Jack Goldsmith: Journalists Are Too Thin-Skinned

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SECURITY STATES NOVEMBER 13, 2013

Jack Goldsmith: Journalists Are Too Thin-Skinned And other national-security debates in these three podcasts

On October 25, the Hoover Institution put together a media colloquium which brought together a group of distinguished journalists who work on national security issues and put them face to face for a day with members of its Jean Perkins Task Force on National Security and Law. The sessions were terrific, and Hoover recorded them, so over at Lawfare, we used the audio for three episodes of the Lawfare Podcast.

The first episode was my own session, which dealt with the Obama administration’s speeches on national security law and a serialized book I am writing on the subject with my colleague Kenneth Anderson. The session focused in particular on the criteria President Obama laid out for drone strikes in his May 23 speech at the National Defense University.

The second episode was a sessions by Anderson, a law professor at American University, and Matthew Waxman, a law professor at Columbia University, on autonomous lethal robots and the move to ban them in international law.

The final episode—perhaps the most accessible and certainly the most entertaining—is a presentation by Jack Goldsmith of Harvard Law School about the changing legal norms on leaks and government approaches to national security journalism. It’s a particularly lively session, in which Goldsmith tells the journalists that they are too thin-skinned and in which he and Spencer Ackerman of the Guardian argue over what it says about the national security journalism environment that Ackerman is not in prison.

I have edited the sessions because they were quite long, because the conversations sometimes strayed from the topic at hand, and because not all of the journalists present consented to have their voices used. But all three sessions are well worth readers’ time. Enjoy.

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