committee signed a letter to the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community – Senate Judiciary Committee Members Call For IG Review Of Surveillance Authorities –

    As Charlie Savage of the New York Times noted on twitter –, here are the SJC members who DIDN’T sign that letter:


  9. orionATL says:


    my comment was in no way intended as censorious of you (or col. davis).

    your comment, on the other hand, just happened to provide me with an opportunity to express one of my many prejudices.

    i too have high hopes that the new weblog will add more strong content to the liberal/civil liberties side of the equation.

  10. Valley Girl says:


    Thanks bmaz. I wondered why this newz4all guy was posting links that anyone who had read EW posts or comments, or followed Marcy, Jim, you, or Glenn Greenwald on twitter would already know about. Does he have a blog, or? what? Not sure what the motive is for the spamming, but fwiw, ty.

  11. orionATL says:


    i will add also that i thought yours and col. morris’ concern about lack of actual national security knowledge within both groups was well-placed.

    on reflection, i realized that my comment was in part a reaction to the fact that “lawfare” seems to be a weblog devoted to developing ex-post rationalizations for questionable national security actions that have been taken by the presidency, executive dept lawyers, or congresscattle. given our history since wwii of secrecy in such matters, i regard such rationalization as extraordinarily dangerous folly.

  12. Frank33 says:


    These reports have some disinformation. Some people might think Sarin gas attacks in Syria are False Flag Ops. That is because the Undie Bomber #2 was a False Flag Op that did not happen. AP and their public story stopped it. But did AP know it was a False Flag? The attack did not happen but Undie #2 might have tried to destroy an airliner. Then we would all be told to be very afraid. Then he, #2 was going to return to Al Qaeda Central and do it again.

    These stories imply AP revealed it was a False Flag. That is a lie because Richard Clarke and others embedded in the Spy community revealed it to blame AP.

    That leak led to an AP story that revealed the role of an undercover agent in al Qaeda’s inner circle, federal officials said.

    Yes, a False Flag terror Op is government abuse. First the Spy Community put Undie #1 aboard a flight. And they wanted another Undie type attack. And why was Undie #2 inner circle of terrorists allowed to continue their terror?

    The leak was different from that of a whistleblower because Sachtleben “did not believe that he was exposing government waste, fraud, abuse, or any other kind of government malfeasance or misfeasance”

    US agent, British, Saudi? So many spies. So many leaky facts that differ from False Flag Op to False Flag Op.

    U.S. officials said the leak compromised a U.S. agent working to undermine the Islamic militant group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

  13. Bob W says:

    Just Security looks great, but without a comments section for their posts I’m not likely to visit the site very often…just sayin’

  14. shoirca says:

    Just Security seems to be leaning hard right.

    The articles I read talked about the legitimacy and necessity of unilateral military action against Syria, that Rosen was a legitimate target for investigation in aiding and abetting espionage and that the whole concern over attacks on whistleblowers and the press is overblown and that we should give the govt. the benefit of the doubt.

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