Pentagon

* Gun nuts want to prevent THE PENTAGON from buying too many bullets. [Talking Points Memo]

* Subway employees can be held liable for not helping police officers. I’m a legal genius. [New York Law Journal]

* Employment lawyers get catty on their way out of the door. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Do top firms even have compliance departments? [Corporate Counsel]

* Colleges are cracking down on Adderall abuse. So… it only took administrators about a decade to figure out that was going on. [New York Times]

* Okay, now Obama is going to close Guantanamo. And by “close,” I think he means “finds other excuses to leave it open.” [SCOTUSblog]

Image via Getty

Yesterday, we (and every other media outlet) ran our solemn 9/11 remembrance post. In general, I thought the media handled the day fine. I thought the NFL handled it in an unseemly “Are we not RESPECTFUL” fashion, and don’t even get me started on the companies who used 9/11 to push their products. I thought it was assumed that most companies were against global terrorism but until the Budweiser Clydesdales bowed, I wasn’t sure. I guess I should be happy that they didn’t have the Miller High Life guy busting into a cave and taking away a case of non-alcoholic beer from a terrorist.

In any event, today will be the predictable day where the media now takes a closer look at the aftermath of 9/11. And by “closer look,” I mean “report on everything that’s gone horribly wrong since 9/11.”

Gawker already got that ball rolling. I’ve got a really heartwarming story from a law firm that I want to share before I “take a closer look” at the week after 9/11….

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Today marks the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Throughout today, people have been looking back and reflecting on the tragic events of 9/11, as well as remembering and praying for the thousands who perished on that day.

Scanning the Twitter and Facebook feeds of my friends, I’ve seen competing impulses. Most people’s posts have been somber and sad. Some have taken the opportunity to reaffirm America’s greatness; others have used the occasion to criticize U.S. foreign policy, especially in the Middle East. Now that the day is coming to an end, some have expressed 9/11 fatigue.

If you have 9/11 fatigue, you can stop reading here. But if not, please continue….

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Jeh Johnson

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The fate of Guantanamo Bay. The repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The rise of WikiLeaks. The raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound. The conflict in Libya.

On these and many other critical national security legal issues, one of the most important advisers to Defense Secretary Robert Gates and President Barack Obama’s White House has been Jeh C. Johnson, General Counsel of the Department of Defense. In light of his role as senior legal adviser to the largest government agency in the world, responsible for the work of over 10,000 lawyers, it is no understatement to describe Johnson as one of the powerful and influential lawyers in the entire federal government.

I recently went down to Washington to interview Johnson in his office at the Pentagon. If you think security at your law firm is tight, visit the Pentagon. I had to pass through a metal detector and multiple security checkpoints before arriving at Johnson’s office, located on the E Ring within the mammoth structure — the world’s largest office building by floor area, with over 6.5 million square feet housing over 25,000 employees. (I was accompanied at all times by a member of Johnson’s staff, which prevented me from getting lost inside the maze-like complex.)

Before entering Johnson’s private office, I had to surrender my Blackberry – the office is a SCIF (pronounced “skiff”), or “Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility.” This means that it is specially designed to prevent eavesdropping, thanks to walls and doors of specified thickness and the use of jamming technologies. The windows of Johnson’s office, tinted a yellowish green, are blast-resistant and designed to preclude visual surveillance.

Once I made it to the inner sanctum, I was in for a treat. My wide-ranging discussion with Jeh Johnson covered his remarkable career path, which has included service as a federal prosecutor, partnership at a top law firm (Paul Weiss), and his current post as GC of the Defense Department; the virtues of public service, as well as the growing challenges for lawyers interested in it; and Johnson’s advice for law students and lawyers who aspire to careers in government (hint: keep your nanny on the books)….

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