Archives for Uncategorized

Day 28 – April 20


NBC News: Does the Teixeira case mean the national security clearance system is broken?


No new assignment. Finish the assignment from last class.

Day 14 – Feb 28

Class is in person – computer day means we talk about computers.


Al Jazeera English: US judge says 9/11 families not entitled to Afghan bank funds

Netanyahu said to huddle repeatedly with military brass over possible attack on Iran

China refuses to condemn Russia’s Ukraine invasion during G20 deadlock

What is China’s peace proposal on how to end Ukraine war?


The Phone in the Room

This is computer and Internet day! We have several chapters that deal with cyber operations and surveillance. You need to have a basic understanding of how the systems work to think clearly about the problems. I wish I could make the Supreme Court justices go through the material that we will review.

The Internet: 1997 – 2021 – One minute visualization of the growth of the Internet

Unit: Computers and the Internet – This is a series of Khan Academy videos that introduce the basics of computers and the Internet. I assume most of you have used Khan Academy lessons during K-12 and perhaps college. These are short, simple, and entertaining. Should take less than 90 minutes total to watch them all.

I will expand on these materials in class.



Day 13 – 23 Feb


Putin suspends Russian involvement in nuclear arms pact over Ukraine tensions

Biden hails ‘rock solid’ Nato as Putin blames West for Russia’s war

What is the future of the internet? Don’t ask the Supreme Court– The problem with cyberlaw in the courts.


Given current events, we are going to read Chapter 15 for class on Thursday.

Also review:

Read Chapter 15 – Nuclear War – no slides – this is a discussion class

Duck And Cover (1951) Bert The Turtle – This is an example of what we saw in school when I was a kid. This is the modern version:

No US missile defense system proven capable against ‘realistic’ ICBM threats: Study

All intercontinental missiles are hypersonic, i.e., they travel at several times the speed of sound. What is in the press as hypersonic missiles are ones that stay low in the atmosphere, rather than going into space and coming down, making them much harder to detect and shoot down.

What Happens When a Nuclear Bomb Hits”

What if We Nuke a City?

Nuclear Winter May Bring a Decade of Destruction

How a small nuclear war would transform the entire planet

Long-term radiation (a few years) effects are low, as is residual radiation, at least for air burst bombs. Bombs that explode at ground level put a lot more dirt into the atmosphere and may leave more residual radiation, but we have no experience with this.

Union of Concerned Scientists, Close Calls with Nuclear Weapons (Apr. 2015) – summary

Resource document, you do not need to read for class.

Blundering into a nuclear war in Ukraine: a hypothetical scenario

CRS: Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons. Updated March 7, 2022

This is a clear guide to tactical versus strategic nuclear weapons prepared for Congress. Read pp 25-32 – Russian Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons after the Cold War to get a sense of the Ukraine problem. Is this a meaningful distinction?


2022 Nuclear Posture Review (p.33)

CRS – 2022 Nuclear Posture Review

Day 12 – 16 Feb


The Next Phase in Ukraine

The China Threat — FBI


Find a story about the Ukraine war that highlights a potential violation of the UN charter or the law of armed combat – jus in bello – and email it to me by Wednesday night so I can compile them for class.

Ukraine war day. Study the note in the Supplement and look at the Ukraine war news sites.

The Ukraine War and the Crime of Aggression: How to Fill the Gaps in the International Legal System

Congress Passes Justice for Victims of War Crimes Act

The ICC’s Impact in Ukraine

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 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.