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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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Now displaying: Page 4
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? 

Jan 7, 2016

Kim Jong-un says North Korea tested a hydrogen bomb. The Russians may have caused a blackout in Ukraine with a cyber attack. And President Obama plans to do a lot of foreign travel in his final year in office.  Plus, in Object Lessons, why are embassies sending out such crappy holiday gifts? 

Dec 31, 2015

This week on the podcast, the gang wraps up the year that was 2015. What were the most important stories of the year? And what's the big story we'll all be talking about in 2016?

Dec 17, 2015

GOP presidential candidates debate foreign policy and dare each other to carpet bomb the hell out of the Islamic State. And are the Saudis finally ready to get serious and take on ISIS? Special guest Will McCants joins the podcast this week. 

Dec 9, 2015

Barack Obama tries to reassure the nation that ISIS is not winning. Donald Trump has a different plan to keep America safe. And John Kerry is so over the Middle East peace process. 

Dec 3, 2015

President Obama is sending 200 more special operations forces to Iraq to combat ISIS. China seems to be hacking the U.S. less. And a Taliban ally is holding an American man hostage. 

Nov 25, 2015

Turkey shoots down a Russian jet after it allegedly violated Turkish airspace. Brussels goes on lockdown, raising the question of how long it’s rational to shut down a major city to preempt a terrorist attack. And thoughts on the “forever war” by a commander who served in it. Plus, a special Thanksgiving edition of Object Lessons. Lawfare's new managing editor Susan Hennessey joins the gang this week.

Nov 18, 2015

What do the ISIS attacks in Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, and now France tell us about the group's evolution and whether it’s changing strategy? The Paris attacks are breathing new life into the crypto wars. And U.S governors say they don't want Syrian refugees in their states. 

Nov 11, 2015

Two weeks after a Russian airliner fell from the sky in Egypt, will we ever know how the plane crashed? GOP presidential candidates are all over the map with their foreign policy plans. Plus, a modest proposal for closing Guantanamo.

Nov 4, 2015

President Obama is sending 50 Special Forces members into Syria. A new book marks the 20th anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. And a new Twitter war erupts over drone strikes, and it doesn’t involve Ben! 

Oct 24, 2015

The European Court of Justice may have just knocked the surveillance state back on its heels. Is Russia a resurgent power in the Middle East? And one think tank fellow/podcaster has a bone to pick with Vladimir Putin. 

Oct 16, 2015

Quinta Jurecic joins Shane and Ben for the podcast. This week: A new leak shows us more about the inner workings of drones strikes. FBI Director Jim Comey concedes defeat in the encryption wars. And Obama’s moral muse.  

Oct 7, 2015

Has the Obama administration outplayed China on cyber spying? The Taliban is on the march in Afghanistan. What does this mean for the future of U.S. troops in that country? And the new movie Sicario is one of the sharpest criticisms yet of the war on drugs.

Plus, in Object Lessons—GODZILLA!

Oct 1, 2015

Russia launches airstrikes in Syria, changing the political calculus in the Middle East. U.S.-backed rebels in Syria are also coming under attack. Is the U.S. abandoning them? And Edward Snowden is tweeting and Edward Scissorhands is trending. 

Sep 23, 2015

Russia is about to intervene in Syria. Good luck with that. The U.S. and China are contemplating a “cyber arms treaty.” And the New York Times editorial board has a plan for closing Guantanamo. Plus, in Object Lessons, Edward Snowden has a new look.

Sep 17, 2015

Is the Obama administration's hand-wringing over Chinese cyber spying making the U.S. look like chumps? Two new books chart the meteoric rise of ISIS. And a former U.S. ambassador highlights the importance of international partnerships to U.S. counterterrorism.  

Plus, in Object Lessons, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson wants you to chill out! 

Sep 12, 2015

Donald Trump reveals that he doesn’t know the names of the heads of the world’s biggest terrorist organizations. Does that disqualify him to be commander-in-chief? Turns out killing Anwar Al-Alawki was an “easy” decision for President Obama. And can the House sue the president over the Iran deal?  

Plus, in Object Lessons, how our lives would be different had 9/11 never happened.

Sep 2, 2015

Gen. David Petraeus has a new plan for fighting ISIS. Is it smart or utterly nuts? A new article takes us deep inside the mind and menace of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-declared “caliph” of the Islamic State.  And a new book takes us deep inside the operation to kill an American Al Qaeda fighter. Plus, in Object Lessons, ancient art and modern icons.

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