Security vs. Liberty? COVID-19 and Challenges to National Security Law

"Security vs. Liberty? COVID-19 and Challenges to National Security Law" a CLE seminar hosted on June 11, 2020, by the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, the International Law Association (American Branch), and the Center on National Security at Fordham Law.

While there is no evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic was a biological attack, the United States and at least some other countries found themselves unprepared to respond effectively, raising questions about preparedness for future pandemics – whether naturally occurring or man-made. Public health emergencies also open the door to other threats, including dangerous misinformation campaigns and cyber-attacks during a time when communication and coordination is increasingly dependent on digital means. Just as civil liberties were a casualty of the September 11th attacks, many are now concerned about what rights are being sacrificed for countermeasures against the coronavirus. How can countries best prepare for future pandemics without infringing upon rights and liberties? Is it legal for a government to track its citizens and preventatively restrict the movement of possibly infected individuals? How can we prevent campaigns funded by foreign interests to sow misinformation and division during a public health emergency without infringing on the freedom of speech? Experts in this webinar will discuss what governments can do to balance these competing interests and ensure a comprehensive biodefense strategy.


Mr. John Berger — Senior Fellow and Managing Editor and Moderator of Vital Interests: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Global Reset, Center on National Security

Ms. Neema Singh Guliani — Senior Legislative Counsel, American Civil Liberties Union, Washington Legislative Office

Honorable Andrew C. "Andy" Weber — Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs; Senior Fellow, the Council on Strategic Risks

Professor Leila Nadya Sadat — Director, Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute; James Carr Professor of International Law, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law


Thank you to our Sustaining Partners. Learn more at