Former State Department attorney-adviser Bowker visits Law and Security Colloquium (AUDIO)

As an attorney-adviser for the law of armed conflict in the Department of State's Office of the Legal Adviser, David Bowker found his area of expertise coming squarely front-and-center in the wake of 9/11, when the U.S. government had to formulate a response to the devastating terrorist attacks. Bowker discussed this process at length when he talked about "Unwise Counsel in the Wake of 9/11: How Bad Legal Advice and the Avoidance of Process Led to Unlawful Conduct in the War on Terrorism" during his November 17 visit to the Law and Security Colloquium. Good decisions were made, said Bowker, but also numerous bad ones that violated due process. Among other anecdotes, Bowker recalled his unease at the news that, regarding the issue of holding detainees, the executive branch was seeking "the legal equivalent of outer space": "If there are people out there looking for the legal equivalent of outer space, God only knows what they want to do there and why."