Archives for National Security Law Spring 2023

Day 26 – April 18th


Read about the developing story of the Ukraine document leaks and any potential charges under the Espionage Act.

Russians boasted that just 1% of fake social profiles are caught, leak shows

‘A little kid trying to be important’: locals react to Pentagon leak suspect

Graham “stunned” alleged Pentagon leaker had access to classified intel

The key question – why allow such a low level soldier to have high-level clearance?


Carry over the assignment from last class.

Day 26 – April 13


Dozens of Australian politicians urge US to abandon Julian Assange extradition


We will finish the discussion from last class and then look at Chapter 41.  I am supplementing the material on the Pentagon Papers case. This is an important legal case, which left some questions open that have not yet been answered. It was also a key political case and is the model for subsequent attempts by government employees to influence policy through leaking classified government documents. The leaker, Daniel Ellsberg, was not a hippie peacenik, but a Marine officer and respected theoretician on game theory in war.  As Nixon fought the disclosures and attempted to discredit Ellsburg, he authorized a burglary of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office to collect incriminating information. This derailed Ellsberg’s criminal prosecution and resulted in the dismissal of the charges against him. (The Attorney General himself ended up in jail for crimes related to Watergate and Nixon’s election campaigns.)  Remember, that this was a period when the press self-censored and the idea of a major newspaper publishing this type of leak was unheard of. The paper’s outside lawyers refused to advise it and told the editor to send back the papers and not look at them. Think about the different world we live in now.

Who was Daniel Ellsberg?

Pentagon Papers/Ellsberg Timeline – Drawboard

The Pentagon Papers: The View From The Oval Office

The Post | Official Trailer

This is Speilberg’s movie about the Pentagon Papers. You do not have to watch it for class, but it is great viewing and mostly accurate. Watch the trailer. The case riveted the public as it played out.

The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers

This is a documentary. Watch the trailer.

Read Chapter 41, the supplement, and this addendum to the supplement.

Slides – Chapter 41 – revised

Day 25 – April 11


Pentagon investigating how Ukraine war document marked top-secret appeared online

NBC News: U.S. officials believe ‘leaked’ U.S. classified documents about Ukraine war strength may be real.

Reuters: China simulates striking Taiwan on second day of drills.


We are going to read Chapters 39 and 41 next, which deal with classified information. Counting this class, we have 4 classes left. The additional materials we cover will depend on how much time we spend on these chapters.

Read Chapter 39, the supplement, and this addendum to the supplement.

Slides – Chapter 39 – final

Read these annotated materials for discussion:

The President Executive Order 13526 _ National Archives

SF312 Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreement

Espionage Act


Classification EO – full text

Security Clearances – Personnel Security Standards and Procedures Governing Eligibility for Access to Sensitive Compartmented Information

Appealing a Denial or Revocation of a Clearance

Department of Justice Guide to the Freedom of Information Act – Exemption 1

Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreement (SF312)


Exam Information

Update – The exam will have only multiple-choice questions. (Some questions will only have 2 choices – true/false.)

I have posted some study questions on Moodle so you can get a sense of the types of questions that will be on the exam. These are sample questions and are not meant to be comprehensive. The slides and presentation materials are a good review of the key information in the course when you are preparing for the exam. If any questions depend on detailed information about a statute or regulation, the statute or regulation will be provided as part of the exam materials. You need to know the names of major cases to the extent that you can answer questions that refer to the case, such as, In the Doe case, the court held that National Security Letters were constitutional. T/F

The exam is in class, closed book, using Exam4. The exam questions will be on paper – it is not embedded in the software. If this is a problem for you, you should talk to Assoc. Dean Henry for any necessary accommodation.

If you feel any of the multiple-choice questions are problematic, you may add a section to your exam in the Exam4 software to list the question number, your answer, and your comments for each problematic question. I read these before the exams are graded and exclude any questions that I agree are problematic.

Exam Q & A – I will post questions from students and my answers on this page to assure that any important information is available to all students. The most recent questions will be posted at the top.

Day 24 – April 4


‘Vulkan files’ leak reveals Putin’s global and domestic cyberwarfare tactics

Finland joins NATO


Finish Chapter 25

Slides – Chapter 25 – final

Chapter 26

Slides – Chapter 26 – final

Day 23 – March 30


Wall Street Journal reporter arrested in Russia on spying charges


Finish Chapter 24

Read Chapter 25

Slides – Chapter 25

Day 22 – March 28


You Have No Privacy—the Government Already Bought It From Tech Companies

New Records Detail DHS Purchase and Use of Vast Quantities of Cell Phone Location Data


A lot of this material should be familiar from ACJ. We will concentrate on the national security aspects of the material.

Slides – Chapter 22 – final (from last class).

Chapter 23

Slides – Chapter 23 – final.


