Getting Out of Gitmo: Dangerous or Smart?


The Biden Administration has announced its intent to close the Guantanamo Bay detainee facility.  Should this happen?  If it does, what should be done with the remaining detainees, who three successive Administrations have concluded are too dangerous to release?  What is the appropriate role of Congress in this decision?  Thanks for joining us as leading experts weighed in on this vital national security question.

The National Security Institute and the Federalist Society co-hosted this event featuring a three-person panel consisting of:

  • Karen Greenberg, Director of the Center on National Security at Fordham University School of Law
  • David Rivkin, Partner at BakerHostetler
  • Stephen Vladeck, Charles Alan Wright Chair in Federal Courts at the University of Texas School of Law

The panel was moderated by Jamil Jaffer, Founder and Executive Director of the National Security Institute at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University.


Panelist Bios: 

Karen Greenberg, a noted expert on national security, terrorism, and civil liberties, is Director of the Center on National Security at Fordham University.  She is the author of The Least Worst Place: Guantanamo’s First 100 Days (Oxford University Press, 2009), which was selected as one of the best books of 2009 by The Washington Post and

Her newest book, Rogue Justice:The Making of the Security State (Crown, 2016), explores the War on Terror’s impact on justice and law in America.  She is co-editor with Joshua L. Dratel of The Enemy Combatant Papers: American Justice, the Courts, and the War on Terror (Cambridge University Press, 2008) and The Torture Papers: The Road to Abu Ghraib (Cambridge University Press, 2005); editor of the books The Torture Debate in America (Cambridge University Press, 2006) and Al Qaeda Now (Cambridge University Press, 2005); and editor of the Terrorist Trial Report Card, 2001–2011.  Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Nation, The National Interest, Mother Jones,,and on major news channels.  She is a permanent member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


David Rivkin is a member of BakerHostetler’s litigation, international and environmental teams and is co-leader of the firm’s national appellate practice.  He has extensive experience in constitutional, administrative and international law litigation and has been involved in numerous high-profile cases.  With his prior experience in the government sector, David draws on a wealth of knowledge when providing compliance advice to companies and handling enforcement proceedings before government agencies on issues arising out of multilateral and unilateral sanctions, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), anti-boycott issues, bankruptcy and financial fraud matters, and environmental and energy issues.

David has developed and implemented legislative, regulatory and litigation initiatives for two presidential administrations.  Over the years, he has published hundreds of articles, op-eds, book reviews and book chapters on a variety of international, legal, constitutional, defense, arms control, foreign policy, environmental and energy issues for various newspapers and magazines, including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, USA Today and The Los Angeles Times, and has been a frequent commentator and guest on TV and radio shows including ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News, NPR and PBS.


Stephen Vladeck holds the Charles Alan Wright Chair in Federal Courts at the University of Texas School of Law and is a nationally recognized expert on the federal courts, constitutional law, national security law, and military justice.  Professor Vladeck has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Texas Supreme Court, and lower federal civilian and military courts; has served as an expert witness both in U.S. state and federal courts and in foreign tribunals; and has received numerous awards for his influential and widely-cited legal scholarship, his prolific popular writing, his teaching, and his service to the legal profession.

Vladeck is the co-host, together with Professor Bobby Chesney, of the popular and award-winning “National Security Law Podcast.”  He is CNN’s Supreme Court analyst and a co-author of Aspen Publishers’ leading national security law and counterterrorism law casebooks.  And he is an executive editor of the Just Security blog and a senior editor of the Lawfare blog.

Vladeck joined the Texas faculty in 2016 after 11 years teaching at the University of Miami School of Law and American University Washington College of Law.  He is an elected member of the University of Texas Faculty Council; an elected member of the American Law Institute; a Distinguished Scholar at the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law; and a senior editor of the peer-reviewed Journal of National Security Law and Policy.  He is the Supreme Court Fellow at the Constitution Project; and a member of the Advisory Committee to the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security, the Board of Academic Advisors of the American Constitution Society, and the advisory boards of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the National Institute of Military Justice, and the RAND History of U.S. Military Policy.


Moderator Bio:

Jamil N. Jaffer is the Founder and Executive Director of the National Security Institute, and an Assistant Professor of Law and Director of the National Security Law & Policy Program at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University.  Jamil is also Senior Vice President for Strategy, Partnerships & Corporate Development at IronNet Cybersecurity, a technology products startup founded by Gen (ret.) Keith B. Alexander, the former Director of the National Security Agency and Founding Commander of U.S. Cyber Command.  In addition, Jamil is an advisor to Beacon Global Strategies, a strategic advisory firm; 4iQ, a deep and dark web intelligence startup; Duco, a technology platform startup that connects corporations with geopolitical and international business experts; and Amber, a digital authentication and verification startup.