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Rational Security

A weekly discussion of national security and foreign policy matters hosted by Shane Harris of the Wall Street Journal and featuring Brookings senior fellows Tamara Cofman Wittes and Benjamin Wittes, and managing editor of the Lawfare blog Susan Hennessey.
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Rational Security
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Feb 22, 2018

Bob Mueller indicts a slew of Russians who interfered in the 2016 election. Can the president distinguish between the national interest and his own? And the school shooting in Florida brings students to the frontline of the gun control debate.

Feb 14, 2018

Dozens of White House officials, including Jared Kushner, lack permanent security clearances. It’s been a really bad week for Benjamin Netanyahu. And U.S. intelligence chiefs present their annual list of threats to national security.

Feb 8, 2018

Is the intelligence oversight process as we know it dead? We delve into the education of Kim Jong Un. And FBI emails show that the White House misled the public about the reaction to Jim Comey’s firing.

Feb 1, 2018

Major developments in the Russia probe as House Republicans move to declassify a mysterious memo and the FBI’s No. 2 steps down. A new article reveals the inner workings of the Israeli spy machine. And smart watches are giving away US forces’ locations—while they’re jogging.

Jan 24, 2018

FBI Director Christopher Wray resists administration pressure to clean house at the bureau. Bob Mueller’s Russia probe interviews Jeff Sessions and talks to Jim Comey. And Rex Tillerson presents a new U.S. strategy in Syria.

Jan 17, 2018

Hawaii authorities mistakenly warn citizens they’re about to be hit by a ballistic missile. The FBI warned Jared Kushner about his relationship with a prominent Chinese-American. And updates on L’Affaire Russe.

Jan 11, 2018

The Trump administration signals it may launch a military strike on North Korea—or not. The U.S. announces it’s cutting aid to Pakistan. And the originator of the Steele dossier tells his side of the story.

Jan 3, 2018

A wave of anti-government protests grips Iran. Former Trump adviser George Papadopoulos may have been the impetus for the Russia investigation. And Defense Secretary James Mattis addresses the US role in the war in Yemen and civilian casualties.

Dec 21, 2017

Robert Mueller gets hold of emails from the presidential transition. The Pentagon has been researching sightings of UFOs. And a US citizen is being held as an enemy combatant in Iraq.

Dec 15, 2017

Republicans question the integrity of Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. President Trump says he will move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. And Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gives a year-end address (or is it a farewell?) to State Department employees.

Dec 7, 2017

Mike Flynn is cooperating with Bob Mueller's Russia investigation, and President Trump raises questions about whether he sought to obstruct justice. Deutsche Bank has been told to hand over information about Trump-related finances. And the national security adviser tries to make Trump into a modern-day Ronald Reagan.

Nov 30, 2017

Mike Flynn signals that he may be cooperating with Robert Mueller’s investigation. President Trump thinks the investigation may be nearing its end. And the U.S. plans to stay in Syria even after ISIS is defeated.

Nov 22, 2017

Should the president have the sole authority to launch nuclear missiles? President Trump designates North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism. And the “grownups” in charge of national security are exhausted.

Nov 15, 2017

The FBI is investigating an alleged kidnapping scheme involving ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Donald Trump Jr. was in direct contact with Wikileaks during the 2016 campaign. And author and scholar Yascha Mounk breaks down the breakdown in democracy.

Nov 9, 2017

Trump campaign adviser Carter Page says officials knew about his conversations with Russians. The Saudi government launches an alleged anti-corruption push, but is it really a power grab? And CIA Director Mike Pompeo is entertaining an alternate theory about the Russia hacks.

Nov 1, 2017

Special Counsel Robert Mueller unveils the first indictments in his sprawling investigation, and a surprise plea agreement. We’ll talk about the significance of his moves and where the investigation might be heading next. Plus, New York experiences the deadliest act of terrorism since the 9/11 attacks.

Oct 25, 2017

Leading GOP lawmakers say there’s nothing normal about the Trump administration. The deaths of four Americans in Niger raise new questions about the legal footing of the U.S. fight against terrorism. And Attorney General Jeff Sessions seems to have no plan for future Russian election meddling.

Oct 19, 2017

President Trump says Iran is not living up to the “spirit” of the deal to curtail its nuclear program. Russian trolls and propagandists speak out. And an American woman and her family are freed after five years in captivity in Afghanistan.

Oct 10, 2017

A leading GOP senator warns that President Trump risks starting “World War III.” Russia hacks the NSA using popular Russian anti-virus software. And Congress starts the bidding over a key surveillance law.

Oct 4, 2017

President Trump tells Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that he’s wasting his time negotiating with North Korea. A gunman opens fire in Las Vegas in the deadliest mass shooting in at least half a century. And an American is being held in Syria as an enemy combatant.

Sep 27, 2017

The Trump administration issues a new, revised travel ban. Saudi Arabia will allow women to drive. And the president tweets about a missile launch that didn’t happen.

Sep 21, 2017

Robert Mueller serves warrants in the Russia investigation. Donald Trump makes his first appearance before the UN General Assembly. And Mike Flynn's work on a private nuclear energy deal raises new questions about conflicts of interest in the Trump administration.

Sep 14, 2017

Facebook confirms that a Russian troll farm bought ads during the election cycle. Congress pushes back on the Trump administration’s plan to gut foreign aid and the State Department. And Equifax suffers a massive data breach.

Sep 7, 2017

Trump’s lawyers argue that he didn’t obstruct justice when he fired Jim Comey. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley explains how the US could leave the Iran nuclear deal. And the Homeland Security Department faces one of its greatest tests in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, just as a new storm approaches the Florida coast.

Aug 30, 2017

Donald Trump was pursuing business in Russia at the same time he was running for president. Two Cabinet secretaries distance themselves from the president. And is it time for the House to start seriously considering impeachment?

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