Slides – Chapter 24 –  final.

Day 21 – March 23


Taiwan recalls ambassador from Honduras, prepares to lose another diplomatic ally to China


Read Chapter 22

Slides – Chapter 22 – revised


Review of Four FISA Applications and Other Aspects of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane Investigation

Day 20 – March 21


Situation in Ukraine: ICC judges issue arrest warrants against Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova

After arrest warrant for Putin, Russia opens case against ICC


Finish Chapter 20

Read Chapter 21

Slides – Chapter 21 – revised


Day 19 – March 16


Why Countries Are Trying to Ban TikTok

Video footage released of US drone forced down by Russian fighter jet


Chapter 20

Slides – Chapter 20 – final

Day 18 – March 14


Pentagon map shows Chinese outposts in South China Sea Spratly Islands.

Ron DeSantis Says Protecting Ukraine Is Not a Key U.S. Interest

ICC to open war crimes cases on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine


Chapter 19

Slides – Chapter 19 – Draft


Two views of the CIA covert spycraft and covert operations.

FIRST CHAPTER – ‘Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA’

Legacy of Ashes – NYT review

Legacy of Ashes – CIA review

Day 17 – March 9


Oral argument in Gonzalez v. Google LLC (discussed at the end of last class)

A key issue before the court is that the immediate result of limiting Section 230 immunity would likely be the end of moderation, except for specifically prohibited content such as child porn.

Intelligence Suggests Pro-Ukrainian Group Sabotaged Pipelines, U.S. Officials Say

Ukraine Suffered More Data-Wiping Malware Last Year Than Anywhere, Ever


Chapters 17 & 18 from last class.

Slides – Chapters 17 & 18 – draft

Check back for news and additional resources, including slides.


National Intelligence Priorities Framework (Jan 7, 2021)

Memorandum on Renewing the National Security Council System (FEBRUARY 04, 2021)

Day 16 – March 7



We will finish the materials from last class and discuss the national security implications of social media and personal electronics in modern life. Look for national security disinformation on social media.

Slides – Chapter 14 – updated

Read Chapters 17&18, the introduction to the intelligence agencies. We will start those materials Tuesday and finish on Thursday.

Day 15 – March 2


Could deep boreholes solve our nuclear waste problem?


Chapter 14 – be sure to read the sections in the Supplement as well.

Slides – Chapter 14

Materials for use in class – review ahead of time if you have the opportunity.

The TOR project

Demonstration of a software control system hack destroying an electrical generator

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency




Day 11 – 14 Feb


Why it takes a missile to shoot down a balloon made of Saran wrap.

Ordinary Russians Want Us to Freeze to Death

What is Russia’s Wagner Group of mercenaries in Ukraine?

Wagner Group Operations in Africa

U.S. designates Russian firm Wagner Group as criminal organization


Finish material from last class.

One of the major legal questions raised by the Ukraine war is whether Russian soldiers are committing war crimes. We need to review the law of war before we turn to the Ukraine war. This is also critical information for our later discussion of cyberwar.

First, watch this short video: Rules of war (in a nutshell)

Then read Chapter 9.

Slides – Chapter 9 – final

The law of war is operationalized in The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Land Warfare (2019). (Scan this, but you do not need to read it in detail.) This document incorporates the laws of war into the military standards for warfare, which are then subject to enforcement through the Uniform Code of Military Justice (2019). While does not make them general law, as would a statute, it does make them binding on the military.  Read Chapter 1 of The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Land Warfare (2019) to CLASSES OF PERSONS, p. 1-11.  Study the chart on p. 1-6 that summarizes the basic principles. Also, read the short supplementary materials for Chapters 8 and 9 that I have emailed you. These came out after the supplement was published.


What Really Happened on 16 March 1968? What Lessons Have Been Learned? A Look at the My Lai Incident Fifty Years Later


Day 10 – Feb 9


Chinese spy balloon contained technology to monitor communication signals, US says

Exclusive: Iranian drones appear to contain modified explosives designed for maximum damage to Ukrainian infrastructure, report finds

Russia’s war in Ukraine


Finish the materials from last class.

Slides for Chapter 7 – revised

Slides for Chapter 8 – revised

We are going to hold the Ukraine war until next class.

Day 9 – 7 Feb


‘Total miscalculation’: China goes into crisis management mode on balloon fallout

Neo-Nazi leader and Maryland woman allegedly plotted to ‘completely destroy’ Baltimore, Justice Department says – Charging documents


We are going to cover three short chapters next week, 6-8. These have companion materials in the supplement, including a substantial section on the Ukraine war on p. 34 of the supplement. We will look hard at the Ukraine war during this section.

Slides for Chapter 6 – revised

Slides for Chapter 7 – revised

Slides for Chapter 8 – draft

Day 8 – 2 Feb


Not today, I do not want to get bogged down.


