A weekly discussion of national security and foreign policy matters hosted by Shane Harris of the Washington Post and featuring Brookings scholars Tamara Cofman Wittes, Benjamin Wittes, and Susan Hennessey.
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This week, Alan, Quinta and Scott were joined by Rational Security forefather and Washington Post reporter Shane Harris to discuss:“The Hunt for Bread October”: Which country did a U.S. Navy employee and his wife attempt to smuggle nuclear secrets to inside a peanut butter sandwich? And why did that country turn them over to FBI instead?“Turn After Leaving”: Is the intelligence community executing its own pivot to Asia—and will the post-withdrawal collapse of Afghanistan stymie its effort?“You Got Served”: Will the January 6 committee get the testimony and documents it is demanding, over former President Trump's open direction not to cooperate?For object lessons, Alan steered listeners to do some self-guided learning via the Great Courses Plus program; Quinta brought some attention to the unique items former White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham chose to put in her background during her recent appearance on Meet the Press; Scott encouraged D.C. residents to run and get the cocomotion, rum distillery Cotton & Reed's incredibly delicious rendition of a fermented piña colada, before temperatures get too chilly; and Shane doubled down on the Queen's endorsement of her new favorite show, Line of Duty. Be sure to visit our show page at www.lawfareblog.com and to follow us on Twitter at @RatlSecurity. And Rational Security listeners can now get a committed ad-free feed by becoming a Lawfare material supporter at www.patreon.com/lawfare! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined by special guest and Lawfare associate editor Bryce Klehm to discuss:"The Problem with Nosy Neighbors": How concerned should we be about the Chinese military getting up in Taiwan's business—and airspace—over the weekend?"If You Want to be Popular, Don't Go to Law School": Does the Supreme Court's declining popularity mean it is headed for a legitimacy crisis? And finally:"Now That's Outside-the-Box Financial Planning": What do the recently unleashed Pandora Papers tell us about the world's wealthy elites—and the people leaking information about them? For object lessons, Quinta encouraged listeners to check out pictures and other remembrances of the COVID memorial exhibit on the National Mall that ended this past weekend; Scott endorsed the YouTube channel of his favorite online bartender as well as his new favorite drink, the Trinidad Sour; Alan sang the praises of his favorite open source operating system, Linux, and urged others to convert; and Bryce spoke of his love for Ken Burns and his latest documentary on Muhammad Ali.And if you have questions for our forthcoming mailbag segment, be sure to send them to us!Be sure to visit our show page at www.lawfareblog.com and to follow us on Twitter at @RatlSecurity. And Rational Security listeners can now get a committed ad-free feed by becoming a Lawfare material supporter at www.patreon.com/lawfare! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined by special guest (and our first-ever undisputed Generation Z guest) Lawfare managing editor Jacob Schulz! They discussed:From the Department of the End of the Republic: Should a recently revealed plan to manipulate the counting of the 2020 electoral votes in President Trump's favor have us worried about 2024?A Prisoner Dilemma: What should we make of China's use of hostage diplomacy to secure the release of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou? And,Hitting “Unfriend”: Is a federal court correct that Facebook has an obligation to share information on atrocities with international tribunals?For object lessons, Quinta endorsed "The Other Two" for some wholesome entertainment; Alan sang the praises of the newest pasta shape on the block; Scott dismissed Alan's pasta shape as a thing of nightmares, while endorsing the Tuscan classic "priest-strangler" (and saying hello to some RatSec listeners in the family); and Jacob brought our attention to the trend of French presidents being abused by their constituents, exemplified most recently by the (unsuccessful) egging of French President Emmanuel Macron. Be sure to visit our show page at www.lawfareblog.com and to follow us on Twitter at @RatlSecurity. And Rational Security listeners can now get a committed ad-free feed by becoming a Lawfare material supporter at www.patreon.com/lawfare! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
This week, Alan, Quinta and Scott were joined by special guest Lawfare executive editor (and first-time podcaster) Natalie Orpett! They sat down to discuss:The AUKUS Awkwardness: Why does a new U.S.-U.K.-Australia agreement over submarines have France (and China) up in arms?Not Like on J6: What does the "Justice for J6 Rally" flop tell us about the state of right-wing extremism here in the United States and how the media covers it?Milley's Crossing: Did the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff step out of line in trying to assuage Chinese concerns over President Trump's intentions?For Object Lessons, Alan shared his Midwest pride in his wife's (vegetarian) hot dish (recipe here). Quinta celebrated the tearing down of the monument to inefficiency at the center of D.C.'s Dave Thomas Circle. Scott shared a scandalous discovery he recently made at a family wedding. And Natalie urged listeners to both visit the touching monument to Americans who died as a result of the COVID pandemic on the National Mall and celebrated the French language's special way with outrage, as embodied in the French national anthem. Be sure to visit our show page at http://www.lawfareblog.com and to follow us on Twitter at @RatlSecurity. And Rational Security listeners can now get a committed ad-free feed by becoming a Lawfare material supporter at http://www.patreon.com/lawfare! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
