National Security Law

Ransomware, Cybercrime Victims and Law Enforcement - Podcast

Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Podcast
Howard W. Cox, Steven Chabinsky August 09, 2017

Recent headlines make clear the threat posed by cyber criminals, especially those that deploy so-called ransomware.  Although federal law enforcement has urged victims to report cyber incidents and generally recommends that victims not give in to a ransom demand unless all other options are exhausted, a recent report by IBM Security found that 70 percent of businesses infected have paid ransom.

The ransomware epidemic highlights a potential asymmetry of interests between cybercrime victims and law enforcement.  The chief concern of a victim of a ransomware attack may be to regain access to business data and systems, even if paying the ransom funds the perpetrator and potentially leads to further attacks.  Meanwhile, law enforcement has only a limited ability to assist a victim in incident response.  How can cybercrime victims and law enforcement better work together to better protect victim interests and better advance law enforcement's work?


  • Prof. Howard W. Cox, Adjunct Professor, George Washington University
  • Steven Chabinsky, Global Data, Privacy, and Cybersecurity Practice Chair, White & Case LLP

Maslenjak v. United States - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 7-26-17 featuring Vikrant P. Reddy
Vikrant P. Reddy July 26, 2017

On June 22, 2017, the Supreme Court decided Maslenjak v. United States. At the close of the Bosnian civil war, Divna Maslenjak sought refugee status for herself and her family in the U.S. due to fear of persecution regarding their Serbian identity in modern-day Bosnia and the threat of reprisal against her husband, who she claimed had evaded military conscription in the Bosnian Serb militia. After the family was granted refugee status and Maslenjak became a U.S. citizen, a U.S. court convicted Maslenjak’s husband, Ratko, on two counts of falsifying claims regarding Serbian military service on U.S. government documents, since Ratko had in fact served in the Serbian military. When Ratko applied for asylum to avoid deportation, Divna Maslenjak admitted to lying about her husband’s military service and was charged with two counts of naturalization fraud. At her trial, jurors were told that a naturalization fraud conviction could be carried out for false claims in Maslenjak’s application process, even if the claims did not affect whether she was approved. Convicted on both counts, Divna Maslenjack was stripped of her citizenship. The Sixth Circuit affirmed her conviction.

By a vote of 9-0, the Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the Sixth Circuit and remanded the case. In an opinion by Justice Kagan, the Court held that (1) the text of 18 U.S.C. § 1425(a) -- which prohibits "procur[ing], contrary to law, the naturalization of any person" -- makes clear that, to secure a conviction, the federal government must establish that the defendant's illegal act played a role in her acquisition of citizenship; (2) when the underlying illegality alleged in a Section 1425(a) prosecution is a false statement to government officials, a jury must decide whether the false statement so altered the naturalization process as to have influenced an award of citizenship; and (3) measured against this analysis, the jury instructions in this case were in error, and the government's assertion that any instructional error was harmless if left for resolution on remand. Justice Kagan’s majority opinion was joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor. Justice Gorsuch filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment, in which Justice Thomas joined. Justice Alito filed an opinion concurring in the judgment.

And now, to discuss the case, we have Vikrant P. Reddy, who is Senior Research Fellow at the Charles Koch Institute.

Ziglar v. Abbasi - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 7-25-17 featuring David B. Rivkin
David B. Rivkin Jr. July 25, 2017

On June 19, 2017, the Supreme Court decided Ziglar v. Abbasi, which was consolidated with the cases Ashcroft v. Abbasi , and Hasty v. Abbasi. Ziglar v. Abbasi was part of a series of lawsuits brought by Muslim, South Asian, and Arab noncitizens who were detained after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and treated as “of interest” in the ensuing government investigation. These plaintiffs contended, among other things, that the conditions of their confinement violated their constitutional rights to due process and equal protection. The defendants included high-level officials in the Department of Justice (DOJ) such as Attorney General John Ashcroft, FBI director Robert Mueller, and Immigration and Naturalization Service Commissioner James Ziglar, as well as various detention officials. Some of the parties reached settlements, and the district court eventually dismissed some of the allegations against the DOJ officials for failure to state a claim. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of plaintiffs’ Free Exercise claims, but otherwise reversed most of the district court’s judgment. Plaintiffs, the Second Circuit held, had adequately pleaded claims for violations of substantive due process, equal protection, the Fourth Amendment, and civil conspiracy, and Defendants were not entitled to qualified immunity. Defendants then sought, and the Supreme Court granted, a petition for writ of certiorari.

