Please set value(s) for component.

ABA News Archives

Advertisement

Search ABA News

  • Media

  • ABA News Sections

  • Key Issues

Entries filed under 'Law and National Security'

    FISA law has built-in privacy protections, Townsend says at ABA breakfast

    January 12, 2018 3:33 PM by glynnj

    Lost on many people in the ongoing debate about privacy vs. security is the fact that the FISA Amendments Act has many layers of built-in protections to safeguard Americans’ civil liberties, including strong oversight by all three branches of government, says Frances Townsend, former Homeland Security adviser to President George W. Bush.Townsend, currently president of the Counter Extremism Project, spoke about the legislation at a Jan. 12 breakfast in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security. She was joined by  Harvey Rishikof, chair of the Advisory Committee for the standing committee.

    Fran Townsend, former national security adviser, discusses the FISA legislation with Harvey Rishikof, chair of the Advisory Committee of the Standing Committee on Law and National Security.


    Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which was approved by the House of Representatives on Jan. 11, 2018 and now goes to the Senate for consideration, allows the National Security Agency to tap into the communications of “non-U.S. persons” outside the United States. However, FISA warrants require investigators to demonstrate to a FISA court that there is probable cause to believe the target may be acting as an unlawful foreign agent. The only time an American could be caught in incidental collection is if that American is in direct contact with a foreign intelligence target.“One of the arguments among the ‘fear of privacy’ individuals is that somehow, we use 702 to back-door the requirements of the Fourth Amendment,” Rishikof said. “Is that a concern that you have or you’ve seen?” Rishikof asked Townsend.

    She agreed that sometimes there is incidental collection of data, but rejects the idea that the FBI uses 702 to target Americans. Under the law, the FISA court must be notified within 24-48 hours if an American citizen is identified in the data. “There are lots of controls to check and prevent abuses,” Townsend said.

    Incidental collection occurs when a person is in contact with a surveillance target. If the NSA believes the information collected contains evidence of a crime, the NSA can share those communications with law enforcement or other relevant agencies.

    Townsend said it may be time to step back and re-evaluate the structures and authorities of various agencies.  “You have to say, is it performing the right function, is it the right size and how do we improve it going forward? … We would do well to go back and look at some of these post-9/11 structures we put in place and ask ourselves the hard questions.”

    Cyber has changed the way the intelligence community operates on every level, Townsend said, especially in the field of counter-intelligence.

    “We hold precious the freedom of the press, but what we find is the very freedoms we hold precious, our enemies are using against us,” she explained. “So, when you realize the Russians are using the Black Lives Matter movement or white supremacy movement on social media to sow domestic discontent, it troubles me because I feel like we haven’t devoted the time, attention or resources that we need to deal with that.”

     

    National security expert Frances Fragos Townsend to discuss current threats at ABA breakfast

    January 5, 2018 11:01 AM by romeroi

    WASHINGTON, Jan. 5, 2018 — Businesses and government agencies in the United States are under increasing threat of cybersecurity hacks and intellectual property theft. Frances Fragos Townsend, former homeland security and counterterrorism adviser to President George W. Bush, will discuss current national security threats at a breakfast sponsored by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security

    What:   “National Security – Current Legal Issues and Dilemmas”

    When:  Friday, Jan. 12, 2018
                 8-9 a.m. ET

    Where: University Club
                 1135 16th St. NW
                 Washington, D.C.  20036

    Prior to serving in the Bush administration from 2004-2008, Townsend was a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Department of Justice for 13 years. After leaving government, she became a partner at the law firm of Baker Botts, LLP, and is currently an executive vice president for Worldwide Government, Legal and Business Affairs at MacAndrews and Forbes Incorporated. She also is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission.

    There is no charge for media covering this event.  However, there is a $25 cost to include breakfast. To register, please contact Jennifer Kildee at 202-662-1732 or Jennifer.Kildee@americanbar.org.

    Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

    With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement on line. Follow the latest ABA news at www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.

    Updated cybersecurity handbook a must to protect firms from hackers

    December 11, 2017 1:48 PM by glynnj

    When it comes to law firms dealing with the threat of a cybersecurity breach, it’s no longer a question of if, but when, according to Jill Rhodes, a co-editor of the newly released “ABA Cybersecurity Handbook: A Resource for Attorneys, Law Firms, and Business Professionals, Second Edition.”  Co-editors Rhodes and Robert Litt discussed the newly available second edition of the handbook at a luncheon sponsored by the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security. It was moderated by Judge James E. Baker, chair of the committee and former chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, who said the book offers crucial advice and practical tips on protecting law firms from cyber intrusions.