On this week's episode, Alan, Quinta, and Scott are joined by the fourth member of their Lawfare senior editor quartet, Brookings Institution Senior Fellow (and first-time Rational Security guest) Molly Reynolds!They sit down to discuss: the legacy of 9/11 and whether we've really done everything wrong since (including in Congress); the last tragic drone strike in Kabul that now appears to have killed an Afghan aid worker and his family, and what it tells us about the future of the U.S. drone program; and what the fences going up around the Capitol in advance of the right-wing “Justice for J6” rally this weekend mean for the state of our democracy. For object lessons, Alan mentioned this article in The Atlantic on "How Hollywood Sold Out to China"; Quinta highlighted Kim Kardashian's striking outfit at the 2021 Met Gala; Scott bore first-hand witness to the return of bald eagles to our nation's capital; and Molly recommended the new podcast "Bad Blood: The Final Chapter" on the Theranos trial.Be sure to visit our show page at http://www.lawfareblog.com/ and to follow us on Twitter at @RatlSecurity. And Rational Security listeners can now get a committed ad-free feed by becoming a Lawfare supporter at http://www.patreon.com/lawfare/! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
On this premiere episode of Rational Security 2.0, new hosts Alan Rozenshtein, Quinta Jurecic, and Scott R. Anderson are joined by special guest Benjamin Wittes to discuss: the Taliban's new government and the brutal way it seems to be governing (especially in relation to women); the Biden administration's border policies, and why they're facing trouble in the courts; and our summer from hell: are recent heat waves, wildfires, and floods now a permanent part of the American experience, and will this change the political calculus on climate change?For object lessons, Alan testified to the charms of Duluth, Minnesota; Ben talked about his efforts to shrink his carbon footprint, including by building Lawfare a new conference table; Quinta discussed an exciting new line of action figures taking toy stores by storm (pictured below); and Scott explained why the end of the global pandemic may just taste like pumpkin beer. Rational Security is a product of Lawfare. Be sure to visit Rational Security's show page and support Lawfare on Patreon to gain access to ad-free podcast feeds and other benefits. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Rational Security 2.0 returns after Labor Day…You can get the rest of this bonus episode, “The ‘Dry-Runs Are for Cowards' Edition,” by becoming a Lawfare supporter at http://www.patreon.com/lawfare/. And help us plan for our next phase by filling out this survey: https://forms.gle/ga7rUz6QfNSE6NST9.Weekly episodes of Rational Security 2.0 will start returning to this podcast feed after Labor Day… See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
We're going to stalk our former Rational Security hosts. We'll talk about this feed and what we should do with it. And, we'll chew over how the first hearing of the Jan. 6 commission went. Sort of. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Historic protests rock Cuba. The ripple effects of an assassination linger in Haiti. And a former president warns the consequences of withdrawal from Afghanistan will be “unbelievably bad.” See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
At long last, the Director of National Intelligence releases its findings about UFOs. The Trump Organization and its chief financial officers are accused of a 15-year tax fraud scheme. And Russian hackers are at it again, this time launching possibly the largest ransomware attack as well as a strike against the Republican National Committee. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The Egyptian government may have assisted a Saudi hit team in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a new investigation finds. Congress debates repealing an authorization for “forever war.” And a judge narrows the lawsuits filed over the clearing of Lafayette Square before a Trump photo op. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
World leaders convene in Cornwall and Brussels as President Biden makes his first official trip abroad. Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin have a face-to-face meeting in Geneva. And leak investigations aplenty have ensnared journalists, former officials and members of Congress. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Bibi Netanyahu may be out of a job. Alleged drug lords and contract killers thought they were using a secure messaging app but WOOPS, they were talking to the cops. And there's no evidence it's aliens, but the USG doesn't know WTF is flying around in our airspace. Support Rational Security! Don't forget to subscribe to Lawfare's Patreon to get access to an ad-free feed of this podcast and the Lawfare Podcast. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Violence escalates in Afghanistan as U.S. troops withdraw. President Biden directs intelligence agencies to look for more evidence that a lab leak may have started the covid pandemic. And a ransomware attack targets the world’s largest beef processor. Plus, special guest Madiha Afzal of the Brookings Institution joins the gang. