Benjamin Wittes Profile picture
Senior Fellow at the @BrookingsInst. Editor in Chief of @lawfareblog. Cohost of @inlieuoffunshow. "Not even a lawyer." I will block you for any reason or none.
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Jan 19
Male lion or female human? Image Vote
Read 4 tweets
Jan 14
This is important: The purpose of a lot of Russian disinformation/lies is NOT to fool anyone but to act with impunity in violating the rules without purporting to change the rules. Under international law, wars of aggression are illegal. If one means to launch one... ...one has to either (a) confront a problem under international rules and norms (b) or simply lie about what happened. Putin's innovation is that he has realized that it matters not at all if the lie is credible or even plausible. As long as you say it, it works.
Read 6 tweets
Jan 12
It has become a talking point among Trumpists and some non-Trumpist conservatives that @staceyabrams--like Trump--did not concede the race when she ran for governor of Georgia in 2018.

It's really not true. Abrams did not concede that the race was fair, but she did concede... Image ...that under the rules as they were written and understood and implemented, her opponent had prevailed and would become governor. This is significantly more than Trump ever conceded until after the violence of Jan. 6. And he has still never really said this even up to now.
Read 4 tweets
Jan 10
Whoa.
Not sure I saw the "they were old anyway" coming... @bethanyshondark I don't want to take this out of context or ascribe views to you that you do not hold. So let me just ask: What exactly do you mean by this? It really sounds like culling-the-herd argument to me.
Read 4 tweets
Jan 9
A very special #BeastOfTheDay today to round out our Jan. 6 week of beasts who fight fascists, comfort victims, and otherwise commit acts of valor. @lageneralista yesterday nominated a veritable menagerie of valorous beasts—a thread of whom follows: amp.theguardian.com/science/2004/n… en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winnipeg_…
Read 8 tweets
Jan 8
Today’s #BeastOfTheDay is “Wojtek”—a Syrian brown bear who fought the Nazis on behalf of a Polish battalion fighting with the British. Bought as a cub by soldiers at a train station in Iran, he was enlisted and had his own rank and serial number.
He was promoted to corporal. Wojtek served in campaigns across the Middle East and in the Italian campaign. He moved crates of ammunition. After the war, he spent the rest of his life at the Edinburg Zoo in Scotland, visited regularly by Polish soldiers, who lovingly fed him cigarettes. He died in 1963.
Read 5 tweets
Jan 6
Support/therapy dogs play a valuable role in high stress law enforcement environments. I remember walking into the FBI cafeteria with @Comey one time and watching him stop to pet the therapy dogs there.
These dogs are today's #BeastOfTheDay
abcnews.go.com/amp/Politics/c…
Read 4 tweets
Dec 28, 2021
Piece of advice to my dear friend @jon_rauch: don’t let @ByronYork drag you into an argument about the Steele material. Unless you made arguments about the Trump-Russia scandal based on it, it’s just a sideshow related to Cater Page and some botched FISAs. It’s irrelevant… …to the Mueller findings and to the facts we have learned about Trump and his minions’ long engagements with the Russians, his many lies about it, and his frankly criminal efforts to obstruct investigation of the matters.
Read 5 tweets
Dec 24, 2021
A thread on @KoriSchake, @AEIfdp and Jimmy Quinn's hit piece on Kori in @NRO, which I have now read. Here's the tldr: this is a form of conservative cancel culture that we should be super-savvy about.

Also @KoriSchake is a badass @nro is going to have a hard time intimidating. For those who didn't read the piece, which I don't recommend and am not going to link to, it basically says the following: Hill staffers are complaining about Kori because she doesn't follow current GOP orthodoxy on a few discrete issues: Nord Stream II, the Iran deal.
Read 10 tweets
Dec 23, 2021
There is actually not a truly good argument even for him to refuse to answer particular questions—provided that Biden explicitly waives executive privilege with respect to questions he might be asked. As the DC Circuit recently (and rightly) ruled, albeit in a different context, where the political branches (Congress and the incumbent president) agree on congressional need for information from the executive and the incumbent president has waived privilege, the former president's assertion of privilege does not control.
Read 4 tweets
Dec 23, 2021
Ok, folks, for those of you who have never watched @inlieuoffunshow, I am putting together a thread of recent episodes in their audio-only version. Listen to one of these podcast and, if you like it, subscribe—and maybe check out the live video version on YouTube or Crowdcast. Here's Olympian Noah Hoffman talking cross-country skiing and doping:
Read 12 tweets
Dec 13, 2021
It really wasn't a hoax...
Here's @jon_rauch on the subject: persuasion.community/p/the-real-hoax And here's @davidfrum: theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/…
Read 4 tweets
Dec 9, 2021
I had occasion last night to reread for the first time in many years Churchill's eulogy of Neville Chamberlain on the floor on the Commons. OMG is it great! So surprising in its generosity and warmth, so forgiving of Chamberlain's colossal wrongness, so resistant to the schismatic urge in the face of evil, so willing to credit Chamberlain's motives and intentions, and his actions after the war began. This is the #CoalitionOfAllDemocraticForces at its very best.

Read it please. It will take 7 minutes of your life: winstonchurchill.org/resources/spee…
Read 5 tweets
Dec 9, 2021
Before I go to bed, I here's an assembly of my various writing and speaking about Fred Hiatt this week. I have tweeted these all before, but this thread puts it all in one place. The night of Fred's death, I talked about him with @Klonick and @GenevieveDFR on @inlieuoffunshow:
Read 7 tweets
Nov 27, 2021
.@anneapplebaum has done more to educate the English-speaking world about the mass crimes of the Soviet Union than any other writer of her generation. Not since Robert Conquest has there been a more important contribution, and unlike Conquest, who couldn’t write, Anne can. Her book “Gulag” remains the single most important single volume of its kind. Here’s a story about Anne, John McCain and the book party for “Gulag” back when Poland still represented proudly democratic values.
Read 4 tweets
Nov 24, 2021
Ok, folks: You ready for the real answers? "Nightmover" is, indeed, a book about Aldrich Ames
Read 18 tweets
Nov 24, 2021
Whenever I speak about Section 230, I always use the chat site Omegle as the prototype of a site that should not be immune for third-party posted content. I am so glad *someone*--the redoubtable @cagoldberglaw--is finally testing whether 230 really protects Omegle. I have my doubts that this suit will survive a motion to dismiss under current law. But if you can read it without seething rage, and an overpowering sense that it *should* survive such a motion, I would love to hear a coherent argument that what Omegle...
Read 7 tweets
Nov 23, 2021
In honor of @HawleyMO, a poll.

The title “Nightmover” refers to: The title “Black Box Warning” refers to:
Read 14 tweets
Nov 21, 2021
Herein a thread of absolutely no importance whatsoever but that may amuse you.

It concerns supply chains, dog shirts, @inlieuoffunshow and correspondence with probably-bewildered customer service representatives.

It does not concern the fate of democracy. Last month, I was texting with @eve_gaumond (whom you should follow) about an order of dog shirts I was planning from
Clothing Monster.

Dog shirts, my trademark clothing item on @inlieuoffunshow, have their detractors, and to keep @shaneharris, @petestrzok, @page88 and the…
Read 19 tweets
Nov 14, 2021
Good question. Answer: No.
We did not publish it.
We made sure it was in appropriate hands. (It is a matter of public record that I gave it to Jim Comey after he already had it.)
And we published a VERY cautious piece on @lawfareblog about it when it became public. lawfareblog.com/about-explosiv…
Read 4 tweets