    Jill Rhodes, Judge James Baker and Robert Litt listen as a question is posed at Friday’s luncheon, sponsored by the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security.


    The book advises lawyers and law firms to incorporate encryption to protect the valuable client data they keep. They should also develop plans for the management and disposal of personal information data, and adopt a cyber-risk management and incident-response plan to be prepared for a data breach.

    Rhodes, a member of the ABA Cybersecurity Task Force, spent 20 years working in various capacities with the intelligence and national security communities of the federal government. Litt, a member of the Standing Committee on Law and National Security, is the former general counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

    The new edition was written as a kind of bridge to help move the legal community from the wake-up call of 2013 – when the first edition was released -- to regular and ongoing cybersecurity risk analysis, Rhodes said. Litt called the updated handbook “very readable,” adding that it addresses the changing threat landscape over the past several years and the increased role and responsibility for lawyers in helping businesses and organizations prepare for and respond to cyber breaches.

    The book includes chapters on understanding cybersecurity risks, technology, and the legal and ethical obligations to clients. Other chapters focus on specific practice recommendations, such as small firms, large firms, government lawyers, nongovernment lawyers, in-house counsel and nonprofit organizations. Chapter 3, written by Paul Rosenzweig, former deputy assistant secretary for policy in the Department of Homeland Security, addresses the technology aspect of cyber intrusions, which is often a stumbling block for lawyers, Rhodes said.

    “So many times lawyers are afraid to engage in technology issues or cyber issues because there’s a feeling that it’s all about technoolo0gy and I don’t understand technology,” she said. “Paul opens the door to that, and says, ‘let me tell you what you need to know.’”

    Each chapter ends with a helpful top 10 list of practical considerations, sort of a Cliff’s Notes of issues covered in each chapter, Rhodes added.

    Litt said most cyber intrusions are caused by employee error, usually after clicking on links that contain viruses or malware of some kind. “The great majority of cyber incidents involve some sort of human frailty,” he said.

    Rhodes said training employees on preventing cyber intrusions is one of the most important steps an organization can take, because knowing what to look for and how to respond to hacking attempts is the first line of defense. The weakest link -- whether you work for a government agency or in the private sector, is always the “person who is sitting there at that computer clicking on things or doing things that they maybe shouldn’t be doing,” she said.

    The book also addresses international norms, the role of insurance and the ethics and statutory requirements related to data security.

    The first edition of the handbook was developed by the ABA Cybersecurity Legal Task Force in response to what the task force saw as general unawareness about the cyber risks faced by law firms, and the benefits of sharing information about data-breach incidents with law enforcement and other businesses.

    “In the past four years, there have also been significant cybersecurity disclosures related to law practices,” according to the new edition of the handbook, which is available online at the ABA store, at a discount for ABA members.

    Updated ‘Cybersecurity Handbook’ editors to discuss evolving threat landscape at ABA lunch

    December 1, 2017 11:04 AM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 2017 — As hackers increase their capability to conduct cyberattacks, attorneys must step up their risk management and cybersecurity practices. Jill Rhodes and Robert Litt, co-editors of the newly released ABA Cybersecurity Handbook, Second Edition, will discuss the extensive challenges facing lawyers, firms and business professionals at a luncheon sponsored by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security

    What:  Lunch with editors of “The ABA Cybersecurity Handbook: Understanding the Evolving Cybersecurity Threat, Second Edition”

    When:  
    Friday, Dec. 8
    Noon-1:30 p.m. ET

    Where: 
    Army & Navy Club
    901 17th St. NW
    Washington, D.C.  20036

    Jill Rhodes is vice president and chief information security officer for Option Care, Inc.  Her work includes all facets of information security governance, education, process development and technology implementation. Before moving to the private sector, Rhodes spent 20 years working in various capacities with the intelligence and national security communities of the federal government.

    Robert Litt is of counsel at Morrison & Foerster, and served as the second general counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence from June 2009 until January 2017. Before joining the ODNI, Litt was a partner with the law firm of Arnold and Porter, LLP. He previously worked at the Department of Justice, where he served as deputy assistant attorney general in the criminal division and as the principal associate deputy attorney general; as special advisor to the assistant secretary of state for European and Canadian Affairs; and as a U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

    There is no charge for media covering this event, however, there is a $25 cost to include lunch. To register, please contact Jennifer Kildee at 202-662-1732 or Jennifer.Kildee@americanbar.org. An electronic copy of the book can be made available, free of charge, to members of the media who register and attend the luncheon.

    Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

    With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement on line. Follow the latest ABA news at www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.

