‘From Drone War to Closing Guantanamo: Continuing International Law Challenges for the Obama Administration’


John B Bellinger

SPEAKER: The Honorable John B. Bellinger III

Partner, Arnold & Porter LLP

Legal Adviser to the U.S. Department of State, 2005-2009

Senior Associate Counsel to the President and Legal Adviser to the National Security Council, The White House, 2001-2005

        TIME: 5.30 – 6.30, Monday 30th June 2014

VENUE: Committee Room 13, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

To attend please RSVP to: researchassistant8@henryjacksonsociety.org 

Before being elected President, Barack Obama promised that his administration would steer a significantly different course on counterterrorism to that of his predecessor, George W. Bush. However, six years into his presidency, Obama has retained key policies, such as rendition, detention and the use of armed drones. Some of these policies have brought the U.S. into contested legal territory.

These disputes are likely to continue into future administrations. For example, the Authorization for Use of Military Force, the resolution that the U.S. used to declare war against al-Qaeda after 9/11, is being closely considered for reform the further time passes since the attacks and as the US expands its war against jihadists into Yemen, Somalia and now, potentially, Iraq.

Ultimately, such issues are not just challenges for the United States. Liberal democracies across the world are attempting to balance effective counterterrorism policies while staying within the boundaries of international law.

By kind invitation of Mike Gapes MP, The Henry Jackson Society is pleased to invite you to a discussion with The Honorable John B. Bellinger III, Partner at Arnold & Porter LLP, former Legal Adviser to the U.S. Department of State and former Senior Associate Counsel to the President and Legal Adviser to the National Security Council at the White House. Mr. Bellinger will assess the most contentious international law challenges that the Obama administration is facing amidst its fight with terrorism, including the use of drone warfare, the continued existence of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, and the possibility of entering into international treaties.



The Honorable John B. Bellinger III is a partner in the international and national security practices of Arnold & Porter LLP in Washington, DC, where he advises sovereign governments and U.S. and foreign companies on a variety of international law and U.S. national security law issues. He is also an Adjunct Senior Fellow in International and National Security Law at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Mr. Bellinger served as The Legal Adviser for the U.S. Department of State under Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from April 2005 to January 2009. He previously managed Secretary Rice’s Senate confirmation and co-directed her State Department transition team. He received the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award in January 2009.

Mr. Bellinger served from February 2001 to January 2005 as Senior Associate Counsel to the President and Legal Adviser to the National Security Council at the White House, where he was Dr. Rice’s principal lawyer when she was National Security Adviser. He previously served as Counsel for National Security Matters in the Criminal Division of the Justice Department during the Clinton Administration (1997-2001), as Special Counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (1996), and as Special Assistant to Director of Central Intelligence William Webster (1988-1991).

Mr. Bellinger received his A.B. from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1982, his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1986, and an M.A. in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia in 1991.

Mr. Bellinger is a member of the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on International Law and the Department of Defense Legal Policy Board; one of four U.S. Members of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague; and a member of the U.S. “National Group,” which nominates judges to the International Court of Justice. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Society of International Law, and the American Law Institute.

Mr. Bellinger speaks regularly on US and foreign radio and television, has lectured at numerous U.S. and foreign universities and law schools, and is the author of many articles and op-eds on international law issues. He is a senior contributor to the Lawfare blog.


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