The Catholic University of America
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Michael Noone, Research Ordinary Professor at Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law, was among five experts invited to participate in “Terrorism and the Law: A Balance of Security and Justice,” a panel discussion held at the American Bar Association’s D.C. offices on Dec. 2.
The discussion centered on a complex question: What is the appropriate balance between protecting U.S. national interests in addressing threats to national security and the rights of individuals affected by national actions in the current operational context?
“Our legal system is predicated on the notion that smart people don’t kill themselves,” observed Noone, who served for 20 years as a Judge Advocate in the United States Air Force and is internationally respected as long time expert on global terrorism.
The problem, he said, is that the assumption is flat wrong. In the future, terrorists who are willing to blow themselves up in order to take bystanders with them will no longer be confined to the Middle East, but can be expected to carry out such actions in Europe and elsewhere with increasing frequency, he predicted.
“The question is, how does a democratic society respond to suicide bombers?” Noone asked.
The British government is working on legislation that the U.S. would do well to monitor, said Noone. England’s proposed new law would include provisions—such as banning public speakers in certain circumstances—that may be inconsistent with our notions of civil liberties.
“Can you imagine that here with our First Amendment?” Noone said.
Other experts on the panel came at the security vs. freedom conundrum from different angles, discussing topics such as the current threat in the U.S. from terrorists, how ISIS is different or not from earlier groups that exist to challenge the state, and what sort of protocols determine the use of drones in the fight against terrorism.
Fellow panelists included:
  • Robert Blitzer, Senior Fellow, George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute, Former FBI Domestic Terrorism Section Chief
  • George Jameson, Co-Founder and Chairman, Council on Intelligence Issues; Jameson Consulting; Adjunct Staff Member, RAND Corporation; former director of the CIA’s policy and coordination office
  • Thomas A. Marks, Head of Department, War and Conflict Studies, College of International Security Affairs, National Defense University
  • Dawn M.K. Zoldi, Staff Judge Advocate, United States Air Force Academy 
The panel discussion was co-sponsored by the ABA Standing Committee on Governmental Affairs; The Catholic University of America Military Law & National Security Law Students Association; and the George Mason University Law School - Homeland & National Security Law Program.
The program was moderated by Kenneth Wainstein, Partner, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft; first Assistant Attorney General for National Security and a former Homeland Security Advisor under the Bush Administration.