Category Archives: Torture

Lessons for the Next Twenty Years: What We’ve Learned in the Two Decades Since 9/11

A Note from Editor-in-Chief William C. Banks

By any measure the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 brought an immediate laser focus to the phenomenon of international terrorism.

Though hardly new to the United States and the world in 2001, the 9/11 attacks instantaneously elevated countering international terrorism to the dominant national security imperative at home and abroad.

Questions were legion: Should we have known the attacks were coming? What could we have done to prevent them? What lessons learned will help forestall the next attack? What are the best options for countering international terrorism?

Twenty years later many lessons have been learned, even as we continue to struggle with the ever changing dynamics of global terrorism. JNSLP is honored to publish this Special Edition, “Lessons Learned for the Next Twenty Years: What We’ve Learned in the Two Decades Since 9/11.”

Special recognition and thanks are due to Guest Editor Matt Kronisch and Director of the Syracuse University Institute for Security Policy and Law Jamie Baker. Matt and Jamie approached us with the idea for a Special Edition, and then Matt worked miracles in securing commitments from an extraordinary assemblage of distinguished veterans of the larger national security and counterterrorism field to prepare short essays commemorating through various lenses what the two decades since 9/11 have shown.

Spend a moment glancing at the Table of Contents for the Special Edition and you will recognize many of the names and you will correctly anticipate that a deep dive into this marvelous collection of essays is a must.


Foreword
Thomas H. Kean & Lee H. Hamilton

Introduction
Matthew L. Kronisch

PART I: THE CENTRALITY OF INSTITUTIONS, POLICY, AND PROCESS

Staying Left of Boom: The Central and Essential Role of the NSC
James E. Baker

Lessons from the Past Twenty Years—A Former National Security Policymaker and Intelligence Community Leader’s Perspective
Michael G. Vickers

Reflections on Twenty Years of Counterterrorism Strategy and Policy
Nicholas J. Rasmussen

From 9/11 to 1/6: Lessons for Congress from Twenty Years of War, Legislation, and Spiraling Partisanship
Dakota S. Rudesill

Jack of All Trades, Master of None: Managing the Intelligence Community of the Future
Corin R. Stone

National Security Decision-Making in the Age of Technology: Delivering Outcomes On Time and On Target
Gary P. Corn

PART II: THE TOOLS OF INFLUENCE AND ACCESS

USSOCOM and SOF: War Around the Edges
Eric T. Olson

Cables from the Field: A Diplomat’s Lessons from the Two Decades Since 9/11
Anne W. Patterson

Lessons Learned After Twenty Years of Hostilities: The Use of Force and the Law of Armed Conflict
Kenneth Watkin

Wielding the Tools of Economic Statecraft
Brent J. McIntosh

PART III: SURVEILLANCE, OVERSIGHT, SKEPTICISM, AND RACE

Lessons for the Next Twenty Years: What the Two Decades Since 9/11 Have Taught Us About the Future of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Law
David S. Kris

Reflections on the IG’s Role, Stellarwind, and the Information Sharing Fiasco
Joel Brenner

Data Collection: Lessons of Cost-Benefit Analysis, Skepticism, and Legal Transparency
James X. Dempsey

Reflections on Security, Race, and Rights Twenty-Years After 9/11
Sahar F. Aziz

PART IV: DOMESTIC TERROR AND THE FIGHT TO SUSTAIN DEMOCRACY

Counterterrorism 2.0
Deborah Pearlstein

Lessons for Countering the Domestic Terrorism Threat 20 Years After 9/11
Mary B. McCord

Learning From Our Mistakes: How Not to Confront White Supremacist Violence
Mike German

Send Airplanes, Phones, and Money: Cautionary Lessons For the Post-1/6 World from the Post-9/11 World
Paul Rosenzweig

A Twenty-Year Lesson: The Role of Civil Rights in Securing Our Nation
Kareem W. Shora

Addressing the Guantanamo “Legacy Problem”: Bringing Law-of-War Prolonged Military Detention & Criminal Prosecution into Closer Alignment

Abrams seeks to move the discussion on Guantanamo detainees forward by bringing law-of-war detention and criminal prosecution into closer alignment. The article analyzes the Obama Administration’s current approach of dealing with terrorists captured abroad and its preference for conducting criminal prosecutions whenever feasible. Abrams proposes several changes to the current system, including a decision-making framework for imposing further military detention after completion of the criminal process, which the administration has indicated is a possibility, and taking into account the criminal culpability of the detainee to impose a presumptive limit on indefinite detention, as ways to reform the two-track system and increase equality accordingly.

The Sacrificial Yoo: Accounting for Torture in the OPR Report

The Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) excoriated the legal work done by John Yoo and Jay Bybee of the Office of Legal Counsel on the torture memos, but DOJ’s ultimate decision stopped short of referring Yoo and Bybee for professional discipline.  Serious questions remain, particularly since the OPR was unable to obtain the testimony of many high-level officials who played critical roles in authorizing torture.  A full-scale investigation, preferably by an independent commission not part of the very department implicated in the wrongdoing, is still necessary. Great Britain conducted such an independent inquiry into the abusive practices used against IRA prisoners in the 1970s, and the United States must do the same.  The essential lesson must be that torture and cruel treatment are not policy options, even when lawyers are willing to write opinions blessing illegality.