© 2015 by Matthew F. Ferraro. Created with Wix.com

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Welcome to my personal website.  I am an attorney at WilmerHale, a Visiting Fellow at the National Security Institute at George Mason Law School, and a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.  This website catalogs my personal and professional writings.  You are welcome to follow me on LinkedIn or Twitter and to Subscribe for updated postings to this page.  Please note that my personal writings represent only my views and not those of my employers.  Thank you. 



  • First Federal Legislation on Deepfakes Signed Into Law, WilmerHale Client Alert, Dec. 23, 2019

    • On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed the nation’s first federal law related to "deepfakes.” The law (1) requires a comprehensive report on the foreign weaponization of deepfakes; (2) requires the government to notify Congress of foreign deepfake-disinformation activities targeting US elections; and (3) establishes a “Deepfakes Prize” competition to encourage the research or commercialization of deepfake-detection technologies.​

  • To Revitalize the Foreign Policy Center, Head to the Heartland: Mac Thornberry Calls for Renewed American Internationalism, 53 The Ripon Forum 26 (Nov. 22, 2019)

    • At a time when America’s role in the world is being questioned by many, this article analyzes a series of “Heartland Speeches” on national security that U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry has been delivering around the country, compares them favorably to a similar effort launched by Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the mid-1970s, and calls for a renewed, bipartisan embrace of American internationalism.​

  • Deepfake Legislation: A Nationwide Survey, WilmerHale Client Alert, Sept. 25, 2019

    • Federal and state lawmakers across the nation are considering legislation to address what they see as the rising dangers of "deepfakes." Deepfakes are false yet highly realistic artificial intelligence-created video, audio and text. This white paper provides a comprehensive overview of all pending and adopted legislation in this fast-changing field--the first such publication to do so.

  • Texas Law Could Signal More State, Federal Deepfake BansLaw 360, Sept. 6, 2019

    • On Sept. 1, Texas became the first state in the nation to prohibit the creation or distribution of deepfake videos intended to harm candidates for public office or influence elections. Amid rising fears of the dangers of hyper-realistic, computer-altered fake photos and videos, Texas is now only the second state to impose penalties on the creation and propagation of deepfakes in certain circumstances. Other state houses around the country, as well as Congress, may adopt additional, comparable measures targeting deepfake technology over the next year.​

  • Bipartisan Group of Legislators Unveils Bill to Address Threat of “Deepfake” Videos, WilmerHale Client Alert, July 2, 2019

    • This piece summarizes the Deepfakes Report Act of 2019, introduced on June 28, 2019, which broadly defines “deepfakes” and lays out requirements and directives for the US Department of Homeland Security. One of several deepfakes bills proposed in the past few months, this represents the latest effort by federal and state lawmakers to address rising public concerns about the dangers posed by high-quality disinformation to the electoral process, national security, commercial and financial activity, and personal privacy. (co-author)​

  • Disinformation is Harming Businesses. Here are 6 Ways to Fight It, CNN Business, June 10, 2019​

    • This threat of disinformation to companies, brands, and markets will only get worse as disinformation attacks become more common and as deep fakes become more convincing and their use more widespread in both political and business spheres. So what can corporations do to protect their brands and valuations? Businesses and institutions should consider six measures that they can take before, during and after a disinformation attack.​

  • Environmental Deconfliction 2019: The National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2019, 49 Environmental Law Reporter 10220 (2019)

    • This analysis of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) argues that the annual U.S. defense legislation has “worldwide ramifications” and “may be one of the most significant pieces of energy and environmental legislation most people have never heard of.”  It addresses legislative provisions related to 1. Climate Resiliency, 2. Energy Management, 3. Hazardous Substances, and 4. Environment and Natural Resource Management.  (co-author) (The Environmental Law Reporter is published by the Environmental Law Institute.)