Finish Chapter 5

Slides for Chapter 5 – Revised (I clarified some slides in today’s section and add some to better illustrate the DFE)

Day 7 – 31 Jan


Slate Money: Chip War

Access to sophisticated computer chips is a primary battleground in national security law. This podcast discusses the chip war between the US and China, and why chips are the key strategic value of Taiwan. In a related story, the two key countries that build the equipment to make chips have agreed to not sell to China: Japan, Netherlands Agree to Limit Exports of Chip-Making Equipment to China


Finish Chapter 4

Slides for Chapter 4 from last class. Slightly revisions in the slides we did not cover last class.

Read Chapter 5 over the weekend. This will carry us through the next class as well.

Slides for Chapter 5 – Revised

Day 6 – 26 Jan

Moodle Attendance

There are three options to choose for attendance status: present, corrected, and absent. Moodle auto-populated the point allocation for each, giving “present” 2 points, “corrected” 1 point, and “absent” 0 points.

As the “corrected” status is merely used for administrative purposes, and functionally serves the same purpose as “present,” the point allocations for both “present” and “corrected” have been set to 1.


Breaking news – Biden Announces Abrams Tanks to be Delivered to Ukraine

Great resource – The Modern War Institute (West Point)

The trillion-dollar coin scheme, explained by the guy who invented it

Debt Ceilings, Bombs, Cliff and the Trillion Dollar Coin


Slides for Chapter 4 – revised

Carry over the assignment from last class (day 5)

Day 5 – 24 Jan


Students and Experts Agree: TikTok Bans Are Useless

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test Is a Smashing Success

BBC: Ukraine war: Germany won’t block export of its Leopard 2 tanks, foreign minister says.

Presidental emergency powers and the debt crisis

The debt limit catch-22: Will Congress hand Biden its power of the purse?

Biden Can Raise the Debt Ceiling Without Congress


We will finish discussing Chapter 3. Slides for Chapter 3 – revised

Read Chapter 4. I have introduced most of the issues in Chapter 4 as we went through Chapter 3. That should allow us to cover the material more efficiently. We will not finish this chapter in one class, but we will go as far as we have time. Some of the early issues in the chapter make more sense after you have read the latter part of the chapter.

Read the supplement pp. 2-7. There is an edited excerpt from U.S. House of Representatives v. Mnuchin which finds that Congress does have standing to bring a challenge to a violation of congressional limitations on the use of appropriated money. There is also a note on the final disposition of Trump v. Sierra Club, which ends in limbo when the Biden administration ended the state of emergency and asked the Supreme Court to remove the case from its docket.

Slides for Chapter 4 – revised


Day 4 – 19 Jan


How the Arizona Attorney General Created a Secretive, Illegal Surveillance Program to Sweep up Millions of Our Financial Records

How China planted an FBI mole who was discovered only after gutting the CIA’s vast spy network


Finish reading Chapter 3.

Slides for Chapter 3 – revised

Slides posted before class are always subject to revision. If I revise them, I will post the revision before class so you can download it for your notes. Revisions are usually minor, just things I find as I am preparing for class. I am going to try to post slides a few days before class so you can use them to guide your readings.

Slides for Chapters 1&2

Posted slides do not include polling slides or copyright images used for decoration.


FEMA – How a Disaster Gets Declared

Declared disasters

Day 3 – 17 Jan


Open-source intelligence is piercing the fog of war in Ukraine


Read Chapter 3, to B. The Commander in Chief’s War Powers. p 55.

Day 2 – January 12


Computer breakdown sows chaos across US air travel system

Don’t panic. It might not be a cyberattack.

I survived Guantánamo. Why is it still open 21 years later?


Finish discussion of Chapter 1

Read Chapter 2. It is a short read, but it raises fundamental issues about the structure of the US government. Be prepared to discuss.

Resources – Source of national security powers

Constitutional Powers

Congressional Powers

Declaring war

Raise and support armies

The navy

Regulation of the military

Calling up the militia

Governing state militias

Presidential Powers

Commander in Chief

Ambiguous Powers

Habeas corpus

Day 1 – 10 Jan

Course Information

First Day Assignment

National security law is not a bar course and some important parts are not even law in the sense of something that can be enforced or challenged in the courts. It’s administrative law, but with guns and nearly complete deference from the Supreme Court.

Read Chapter 1 of the text. Read the first 6 pages of President Reagan’s National Security Strategy from 1986, the height of the Cold War: National Security Decision Directive 238, Basic National Security Strategy, Sept. 2, 1986

Over the weekend, think about what you are worried about as national security legal problems and what you are interested in learning about in national security law. Send me an email – – by Sunday night so I can make a list to discuss in class.