    Good judgment critical when practicing national security law

    November 27, 2017 2:30 PM by glynnj

    In “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. responded to the question of why he traveled from Atlanta to lead a civil rights protest in Alabama by answering, “I am in Birmingham because injustice is here.” Later in the letter, we read his now famous words: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

    The eloquence of that letter should serve as inspiration to all lawyers, according to Judge James E. Baker, chair of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security and former chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.

    “It reminds us about the inspiration of the law and reminds us that we’re performing a task much greater than ourselves,” Baker said. He noted that because the letter was written in a jail cell, it has even more meaning, because it proves that Dr. King was willing to pay the penalty for his actions.

    In practicing national security law, having an overall understanding of general ethics is the best foundation for successful practice, Baker said during the 27th Annual Review of the Field of National Security Law conference in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the ABA Standing
    Committee on Law and National Security
    and held on Nov. 16-17.

    A thorough grounding in the ethical practice of law will prepare lawyers to cope with the pressures of national security practice. For example, always remember that lawyers are public citizens with special responsibility for the quality of justice and that a lawyer has a duty to uphold the legal process while advocating on behalf of the client.

    Baker said the evolving role of law — and lawyers — in national security matters post-9/11 has not been without controversy, but a strong commitment to doing the right thing the right way lays the groundwork for a successful practice. That means, for example, if someone ought to know something, they should be told, whether the law requires it or not.

    Ethics provide the principles that most directly relate to the practice of national security law, Baker said. A commitment to ethics rather than rules better addresses the sorts of challenges that arise in national security practice, challenges that require good judgment rather than yes or no answers. For example, when facing a difficult decision, Baker advises asking yourself, “how would I handle this on Monday morning after four cups of coffee, when I’m most sharp?” It’s a good way to check yourself and make sure you’re not cutting corners, he said.

    Always, Baker said, maintain a clear understanding of what is law, what is policy and what is legal policy. “If you start dressing up legal policy as law, then they’re not going to want you in the room.”

    Model Rules do not tell you what to do when your advice is not followed, or when you learn of new and critical intelligence after a decision has already been made, but a commitment to doing the right thing --  as well as a framework in which to identify the right thing -- will help you address these scenarios.

    Baker said the rapid evolution and intensity of national security law can be tough to adjust to, and the growth and expansion of artificial intelligence will speed everything up. “If you think it’s hard to be a national security lawyer now, when you have incomplete facts and not enough time, you’re just warming up,” Baker said.  “You have to get comfortable with making decisions very rapidly.”

    He advises thinking about personal role models for inspiration when faced with an ethical problem, adding that he often imagines how Nelson Mandela might respond to a challenge.

    “The goal of the national security lawyer is to get to ‘yes’ with honor, leaving the nation well taken care of and the Constitution intact,” he said. 

    Top intelligence officials gather in Washington to discuss national security issues

    November 6, 2017 11:37 AM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 6, 2017 — Legal experts and intelligence officials from the FBI, Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Department of State and Department of Homeland Security will explore such topics as artificial intelligence, private practice of national security law, classified and unclassified leaks, the law of armed conflict, national security challenges on the world’s oceans, future issues in national security law, cybersecurity, FISA and more at the 27th Annual Review of the Field of National Security Law Conference, Nov. 16-17 in Washington, D.C. 

    Read More »

    ABA Committee on Law and National Security launches national security podcast

    October 23, 2017 12:33 PM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2017 – The ABA Committee on Law and National Security has created a new podcast called National Security Law Today. Hosted by committee members and staff, the podcast features legal experts discussing hot topics and current issues in the world of national security, as well as career advice for those looking to break into the field of national security law. 

    Read More »

    America’s infrastructure less secure now than 15 years ago says researcher at ABA breakfast

    October 19, 2017 10:21 AM by John Glynn

    A team of cybersecurity researchers at MIT say that America’s core industries, including oil and gas, water, electricity, finance and communications, known as “critical infrastructure,” are significantly at risk from cyberattacks. 

    Read More »

    Cybersecurity expert Joel Brenner to discuss protecting critical infrastructure at ABA breakfast

    October 10, 2017 11:24 AM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 10, 2017 — In a world where hackers can sabotage power plants and disrupt  elections, there has never been a more crucial time to examine cybersecurity for critical infrastructure, most of which is privately owned. Joel Brenner, former counterintelligence executive and senior fellow at MIT, will speak about cyber threats to the nation’s infrastructure at a breakfast sponsored by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security

    Read More »

    DOJ acting assistant attorney general addresses new security threats

    September 15, 2017 12:31 PM by John Glynn

    The acting assistant attorney general of the Department of Justice National Security Division, Dana Boente, says that nation-states wishing to do us harm are reaching further than ever before, but a recent executive order provides new ways to impose sanctions against them.

    Read More »