  • Fake News Threatens our Businesses, Not Just our Politics, The Washington Post, February 8, 2019, at B5

    • "Fake news" threatens not just politics but corporations, brands, and shareholders.  This under-theorized issue will become only more important as disinformation attacks become more common.  This article outlines a framework for thinking about threats in this space and proposes actions companies can take both before and after fake-news attacks occur. (co-author)

  • The World That Awaits: Foreign Policy Issues Confronting the 116th Congress, National Security Institute Law and Policy Paper, February 7, 2019

    • This law and policy paper introduces the immediate challenges found in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East that are making headlines today and considers how these issues contribute to the larger picture of global affairs in 2019.  It addresses recent developments that are driving policy decisions confronting the 116th Congress and anticipates the key questions that Congress will need to consider for these regions in the coming year. (co-author)​

  • Target of Disinformation, Brunswick Review, January 17, 2019

    • Much has been made about the rise of fake news--false reports that look like genuine news articles--and the threat it poses to elections and democracy in general.  Less well understood is the role disinformation can play in damaging the reputations of private corporations and institutions.  This Question-and-Answer article provides insight into what legal and crisis-management options C-suites may consider when faced with a crisis brought about by misinformation attacks. (co-author)​

  • War Against Wildfires a New Priority for House Armed Services Committee?, The Hill, November 29, 2018

    • The threat wildfires pose to the health and safety of the country is not a concern only of the US Forest Service and the Congress’s environmental committees. When the 116th Congress convenes in January 2019, expect legislative activity aimed at mitigating the dangers of wildfires from an unexpected place: the House Armed Services Committee under the probable chairmanship of Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.).​ (co-author)

  • Treasury Requires Mandatory Filings for Foreign Investments in Specified US Businesses, WilmerHale Client Alert, October 16, 2018

    • The U.S. Department of the Treasury recently released an interim rule that establishes a pilot program to implement portions of the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act. Primarily, the pilot program (1) expands the jurisdiction of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to cover certain non-controlling, non-passive investments in companies involved with critical technologies within specific industries, and (2) mandates that parties file declarations for transactions covered by the pilot program. (co-author)​

  • A Fleeting Philosophy? 'America First' Policy Could Fizzle Fast When Millennials Overtake Boomers, The Baltimore Sun, October 9, 2018, at 11

    • Survey data and immutable demographic trends argue that the President's foreign policy is not likely to endure for long as American society changes and millenials--who are hardwired internationalists--come to the fore.  (Published as 'America First' Will Likely Fizzle Fast on the Sun's website on October 8, 2018.  Reprinted in The Herald Review and The Korea Herald, among others.)

  • Key Energy Environment and Natural Resources Provisions of the 2019 Defense Bill, Law 360, August 9, 2018

    • The National Defense Authorization Act for 2019 will have a major impact on energy, environment, and natural resources policy. This article assesses five of the bill's key provisions in that space, including provisions relating to the study and remediation of toxic chemicals, known as PFAS, around military bases; the use of geothermal energy sales to support military bases; the declaration of wildfires as a threat to national security; the extended authorization for the taking of marine mammals by the Department of Defense; and the transfer of funds to cleanup the Agent Orange-remnant dioxin in Vietnam. (co-author)​ (Published as Top 5 NDAA Provisions on Energy and the Environment by Law 360.)

  • Congress Expands U.S. Government Review of Foreign Investments, WilmerHale Client Alert, Aug. 2, 2018

    • The  Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018 significantly modifies the rules for foreign investments in the United States. Because of this law, which reflects growing bipartisan concern that certain foreign transactions are diminishing U.S. technological superiority, navigating deal risks will likely grow more complex, for both U.S. sellers and foreign buyers. The law requires the Secretary of the Treasury to craft new regulations to implement many of its provisions. The rule-making process is likely to play out over the next year with a variety of opportunities for companies to engage with the Treasury Department about the new regulations. Interested parties will want to engage in the regulatory process and in the writing of guidelines and examples. (co-author)​

  • Environmental Deconfliction: The National Defense Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2018 and Its Implications for Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources, 18 Pratt's Energy Law Report 223 (2018)

    • The energy, environment, and natural resources issues involving the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) are significant.  With massive energy requirements across its worldwide operations, with legacy pollution and ongoing industrial scale operations at many military bases, and with millions of acres of habitat supporting endangered species as well as other natural resources, the DoD is acutely focused on matters related to energy, the environment, and natural resources. Analyzing the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act through this lens can provide valuable insights into DoD’s current priorities, challenges, and opportunities.​ (co-author)

