Top National Security Advisors Speak at UVA Law School

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Brigadier General Richard C. Gross Brigadier General Richard C. Gross

How to keep America safe was a big talking point at the University of Virginia Saturday, as the very people charged with that task left their posts in Washington for the fourth annual seminar on teaching national security law at the UVA's Law School. 

Saturday's seminar included top advisors to the Department of Defense, the Department of State, and various branches of the military. Top national security advisors say protecting the country takes a delicate balance. The president's conversation with Iran, sending troops to Syria, and other national security issues are on the minds of Americans and U.S. leaders.

"We have an interest in stopping the terrorists, they want to do bad things to us," said John Norton Moore, a UVA law professor.

Many of those leaders rely heavily on attorneys who converged Saturday at the University of Virginia. Brigadier General Richard C. Gross advises the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and offered central Virginians clear advice.

"I don't think people ought to worry but I think they ought to be vigilant and smart, if you see something say something," he said.

Moore directs the university's Center of National Security Law. He says that there is a delicate legal balance between checking the power of terrorists who want to harm us.

"As well as checks on power of the way we run the process here to not only protect our national security but protect our freedoms and our liberties," he said.

Liberties like whether or when the government listens to our phone conversations. 

"During the period immediately after the war on terror and 9/11 there was really a failure of the national security process and the lawyers to get involved," Moore said.

Moore is talking about cruel treatment of detainees. He says that, in turn, caused more national security issues.

"Other countries came to us and said we are not going to cooperate in the war on terror unless you stop doing some of these things," Moore said.

These are only some of the lessons discussed at Saturday's fourth annual seminar for teaching national security law. UVA's Center for National Security Law is the first center of its kind in the United States.