nationalsecuritylaw reading recommendations for courses on drone surveillance and terrorism sentencing

August 15, 2012

Longtime listservers know I don’t normally permit use of the list for member queries, but this one is very interesting, so here goes:

Professor Steven Morrison writes to solicit your collective thoughts on what readings to assign with respect to two very innovative seminars he is planning. If you have thoughts, please don’t write back to me or to the list, but rather write directly to him at steven.r.morrison. Steve writes:

This semester I will be running two seminars–one on (domestic) drone surveillance and the Fourth Amendment, and one on the sentencing of terrorism defendants. I’m wondering if you would be willing to facilitate a bit of crowdsourcing. I have a good idea of what sources I’d like to use, but might you be able to put a shout out on the national security listserv for suggested readings? These two seminars are outgrowths of my work in these areas for NACDL. If this isn’t appropriate for the listserv, I perfectly understand, but I’d still like to hear your thoughts on good readings.

nationalsecuritylaw Obaydullah v. Obama (D.C. Cir. Aug. 3, 2012) (affirming denial of GTMO habeas petition)

August 13, 2012

A divided panel of the DC Circuit has affirmed dismissal of the habeas petition brought be GTMO detainee Obaydullah. The opinion is posted here. The majority and dissent on the panel divided over a question of jurisdiction and timing (i.e., whether Obaydullah’s appeal was timely—the majority concluded that it was, and therefore went on to reach the merits and rule against Obaydullah).

nationalsecuritylaw United States v. Brehm (4th Cir. Aug. 10, 2012) (affirming application of MEJA to non-citizens abroad)

August 12, 2012

Click here for the 12-page opinion affirming that the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act properly was applied to a South African citizen charged with assaulting a British man at Kandahar Airfield (both men were NATO contractors at the time).

nationalsecuritylaw United States v. Abdo (W.D. Tex. Aug. 10, 2012) (life sentence in bomb plot)

August 10, 2012

From DOJ’s press release:

WACO, Texas – Naser Jason Abdo, 22, will spend the rest of his life in federal prison for plotting to kill American soldiers and others near Fort Hood, Texas, announced Assistant Attorney General for National Security Lisa Monaco, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas Robert Pitman, FBI Special Agent in Charge Armando Fernandez and Killeen Police Chief Dennis M. Baldwin.

This morning in Waco, U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith imposed two consecutive life prison sentences for attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and for possession of a weapon in furtherance of a federal crime of violence. In addition, Judge Smith also sentenced Abdo to a total mandatory consecutive 60 years in prison for one count of attempted murder of officers or employees of the United States, two counts of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a federal crime of violence and one count of possession of a weapon in furtherance of a federal crime of violence.

In May, a federal jury convicted Abdo of the above-mentioned charges. Testimony presented at trial revealed that on July 27, 2011, Abdo unlawfully attempted to create and detonate a bomb in an attempt to kill, with pre-meditation and malice aforethought, members of the uniformed services of the United States and to shoot survivors of said detonation with a firearm. Evidence further revealed that Abdo did knowingly possess a .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol while carrying out his plot.

“This case serves as another reminder of the need for vigilance against extremists both at home and abroad,” said Assistant Attorney General Monaco. “I thank the many federal, state and local law enforcement officials who thwarted Abdo’s plot and were responsible for this successful prosecution.”

Following the sentencing hearing, U.S. Attorney Pitman stated, “This prosecution demonstrates two important points. First, the prevention of tragic events such as Mr. Abdo was planning can be averted by alert citizens who pass along their concerns to law enforcement officials and by law enforcement officers who diligently perform their duties. And second, that those who use or plan violence to further their twisted agendas will be prosecuted as aggressively as the law allows and will, as in this case, spend the rest of their lives staring at the walls of a prison cell.”

Officers with the Killeen Police Department arrested Abdo on July 27, 2011. At the time of his arrest, the defendant, an absent without leave (AWOL) soldier from Fort Campbell, Ky., was in possession of the handgun plus instructions on how to build a bomb as well as bomb making components. Testimony during the trial revealed that Abdo intended to detonate the destructive device inside an unspecified restaurant frequented by soldiers from Fort Hood.

“Today’s sentencing of Mr. Abdo is a conclusion to an investigation which defines what we hope to do every time, that is to prevent an act of terrorism before it occurs,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Fernandez.

“This sentencing today provides a sense of comfort to the Killeen residents especially those affiliated with the military that Mr. Abdo will no longer be a threat to our community,” stated Killen Police Chief Baldwin.

This case was investigated by agents with the FBI and their Joint Terrorism Task Force together with the Killeen Police Department; U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigation Command, 902nd MI Group and Explosives Ordnance Disposal; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S. Marshals Service; Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Rangers; Bell County District Attorney’s Office; McLennan County Sheriff’s Office; and, the Oak Grove (KY) Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark Frazier and Gregg Sofer of the Western District of Texas and Trial Attorney Larry Schneider of the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

nationalsecuritylaw al-Owhali v. Holder (10th Cir. Aug. 7, 2012)

August 8, 2012

* al-Owhali v. Holder (10th Cir. Aug. 7, 2012) (affirming dismissal of suit by terrorism-related defendant challenging special-administrative measures)

In a 12-page opinion posted here, a 10th Circuit panel has affirmed dismissal of a suit by Mohamed Rashed al-Owhali (convicted in connection with the 1998 bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi, Kenya) in which al-Owhali argued that his constitutional rights were violated by special administrative measures that forbade him from receiving letters from his nieces and nephews, as well as two Arabic-language newspapers and Jimmy Carter’s recent book on Palestine. The 10th Circuit agreed that these claims were insufficiently pled.

nationalsecuritylaw apologies for the garbled text (al-Haramain Islamic Foundation v. Obama (9th Cir. Aug. 7, 2012))

August 7, 2012

My apologies for the last post coming through the system with garbled text. I have no idea why it does that once every few months…anyway, the link to the Ninth Circuit’s opinion dismissing al-Haramain’s suit on sovereign immunity grounds is posted at Again, sorry for the trouble.

nationalsecuritylaw al-Haramain Islamic Foundation v. Obama (9th Cir. Aug. 7, 2012)

August 7, 2012

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