  • Congress’ Overlooked Environmental Legislation, Law 360, June 11, 2018

    • The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is the most important piece of environmental legislation most people have never heard of.  As the single largest energy consumer in the world, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is acutely focused on matters related to energy, environment and natural resources.  The stealth environmental and energy lawmaking in the NDAA will have substantial effects on the DoD, its partners, and its contractors. During a period of congressional gridlock and controversy surrounding environmental policy, the 2018 NDAA already on the books and the 2019 NDAA now being written represent significant, if often overlooked, policymaking efforts in this critical area.  (co-author)

  • To Resist Disinformation, Learn to Think Like an Intelligence Analyst, 62 Studies in Intelligence 49 (2018)

    • ​​​The devious and sophisticated disinformation campaign Russia waged during the 2016 presidential election is a direct challenge to our citizenry’s ability to think critically, separate bad data from good, and avoid conspiratorial conceits.  Technological fixes from Silicon Valley may help stem some digital disinformation, but the surest guardian against deception rests between our ears—in our abilities to resist confirmation bias, think independently, and assess information with rational detachment.  To that end, everyday citizens could benefit from learning the kind of analytic techniques that the CIA has honed for generations. (co-authored with Preston Golson.  Reprinted in The Intelligencer)​

  • Cost-Sharing with State and Local Governments, WilmerHale Infrastructure Series, March 23, 2018

    • The White House's Infrastructure Plan calls for roughly $1.5 trillion in infrastructure investments over ten years .  However, federal spending would account for only $200 billion of that total.  The Administration's plan to make up the difference relies on "cost-sharing," a specialized way of shifting responsibility to state and local entities.  ​While the Administration has not elaborated on the specifics of its proposal, the example of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its history with cost-sharing provides a valuable case study that can inform how such initiatives among federal, state, and local entities may work--and their potential pitfalls. (co-author)

  • Not At Home: Reining in General Personal Jurisdiction After BNSF Railway Co. v. Tyrrell, 86 Bloomberg Law Insights 1293 (March 22, 2018)

    • The U.S. Supreme Court case BNSF Railway Co. v. Tyrell redefined the contours of a court’s jurisdictional reach by effectively subjecting corporations to general personal jurisdiction only in those states where they are incorporated or have their principal place of business. Dozens of courts across the country have relied on BNSF Railway to dismiss lawsuits under factual circumstances that, in the past, would almost certainly have sufficed for the exercise of general jurisdiction.  (co-author)

  • Speak to the Heartland: Lessons from Kissinger’s Defense of Détente, Real Clear Defense, January 3, 2018

    • To fortify support for liberal values and American internationalism, private citizens and public officials should revive an under-appreciated series of public addresses called the "heartland speeches" that Henry Kissinger gave in the mid-1970s.   In a campaign that can be called the "Heartland Speeches 2.0," Americans would speak to live audiences across the country in favor of the pragmatic and principled values and policies that have served America and the world well for the past 70 years.

  • Treasury Report Proposes Revamping Post-Crash Financial Regulation, WilmerHale Financial Regulation Alert, July 21, 2017​​

    • In the first of four reports to the President, the U.S. Department of the Treasury proposed significant changes to Obama-era banking regulations. The Report seeks to streamline supervision of the financial sector, give political appointees more influence over regulation, and exempt some institutions from rules, among other changes. (co-author)

  • How Can Foreign Policy Survive Trump? Look to the CIA, Overt Action, October 4, 2016

    • American intelligence agencies' little-appreciated relationships with foreign intelligence agencies have a history of weathering rough patches, and they may well provide the ballast American national security and foreign policy will need in a topsy-turvy Trump administration.

  • On the OPM Hack, Don't Let China Off the Hook, The Diplomat, July 14, 2015

    • By portraying the OPM attack as acceptable in the rough-and-tumble world of great power politics, the United States is needlessly surrendering valuable arguments that, if properly advanced, could mitigate Chinese aggression in cyberspace and elsewhere.

