CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, March 6, 2006

Dershowitz Examines the Legal Questions of Preemptive War

If U.S. officials overhear talk of a planned murder or rape while eavesdropping on a telephone call under President George W. Bush's domestic spying program, what can they do -- within the law -- to stop it?  "We wouldn't know where to look to find the law because there is no law," said celebrated criminal defense lawyer and Harvard CrimProf Alan Dershowitz.  "Plainly we would not want them to ignore it" but no laws have been written to govern how the information can be used in court, he said.

In his new book, "Preemption: A Knife That Cuts Both Ways," Dershowitz supports preventive counter-terrorism measures -- from wiretapping to profiling, mass inoculation, targeted extrajudicial killings and preemptive military action -- to head off attacks by suicide bomber and other terrorists. But he says the Bush administration is bending the rules by failing to draw legal boundaries around those measures. Never shy of controversy, Dershowitz is sending each U.S. Senator and Congressman a copy of his book to spur debate on the issue. More from . . [Mark Godsey]

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