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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: 2017
Jul 19, 2017

The Senate questions FBI Director nominee Christopher Wray. Democrats file suit against the Trump campaign over leaked emails. And the UAE is reportedly behind a cyber attack that led to upheaval in the Gulf region.

Jul 12, 2017

President Trump's eldest son met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer to get Russian government dirt on Hillary Clinton. Iraqi forces liberate the city of Mosul from ISIS. And Trump and Putin sit down for their first face-to-face meeting.

Jul 5, 2017

The first signs of potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia emerge. State Department employees say they’re uncertain about the future of their work under the Trump administration. And the president is facing a crisis in North Korea as he prepares to meet with world leaders, including Vladimir Putin.  

Jun 29, 2017

Obama may not have responded forcefully enough to Russian meddling. But is Trump responding at all? A diplomatic crisis in the Gulf is the first major test of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. And the Supreme Court agrees to take up Trump’s travel ban.  

Jun 14, 2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee about his contacts with Russia. New information shows that thirty-nine states were targeted by Russian hackers during the 2016 election. And President Trump gives the military authority to ramp the number of troops in Afghanistan.

Jun 7, 2017

It’s been a huge two days for news on the Trump/Russia/Comey front. We’ll round it up. There’s a new crisis in the Persian Gulf. And just when you thought it was safe to go back to the polls, there are new revelations of Russia targeting the elections system.

May 31, 2017

Jared Kushner wanted a back-channel to talk to the Russians. In the aftermath of the Manchester bombing, the Brits question whether the U.S. can keep secrets. And in the wake of Trump’s meeting with NATO leaders, where do U.S.-European relations go from here? 

May 24, 2017

Donald Trump tours the Middle East and insists peace is within reach. Robert Mueller is tapped as the new special counsel overseeing the Trump-Russia probe. And one very special podcast panelist spills his guts to the New York Times

May 18, 2017

President Trump lets the Russians in on a little secret. Jim Comey has been taking notes—of his meetings with the president. And what do this week’s extraordinary events tell us about where we are in this still unfolding national drama? 

May 10, 2017

Donald Trump fires FBI Director James Comey. The gang shares their reactions. Then, we’ll dig into Rod Rosenstein’s role in Comey’s sudden departure. Finally, what does his dismissal mean for the future of the Russia investigation and the FBI? 

May 3, 2017

FBI Director James Comey says the idea he could have swayed the presidential election makes him “mildly nauseous.” President Trump is reaching out to autocrats and adversaries. Is it paying off? And the NSA reins in some of its surveillance operations. 

Apr 27, 2017

Mike Flynn is back in hot water over money he took from foreign sources. The Senate Intelligence Committee is beefing up for a long investigation of Russian meddling in the election. And FBI Director Jim Comey is back in the spotlight again this week amid questions of how he handled the Clinton and Trump investigations.

Apr 19, 2017

North Korea’s missile launch fizzles, but the ripples spread far and wide. CIA Director Mike Pompeo calls WikiLeaks a hostile intelligence service. And does the Globalist/Nationalist war in the White House really matter in the absence of a coherent foreign policy?

Apr 12, 2017

Former Trump adviser Carter Page is reportedly the target of a FISA warrant. The U.S. launches a cruise missile strike in Syria, and maybe sends a not so subtle signal to China on North Korea. And is the Trump administration’s foreign policy “unpredictable” by design, or just incoherent? 

Apr 8, 2017

At the Third Triple Entente Beer Summit, the usual Rational Security Gang joins up with Stewart Baker and Michael Vatis of the Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast to discuss airstrikes in Syria, the misadventures of Devin Nunes, and Steve Bannon's ouster from the National Security Council. Plus, in Object Lessons, Stewart recommends Secondhand Time by Svetlana Alexievich and Shane does some sleuthing.

Mar 30, 2017

Devin Nunes throws a wrench into the House’s Russia investigation. Meanwhile, the Senate investigation hasn’t come off the rails. And should countries declare certain kinds of cyber attacks off limits? 

Mar 21, 2017

FBI Director James Comey makes it official: There is an investigation into Trump links to Russia. The top Democrat in the House investigating the Russian hacks makes a plea for civic virtue. And is Donald Trump his own worst enemy or his best defender? 

Mar 16, 2017

The Trump administration expands operations against ISIS and al Qaeda. The administration wants to shrink the budget for the State Department. And what do personnel moves tell us about who’s in charge of the national security apparatus?

Mar 9, 2017

Donald Trump accuses Barack Obama of tapping his phones, and all hell breaks loose. WikiLeaks releases thousands of pages of information on CIA hacking tools. And North Korea launches missiles that may or may not have been hacked by the NSA.  

Mar 2, 2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is under fire for his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States, while the Trump administration tries to deflect attention on Russia investigations. Is it time to appoint a special prosecutor to look into President Trump’s potential links to Russia? And the U.S. carries out new airstrikes in Yemen while questions linger over a recent raid against Al Qaeda.

Feb 21, 2017

President Trump selects Army general H.R. McMaster as as his national security adviser after a turbulent search. A rival to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is murdered under bizarre circumstances in a Malaysian airport. And Trump meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But is Bibi on the way out? 

Feb 14, 2017

Michael Flynn’s phone calls and new revelations from the Steele dossier raise questions about Russian influence. An appeals court puts the brakes on Donald Trump’s immigrant and refugee ban. Plus, listener questions.  

Feb 9, 2017

This week, a very special guest joins the podcast to discuss the week’s news and the fate of the republic. Plus, in Object Lessons, taco bowls and bad omens. 

Feb 2, 2017

The Trump administration’s executive order on immigration spurs chaos and protests. Speaking of protest, does the mass signing of a State Department dissent cable signal a new rise of bureaucratic resistance to Trump? And what to make of the re-structuring of the National Security Council? Plus, Rational Security's biggest fan Phil Walter joins the podcast this week. 

Jan 25, 2017

President Trump has announced executive orders on border security and immigration policy—and maybe interrogation. Ex-military officers are taking senior posts in the National Security Council. And investigators have scrutinized National Security Adviser Mike Flynn’s communications with Russian officials. 

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