This is a set of documents related to the Obama administration’s disputed decision to transfer five higher-level Taliban detainees to Qatar as part of the prisoner exchange deal for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been captured by the Taliban in 2009 after wandering off his outpost and was being held under horrific conditions. I discuss
Power Wars Blog by Charlie Savage
This document, whose full text has not previously been made public, is a three-page memo that Susan Rice, Obama’s national security adviser, sent to Chuck Hagel, then the secretary of defense, in May 2014. (The existence of this memo has been previously reported.) I discuss it in Chapter 10, Section 14: “Risk Aversion.” At the time, Hagel was
This previously undisclosed document is a five-page summary of an unsigned, unofficial “white paper” developed by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. It was written in January 2010 by David Barron, then the acting head of the office and now a federal appeals court judge. I discuss it in Chapter 7, Section 2: “Democrats Get to
This previously undisclosed document is a proposal Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, developed in 2009. It was a starting point for what became lengthy but unsuccessful negotiations with the Obama White House over a grand bargain on detainee policies. (The existence of those negotiations has been reported.) I discuss it in Chapter 4, Section
The New York Times has published the first review of Power Wars. They commissioned James Mann, a non-NYT staffer and the author of Rise of the Vulcans and The Obamians, to write it to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. Mann’s review is generally very positive, and he engages thoughtfully with some of
Read it here in the New York Times.
We are six days out from the publication of “Power Wars,” an investigative history of the Obama administration’s national-security legal policymaking. It goes behind the scenes to explore the space between these two Obama quotes in its epigraph:
A Federal District Court judge today threw out the ACLU-led challenge to the NSA’s warrantless upstream surveillance of one-end-foreign Internet communications under the FISA Amendments Act, ruling that the plaintiffs, including Wikimedia Foundation, had not established standing. The case touched on an article that I wrote in August 2013, early in the post-Snowden leak era,
Here is the relevant part of his veto message to Congress.