  • Challenge 2016 Candidates on Long-Term Security Policy, Cicero Magazine, June 18, 2015

    • The media has prompted the presidential candidates to articulate their positions on the so-called Islamic State while allowing them to stay mum on the growing challenge to world order in the South China Sea, in particular, and in Asia, generally. The candidates should address these challenges openly.  (Published originally on Overt Action on June 5, 2015).

  • Intelligence Reform 2.0, Defense One, April 21, 2015

    • On the tenth anniversary of the creation of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, we need even more radical transformation as national-security challenges grow, budgets decrease, and questions arise about intelligence’s place within an open society. The U.S. should embrace six recommendations to make sure America's leaders and troops get the intelligence they need. (co-authored with David R. Shedd)

  • Petraeus' Double Standard, The Baltimore Sun, March 11, 2015, at 19A

    • There is a double standard whereby Gen. David Petraeus and a long, embarrassing line of national security principals have flouted information security rules and gotten off relatively easily while lower-level intelligence leakers have received harsher punishments. Such episodes breed cynicism among rank-and-file intelligence officers who bear the daily inconveniences of protecting secrets while the higher-ups do not.  (Published as The Petraeus Double Standard on the Sun's website on March 10, 2015.)

  • Intelligence Design: Putting the CIA's Reported Reorganization in Context, The National Interest, January 7, 2015

    • The reported CIA reorganization -- the proposal to break down bureaucratic walls between analysts and collectors and create more joint "centers" -- must be placed in the context of the larger post-9/11 intelligence reform movement. Such a redesign provides an important case study of how bureaucracies can change, and the CIA’s successful reorganization would be the most significant evidence yet that the intelligence reform effort, so often maligned, has succeeded at the place some thought it least likely, at the CIA itself.

  • The Case for Stronger Bhutanese-American TiesThe Diplomat, December 22, 2014

    • There are compelling "realist" and "idealist" arguments for strengthening U.S. ties with the small Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, especially in response to growing Chinese influence in South Asia.

  • Millennials' Romance With Federal Service Need Not Last a LifetimeGovernment Executive, November 6, 2014

    • ​The government should reorient its recruiting so that a larger percentage of new hires enter with the expectation that their tours will only constitute one chapter of long careers that span the private and public sectors. The millennial generation is tailor-made for this kind of initiative.

  • Spies Like Us: Why and How We Should Demystify American IntelligenceOvert Action, October 21, 2014

    • To increase the transparency of the intelligence community, the government must humanize the intelligence agencies, familiarize the public with their methods, and openly recognize error when the agencies have overstepped.

  • The Snowden StigmaThe Baltimore Sun, June 9, 2014, at 13A

    • The U.S. intelligence community does vital work within a network of laws and oversight, despite recent criticisms.  Young Americans should not let alleged CIA malevolence stop them from seeking work within the national security enterprise.

  • Ten Lessons From My Time as Assistant to the Big BossGovernment Executive, April 2, 2014

    • Personal experiences provide several best practices for assistants to government principals.

  • The Snowden Effect: How America’s Spy Agencies Can Fix Their Millennials ProblemPolitico Magazine, March. 13, 2014

    • The intelligence community should launch a fellowship program to address the public's growing skepticism of intelligence work. (co-authored with Daniel Dolgin)

  • "Groundbreaking" or Broken? An Analysis of SEC Cybersecurity Disclosure Guidance, its Effectiveness & Implications, 77 Albany Law Review 297 (2014)

    • An analysis of government comment letters and corporate annual reports reveals that the Securities and Exchange Commission's corporate cybersecurity disclosure guidance errs on procedural and policy grounds.

  • Addressing Bhutan’s Refugee Crisis Through the CourtsThe Diplomat, July 23, 2013

    • The Bhutanese constitution provides an innovative litigation strategy for denationalized Nepali-Bhutanese who seek residency status in Bhutan.

  • ​​Stateless in Shangri-La: Minority Rights, Citizenship, and Belonging in Bhutan, 48 Stanford Journal of International Law 504 (2012)

    • A new interpretation of the Bhutanese constitution can remedy the constitution's transgressions of international law norms related to its citizenship and nationalization provisions.

  • Working with China at the NSGThe Diplomat, June 24, 2011

    • A novel approach can resolve a WMD dispute between China and a little known but consequential international nonproliferation organization.


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