Our guest for episode 90 is Charlie Savage, New York Times reporter, talking about Power Wars, his monumental new book on the law and politics of terrorism in the Obama (and Bush) administrations.  I pronounce it superb, deeply informative, and fairly unbiased, “for a New York Times reporter.”  With that, the fat is in the fire, and Charlie and I trade views – and occasional barbs – about how the Bush and Obama administrations handled the surveillance issues that arose after 9/11.

In the news roundup, Michael Vatis and I puzzle over the FTC’s astonishing loss on its own home court.  We wonder why the FTC failed to do the right thing and drop the LabMD case when the FTC’s source began to lose credibility by the shovel-load.  I suggest that FTC leadership was suffering from the rarely spotted “Darrel Issa Derangement Syndrome.”

Jason Weinstein deconstructs the claim that the European Union is “cracking down” on bitcoin in response to the attacks in Paris.

Stepping out of character, I defend the value of diplomatic “words on paper,” finding promise in the G20’s announcement that all twenty members join in condemning cyberespionage for commercial purposes.

Michael recaps the latest in litigation over the nearly expired NSA 215 program.  DC Circuit Judge Kavanagh has explained why Judge Leon is wrong about the program, depriving the district court judge of the last word on the subject and demonstrating that its lawfulness can be assessed without resort to exclamation points.

Working a technology help desk could drive a man to suicide.  Until ISIS opened its own terrorist help line, though, we thought that was a bug not a feature.  In the same vein, I mock Glenn Greenwald for insisting that Snowden taught ISIS nothing about security about a week before we got to see a tech manual, apparently in use by the terror group, which invokes Fast Eddie’s advice about which remote storage systems are safe to use.

Download the ninetieth episode (mp3).