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The prosecutor in the Trump criminal probe convenes a grand jury to hear evidence and weigh potential charges. The skyjacking of a commercial airliner over Belarus sparks international condemnation. And a former Saudi intelligence official could spill classified information in a U.S. court. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Fighting intensifies in Israel and Gaza as President Biden pleads for a cease fire. Lawmakers debate setting up a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack. And a New York state investigation of the Trump Organization is now exploring potential criminal conduct. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The death toll rises in Israel and Gaza as a historic wave of violence enters its third day. A ransomware attack leads to the shutdown of a major gas pipeline in the U.S. And the GOP identity crisis enters its latest phase. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
President Biden says he will raise the cap on refugees admitted to the United States. A federal judge accuses the Justice Department and former Attorney General Bill Barr of misleading her and Congress about the advice he got on whether to charge former President Trump. And an oversight board decides Facebook was right to suspend Donald Trump, but leaves open the question of whether to permanently kick him off the social media platform. Special guest Kate Klonick joins us to discuss! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Federal investigators search Rudy Giuliani’s New York apartment, in an escalation of a criminal investigation into the former president’s lawyer. Covid-19 ravages India, with a record-breaking number of daily infections reported, and the Biden administration pledges assistance. And two tech companies are facing off in a dispute over surveillance, privacy and security. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The Treasury Department says an associate of disgraced Trump ally Paul Manafort gave campaign data to “Russian Intelligence,” leading us to ask, why are we only hearing this now? A former senior Trump aide was up to even more shenanigans than we knew. And top intelligence officials testify about global threats. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
President Biden announces that all U.S. military forces will be out of Afghanistan by Sept. 11. A blackout at an Iranian nuclear facility is widely attributed to Israeli sabotage, complicating negotiations over a new nuclear deal. And we finally know the company that helped the FBI hack a notorious shooter’s phone. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Jordanian authorities mount arrests and detain a member of the royal family in what authorities called a threat to “security and stability” in the country, a key U.S. ally. An attack on the Capitol in Washington raises more questions about long-term security of that building. And the Biden administration seeks a way back to the negotiating table with Iran. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The debate heats up over “vaccine passports.” Google exposes a hacking operation that turns out to have been a government counterterrorism mission. And the World Health Organization's director says his agency needs to further investigate whether the coronavirus outbreak originated with a lab in China. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
U.S. and Chinese officials clash during tense meetings in Alaska. The race to vaccinate the world is becoming a geopolitical problem. And Benjamin Netanyahu’s political future is uncertain after his party fails to win an outright majority in Israel’s parliamentary elections. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
A weekly discussion of national security and foreign policy matters hosted by Shane Harris of the Washington Post and featuring Brookings senior fellows Susan Hennessey, Tamara Cofman Wittes, and Benjamin Wittes. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The Biden administration is reviewing the policy on drone strikes. At the same time, it grapples with how to respond to aggressive cyber threats from Russia and China. And one year after much of the United States went into a virtual lockdown, the origins of the coronavirus remain unknown. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The Biden administration is reviewing the policy on drone strikes. At the same time, it grapples with how to respond to aggressive cyber threats from Russia and China. And one year after much of the United States went into a virtual lockdown, the origins of the coronavirus remain unknown.
A newly released intelligence report officially blames Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. FBI Director Chris Wray says domestic extremism is a “metastasizing” threat. And President Biden launches airstrikes in Syria.
President Biden’s nominees for attorney general and CIA director mostly sail through their confirmation hearings. The administration kickstarts policy on Iran, with an eye towards salvaging a nuclear deal. And the Supreme Court rules that a New York grand jury can see Donald Trump’s tax returns.
It's our 300th episode! The Senate acquits Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial. Rolling blackouts in Texas offer a glimpse of climate insecurity to come. And the Pentagon delayed promoting two female generals to four-star commands over fears of Trump’s reaction.
President Trump’s impeachment trial begins in the Senate as a prosecutor in Georgia investigates efforts to overturn the election. President Biden sets out to “revitalize” national security and foreign policy in his administration. And the U.S. is (cautiously) rejoining world bodies it left under Donald Trump.
