Nora Ellingsen, Lawfare

Nora Ellingsen


Cambridge, MA, United States

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Past articles by Nora:

'I Hope This Is an Instance of Fake News': FBI Messages Show the Bureau's Real Reaction to Trump Firing James Comey

What more than 100 pages of internal FBI communications after Comey's dismissal show about the bureau. → Read More

Trump Repeats His Lies About Terrorism, Immigration and Justice Department Data

The Justice Department-Homeland Security report on foreign-born individuals and terrorism is deeply flawed—and it still doesn’t support the president’s statements about it. → Read More

Four Recent International Terrorism Prosecutions Include Benghazi Mastermind Khatallah and Chelsea Bomber

Four international terrorism trials progressed in U.S. courts last week. → Read More

International Terrorism Prosecutions: September Update

September was a relatively quiet month for international terrorism arrests and prosecutions, with nearly all the action occurring in New York City. → Read More

What Are ‘Juggalos’ and Why Are They Marching Against the FBI?

A group of hip-hop fans, which the FBI designated as a gang in 2011, protested in Washington on Saturday. → Read More

International Terrorism Prosecutions: Spring and Summer Wrap-Up

The FBI arrested and charged eight men with attempting or conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State; Hezbollah operatives were arrested for planning attacks within U.S. borders; and the Justice Department brought the first foreigner to the U.S. to face terrorism charges since Trump became president. → Read More

Summary of Judge Cooper's Ruling Denying Abu Khatallah's Motion to Suppress

Judge Cooper ruled that Abu Khatallah's interviews with FBI interrogators should not be suppressed. → Read More

Christopher Wray’s First Problem: What to Do About Andrew McCabe

Christopher Wray took the oath of office at the FBI yesterday, and thus started the clock ticking on a difficult problem he’s going to have to address: the fate of his deputy, Andrew McCabe, who has been serving as acting director since President Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey. → Read More

On the Mood Among My Former Colleagues at the FBI

While Comey was a controversial figure in the larger political system and among Justice Department officials, he was not a controversial figure at the FBI at all. Nearly everyone loved him. → Read More

What the Data Really Show about Terrorists Who “Came Here,” Part III: What if You Included Domestic Terrorism Cases?

The Justice Department data about which President Trump appears to have been talking excludes domestic terrorism cases. The picture if very different if you don’t do that. → Read More

What the Data Really Show about Terrorists Who “Came Here,” Part II: A Country-by-Country Analysis

Which countries are, and which countries are not, exporting terrorists to the United States? And are those the same countries from which Trump’s executive order would ban entry? → Read More

What the Data Really Show about Terrorists Who “Came Here,” Part I: Introduction and Overview

President Trump declared to a Joint Session of Congress that Justice Department data show the “vast majority” of people convicted of terrorist crimes came from overseas. Here’s why that’s not true. → Read More

International Terrorism Prosecutions: An ISIS-Free Week

The National Security Division of the Justice Department released several press releases last week—and surprisingly, none of the cases had a nexus to the Islamic State. First, in federal district court in the Eastern District of New York, a jury returned a verdict convicting Ibrahim Suleiman Adnan Adam Harun, 46, of multiple terrorism offenses including conspiracy to murder American military… → Read More

This Week at the Military Commissions, 3/14 Session: More Testimony on the Cole Bombing

It’s Tuesday morning, and we’re back at Guantanamo for more pre-trial hearings in the al Nashiri case. The defendant, the alleged mastermind behind the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, is not present at the Commission today. We are informed by the defense that he waived his right to be present earlier. With no translations, the day moves quickly. As usual, Air Force Colonel Vance Spath is… → Read More

International Terrorism Prosecutions: 2017's Second Material Support Arrest

On February 21st, twenty-five year old Robert Lorenzo Hester, Jr. was charged in federal district court in the Western District of Missouri with attempting to provide material support to ISIL. Hester is the second person—after Noor Salman, the wife of the Orlando nightclub shooter—to be arrested on material support charges by the FBI in 2017. By comparison, the FBI arrested 41 subjects on… → Read More

It’s Not Foreigners Who are Plotting Here: What the Data Really Show

A little more than a week ago, Benjamin Wittes posted a piece about the malevolence and incompetence of Trump’s Executive Order on visas and refugees—an order that, in his words, is both wildly over-inclusive and wildly under-inclusive. If we take the ban and its stated purpose at face value (which Ben argued we should not), at best, the ban is ineffective and fails “to protect Americans.” At… → Read More

Domestic Terrorism Prosecutions: From Mississippi to Upstate New York

Last Thursday, two material support defendants had important dates in federal district court. In the Northern District of Mississippi, Jaelyn Delshaun Young was sentenced to 12 years in prison for conspiring to provide material support to ISIL. Meanwhile, in the Western District of New York, Emanuel L. Lutchman pleaded guilty to the same charge. According to the affidavit in support of the… → Read More

More ISIL Cases: A Cop Gets Arrested and an Ohio Man Pleads Guilty

On Wednesday in Fairfax, Virginia, the FBI arrested Nicholas Young, a 36-year-old police officer with the Washington Metropolitan Transportation Authority, on charges of attempting to provide material support to ISIL. As we mentioned several weeks ago, the Washington, D.C. area has recently seen an uptick in men attempting to travel overseas to join ISIL, or otherwise providing support to the… → Read More

7/25 Session: Did the Clock Run Out While in Secret Detention?

Pre-trial hearings continue Monday morning at Guantanamo Bay in the case of the five men accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks. Judge Pohl calls the session to order. It seems all the defendants are present, with the exception of Walid Bin Attash. For the first two hours, the commission focuses on the question of whether Bin Attash has voluntarily waived his right to be present. He did sign a… → Read More

Florida Crew

Last Thursday in the Southern District of Florida, three men from Palm Beach County were charged via complaint with material support to terrorism. Gregory Hubbard, 52, Darren Arness Jackson, 50, and Dayne Atani Christian, 31 were all arrested after Hubbard tried to board a plane at Miami International Airport—the first leg of his trip to Syria. The complaint also charges Christian, who was… → Read More