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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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Rational Security
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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. 

Jun 16, 2016

How did Omar Mateen become a mass-killer, and could he have been stopped? The politics of the Orlando shooting have something for everyone, but very little clarity. And Russian hackers penetrate the Democratic National Committee.

Jun 9, 2016

Hillary Clinton says Donald Trump can't be trusted to protect U.S. national security. In Israel there's talk of another war in Gaza. And a federal appeals court rules that the Fourth Amendment doesn't apply to cell phone location information. 

May 26, 2016

President Obama makes one last pivot to Asia in an official visit. The United States kills the Taliban’s leader. And a State Department inspector general report scolds Hillary Clinton and others for their use of private email. 

May 19, 2016

An EgyptAir jet crashes en route from Paris to Cairo, immediately sparking fears of terrorism. Hackers are targeting the presidential candidates’ campaigns. And the intelligence community may scrutinize social media accounts of people applying for security clearances. Plus, listener questions!

May 11, 2016

A new study on “sextortion” reveals a widespread crime few people are talking about. Is a profile of presidential adviser Ben Rhodes a puff piece or a clever hit job? And president Obama faces a lawsuit over war powers from an unlikely source.   

May 5, 2016

Donald Trump becomes the presumptive Republican nominee for president after an overwhelming primary victory in Indiana. Iraq and Syria are in meltdown—why is this time any worse? And the Supreme Court gives the thumbs up to new hacking powers for law enforcement. 

Apr 28, 2016

The U.S. is ramping up cyber operations against ISIS. Another standoff over the FBI’s access to a locked iPhone ends, but are more fights around the corner? And the mystery of the curious habeas cases popping up at Guantanamo.

Apr 21, 2016

Lawmakers want to give families of the 9/11 victims the power to sue Saudi government officials, but the Obama administration says that’s a terrible idea. Syrian peace talks are in jeopardy of falling apart, but a ceasefire seems to be offering some reprieve. And Facebook swears it won’t try to rig the presidential election against Donald Trump.

Apr 13, 2016

A Navy officer is accused of spying, possibly for Taiwan and China. President Obama wades into the debate over how much government information should be classified. And a family in Kansas is trapped in a special kind of Internet hell.

Apr 6, 2016

The hugely popular messaging system Whatsapp is now encrypting everything for 1 billion people. The financial shenanigans of the rich and powerful are laid bare in the Panama Papers, the biggest leak of all time. And Bernie Sanders has his own embarrassing interview with a newspaper editorial board. 

Mar 31, 2016

The dispute between the FBI and Apple over a dead terrorist’s iPhone comes to an end, but new fights are just around the corner. Why did bombings in Pakistan and Iraq get so little attention compared to the attacks in Brussels? And the Justice Department indicts seven Iranians for allegedly launching cyber attacks on U.S. banks and a dam in New York.  

Mar 23, 2016

Terrorists attack Brussels in a series of bombings. The FBI tells Apple, “Just kidding! We can maybe hack the iPhone after all.” And Donald Trump sits down with the Washington Post editorial board, and no one’s sure what he said. 

Mar 18, 2016

President Obama nominates Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. An American ISIS defector is in Kurdish custody. And major Web sites have been delivering malware to their readers.

Mar 10, 2016

Republican national security experts declare Donald Trump unfit to be president. Who would actually advise a President Trump? And President Obama pulls back the curtain on the inner workings of his foreign policy. Plus, in Object Lessons, Ben and Tamara are on the road again. 

Mar 1, 2016

A New York magistrate judge says the government can't force Apple to help the FBI extract information from an iPhone. Forty percent of analysts at the U.S. military's Central Command say the “integrity” of their reports is flawed. And Ben and the president of Estonia have a tweet-a-tweet about the going dark problem. 

Feb 25, 2016

FBI Director Jim Comey bites into Apple. The Obama administration unveils its plan for closing Guantanamo. And the Homeland Security Department will start scouring social media for warning signs of violent extremism.

Feb 19, 2016

We join our friends at the Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast and the Lawfare Podcast for a evening of national security discussion, food, alcohol, and live audience questions. We go to town on the news about Apple. We talk about a new movie about Stuxnet on steroids. And we counter some violent extremism.  

Feb 11, 2016

Could things get worse in Syria? Oh yes! The U.S. brings charges against an ISIS member in the death of an American hostage. And Republicans are divided over who supports waterboarding more.  

Feb 4, 2016

The administration is revamping its efforts to staunch ISIS recruitment. The NSA makes the line between cyber attacks and defense even blurrier. And Ben has a plan to solve the going dark problem.

Jan 29, 2016

The Arab Spring five years later. What have we learned about the future of peace and stability in the region? Who is the mysterious fourth American hostage freed by Iran? And the next wave of surveillance reform is coming for you.

Jan 21, 2016

Four Americans are freed in a prisoner swap with Iran. Twitter is facing a lawsuit over jihadist messages posted on the site. And Secretary of Defense Ash Carter is cracking down on...everybody! 

Jan 14, 2016

Obama delivers his final State of the Union address. And Iran delivers ten sailors back into U.S. custody after briefly detaining them. Plus, in Object Lessons, leadership...what does it smell like? 

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