The storming of the Capitol on January 6 has exposed the long-simmering threat of domestic extremism in the United States. How will the Biden administration combat it? Protests break out across Russia as a prominent dissident returns home. And can we just skip impeachment and get to the 14th Amendment?
The House impeaches President Trump—again—for his role in stoking an attack on the Capitol. President-elect Biden announces more national security appointments, including his nominee to lead the CIA. And Mike Pompeo breaks some diplomatic furniture on the way out the door.
A normally procedural session of Congress dissolves as protestors descend on Washington and occupy the Capitol. A new crackdown on pro-democracy forces in Hong Kong will complicate the incoming Biden administration’s approach to China. And how will a (barely) Democrat-controlled Senate affect Biden’s national security agenda?
President Trump issues another round of pardons, raising expectations that his family members and maybe Trump himself will be next. As 2020 comes to a merciful close, we’ll take a look back at the big national security stories that didn’t get enough attention. And we’ll talk about what we’ve got our eyes on for 2021, besides a triumphant return to the actual Jungle Studio.
Attorney General Bill Barr exits the stage. Did he leave before Trump could fire him? A massive computer hack attributed to Russian intelligence may have exposed dozens of companies and government agencies. And in the face of that and other Russian threats, how is a Biden administration likely to change U.S. policy towards Moscow?
President-elect Biden continues building his Cabinet, but his pick for defense secretary leaves some supporters cold. Administration officials drag their feet on the transition as Trump’s lawyers mount increasingly absurd and dangerous efforts to overturn the election. And the White House tries to rally support for a controversial weapons sale to the United Arab Emirates as the Gulf Arab states look ahead to a Biden administration that may be more skeptical of close ties.
A top Iranian nuclear scientist is assassinated. Everyone gets pardons this Christmas! And the attorney general takes steps to ensure the investigation of the Russia probe continues in the Biden administration. Plus, the gang welcomes special guest Noah Efron of "The Promised Podcast."
We're off this week for Thanksgiving, but we're bringing you back four years ago to reflect on the day after the 2016 election. What national security themes drove Donald Trump's supporters? What challenges did we anticipate Trump would face in forming a government? And what did we get right?
President Trump fires the country’s top election security official because he won’t go along with his lies about a stolen election. Promising news about coronavirus vaccines raises important questions about who should get it first, and where. And President Trump prepares to draw down troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Joe Biden is elected president, but Donald Trump refuses to concede, and the transition to a new administration is rocky. Attorney General Bill Barr authorizes federal prosecutors to investigate potential voter fraud. And the gang takes questions from our live audience!
President Trump falsely declares victory and asserts the election was fraudulent. What havoc could he raise as states continue to count ballots? Some of the most dreaded threats of foreign interference didn’t materialize, but other danger may lie ahead. And Trump may be defeated, but Trumpism may be alive and kicking.
Americans head to the polls in the face of a virus and potential disruptions at polling places and beyond. Whoever wins next Tuesday, the period between Election Day and the inauguration is bound to be rocky. And we’ll take a big picture look at the national security challenges that the next president will face, whoever he is.
Rudy Giuliani finds himself at the center of a misbegotten effort to interfere in the 2020 election. American diplomats and intelligence officers complain they’re being left in the cold after mysterious attacks. And the Trump administration sends an unusual envoy to Syria to discuss U.S. hostages.
A Justice Department investigation into whether Obama-era officials improperly requested the identities of individuals from intelligence reports ends with a whimper. An investigation into the shooting of a protestor in Portland raises questions about the federal government’s use of force. And CyberCommand takes down a Russian botnet.
President Trump tests positive for the coronavirus and the White House becomes a hot zone. Justice Department officials were “a driving force” behind an immigration policy that separated families at the border with Mexico. And two ISIS militants are charged in the murder of American hostages.
Trump tells a white nationalist group to “stand by” as he further tries to erode confidence in the November elections, this time from the presidential debate stage. Election officials are bracing for a wave of litigation and shenanigans when Americans head for the polls. And new information about Trump’s taxes reveal he’s massively in debt, adding to long-standing fears that his finances make him vulnerable to manipulation.
A top member of the Mueller team says the special counsel “could have done more” to hold Trump accountable. A career government official accuses the White House of improperly trying to stop John Bolton from publishing his memoir. And the CIA is clamping down on intelligence about Russia, according to a new report.