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Rational Security

A weekly discussion of national security and foreign policy matters hosted by Shane Harris of the Daily Beast and featuring Brookings senior fellows Tamara Cofman Wittes and Benjamin Wittes, and managing editor of the Lawfare blog Susan Hennessey.
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Now displaying: 2016
Dec 22, 2016

A leaked memo lays out Trump’s priorities for the Pentagon. The Chinese return an underwater U.S. Navy drone. And what does this week’s spate of terrorist attacks portend for 2017? 

Dec 15, 2016

The CIA concludes that Russian hackers tried to help Donald Trump get elected. Trump will nominate Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as the next secretary of state. And the Obama administration is confident that journalist Austin Tice, held hostage in Syria, is alive. And a special guest joins the gang to discuss the week's news. 

Dec 9, 2016

The president-elect takes a call from the leader of Taiwan. Bipartisan pressure is mounting in Congress to investigate the Russian hacks of the presidential election. And if you're a wonk in Washington, you may be out in the cold.

Dec 1, 2016

President-Elect Trump is zeroing in on a nominee for secretary of state. Election recounts begin amid fears of computer hacking. And in San Francisco, hackers hold the municipal railway system hostage. 

Nov 23, 2016

Donald Trump announces his picks for some key national security positions. Meanwhile, Trump grapples with multiple conflicts between his businesses and his coming presidency. The knives are out for NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers. Plus, a special Thanksgiving Object Lesson.

Nov 17, 2016

The Trump administration transition has begun—right? The president-elect sits down with "60 Minutes" and leaves the fate of FBI Director James Comey uncertain. And foreign governments react to Trump’s election.  

Nov 10, 2016

This week, the gang reflects on the unexpected election of Donald Trump for president. What national security themes drove his voters? What challenges does Trump face forming a government? And how will America's allies react to his election? 

Nov 2, 2016

FBI Director James Comey is under fire for his actions in the home stretch of the presidential election. A journalist suggests private communications between Donald Trump and a Russian bank—but is there any there there? And investigators issue a puzzling finding about the death of one of Vladimir Putin’s closest aides in a Washington, DC, hotel room.

Oct 26, 2016

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump enter the home stretch of the presidential campaign. Hackers take down a key component of the Internet in an unprecedented attack. And WikiLeaks makes some unexpected alliances. 

Oct 20, 2016

Iraqi and U.S. forces begin the campaign to reclaim the city of Mosul, ISIS’s de facto capital in Iraq. Retired Gen. James Cartwright pleads guilty to lying to federal leak investigators. And three Kansas men are accused of plotting attacks on Muslims. 

Oct 14, 2016

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton square off in their second debate. And the intelligence community officially pins the blames on Russia for hacking U.S. political organizations. 

Oct 6, 2016

The Vice Presidential candidates face off in their first and only debate before Election Day. Senators have buyers remorse over a law that lets families of 9/11 victims sue Saudi Arabia. And can the NSA keep its own secrets?  

Sep 27, 2016

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump face off in the first presidential debate. What did they have to say on ISIS, hackers, and other important national security issues? And a Trump adviser heads off to Moscow and meets with senior Russian government officials. 

Sep 21, 2016

Bombings in New York and New Jersey have fixed us again on the threat of lone wolf terrorists. Have back-to-back summits on refugees brought us any closer to solving a humanitarian crisis? And The Washington Post comes out against a pardon for Edward Snowden.    

Sep 15, 2016

How much medical history should presidential candidates disclose? Activists launch a new campaign to pardon Edward Snowden, just in time for the launch of a biopic on the world’s most famous leaker. And FBI Director James Comey gets compared to J. Edgar Hoover.

Sep 10, 2016

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump spar over who’d be the better commander-in-chief. The FBI releases its report on Clinton’s email server. And what has changed, and what hasn’t, since 9/11?  

Sep 1, 2016

New details emerge about Americans held hostage by Islamic militants. Security researchers use an unorthodox approach to protect medical devices. And the US kills ISIS’ number 2. Does it matter? 

Aug 25, 2016

The New York Times and maybe the NSA get hacked. Is the U.S. turning the tide of the war on ISIS? And October surprises—what could happen between now and the election, and will it matter? 

Aug 3, 2016

In the wake of the suspected Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee, experts warn that voting machines could be the next target. The U.S. begins airstrikes against ISIS in Libya. And we’ll talk about our summer reading lists. 

Jul 27, 2016

The Russian government hacks the Democratic National Committee. Is Moscow trying to swing the election for Donald Trump? Will it work or backfire? Also, the gang takes your questions! 

Jul 19, 2016

A terrorist in Nice, France, kills more than 80 people celebrating Bastille Day. Turkey’s president hangs onto power following an attempted coup. And the congress releases 29 previously classified pages from an inquiry into the 9/11 attacks. This week, Ryan Evens of War on the Rocks joins the podcast.

Jul 13, 2016

Police officers in Dallas use a robot-bomb to kill the man who murdered five police officers. A tribunal rules that China is violating international law over its territorial claims. And the GOP platform committee eliminates language that supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Jul 8, 2016

Hillary Clinton will not be prosecuted over her use of a private email server. The death toll of a bombing in Baghdad approaches 300. And the death of a Navy sailor raises concerns about the training of elite military operators. 

Jun 30, 2016

How will the U.K.’s exit from the European Union affect U.S. national security? Is a terrorist attack in Turkey the inevitable result of battlefield victories against ISIS? And the gang takes on the sound and fury of the Benghazi report.  

Jun 22, 2016

The American political system has gone insane. What's that mean for our national security? State Department officials protest President Obama's decision not to bomb Syria. And the intelligence community lashes out at Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard. Special guest Jonathan Rauch joins the podcast this week. 

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