By a vote of 4-2, the Supreme Court reversed in part, and vacated and remanded in part, the judgment of the Second Circuit. In an opinion by Justice Kennedy, the Court held that (1) the limited reach of actions brought under Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents informs the decision whether an implied damages remedy should be recognized in this case; (2) considering the relevant special factors in this case, a Bivens-type remedy should not be extended to the "detention policy claims" -- the allegations that the executive officials and wardens violated the detainees' due process and equal protection rights by holding them in restrictive conditions of confinement, and the allegation that the wardens violated the Fourth and Fifth Amendments by subjecting the detainees to frequent strip searches -- challenging the confinement conditions imposed on the detainees pursuant to the formal policy adopted by the executive officials in the wake of the September 11 attacks; (3) the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit erred in allowing the prisoner-abuse claim against Warden Dennis Hasty to go forward without conducting the required special-factors analysis; and (4) the executive officials and wardens are entitled to qualified immunity with respect to respondents' civil conspiracy claims. 

Justice Kennedy delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I, II, III, IV–A, and V, in which the Chief Justice and Justices Thomas and Alito joined. Justice Kennedy also delivered an opinion with respect to Part IV–B, in which the Chief Justice and Justice Alito joined. Justice Thomas filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment. Justice Breyer filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Ginsburg joined. Justices Sotomayor, Kagan, and Gorsuch took no part in the consideration or decision of these cases. 

To discuss the case, we have David B. Rivkin, who is a Partner at Baker & Hostetler LLP.

Reauthorization of Section 702 - Podcast

International & National Security Law Practice Group Podcast
Kate Martin, Karen J. Lugo, Adam Klein July 19, 2017

Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) is up for reauthorization in 2017. An earlier version of the program was instituted after 9/11 by President George W. Bush. In 2007, Congress adopted the Protect America Act and one year later passed the FISA Amendments Act, which included Section 702. Section 702 allows the government to target for surveillance non-U.S. citizens “reasonably believed to be located outside the United States to acquire foreign intelligence information.” The authorization does not extend to non-citizens outside the country to gain information on citizens or permanent residents believed to be residing in the United States.

While proponents of the law argue it is necessary for national security, critics claim that U.S. citizens are too often incidentally swept into surveillance due to the nature of the “targeting procedures” employed by intelligence agencies, and therefore reforms are needed to protect their privacy. Our experts discussed reauthorization, what it would mean if Congress chose not to act, and what kinds of reforms are under consideration.


  • Adam Klein, Senior Fellow, Center for a New American Security
  • Kate Martin, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress 
  • Moderator: Karen Lugo, Founder, Libertas-West Project

National Intelligence Reform - Podcast

International & National Security Law Practice Group Podcast
Benjamin Powell, David R. Shedd, Matthew R.A. Heiman June 14, 2017

During the presidential campaign, there were calls for changes to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), a federal agency created in response to the events of 9/11 to ensure that the seventeen organizations that make up the intelligence community act in a coordinated fashion. Following President Trump’s inauguration, former Senator Dan Coats was appointed as the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). There has also been significant media coverage around the relationship between the intelligence community and the President. During this Teleforum, we were joined by intelligence experts to discuss the relationship between the President and the intelligence community, whether the ODNI is in need of reform, and the top priorities of DNI Coats. 


  • Benjamin Powell, Partner, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
  • David Shedd, Advisory Board Member, Beacon Global Strategies LLC
  • Moderator: Matthew R. A. Heiman, Vice President, Corporate Secretary & Associate General Counsel, Johnson Controls