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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 5
Aug 26, 2015

This week on the podcast: How could China's economic free fall affect U.S. national security? What does international law have to say about Russia's invasion of Ukraine? And the Secret Service gets upset when a drone flies near President Obama while he's playing golf. 

Plus, in Object Lessons, countering violent extremism...with BBQ.  

Aug 20, 2015

The top ISIS fighter in U.S. custody is being transferred to Iraq. What’s it mean for the U.S. justice system and the future of detainee policy in the war with ISIS? Two years after the first Snowden leaks, are we over the idea of the idealistic whistleblower? And a photo essay on strategic Jerusalem. Plus, in Object Lessons, drones, shades, and summer reading

Aug 6, 2015

Shane goes on vacation, abandoning the gang to its fate. Brookings scholar Dan Byman steps in and brings a National Counterterrorism Center Calendar, which sparks a discussion of how to categorize terrorist acts that take place within warfare. Ben talks about a recent U.S. court decision that found the war in Afghanistan isn't really over—no matter what the president says. And Tamara talks about the president's Iran speech. In our Object Lessons segment, Dan shows off a large Yemeni dagger. Tamara brings a picture of Egypt's General Sisi sailing down the new Suez canal. And Ben brings an online course we all should sign up to take.

Jul 29, 2015

Is notorious Taliban leader Mullah Omar dead—again? And then, Tamara and her very important friends at the Aspen Security Forum were discussing the threat of ISIS and the real truth about encryption. Plus in Object Lessons, Shane is heading off to paradise, and Tamara brought back some primo swag. 

Jul 25, 2015

This week, Ben and Shane are joined by special guests Wells Bennett of Lawfare and Quinta Jurecic, national security intern at Brookings. On the agenda: Obama has a plan to close Guantanamo, and it may be dead or alive. An Iraqi businessman wants to mount a private Sunni army to fight ISIS. And someone near and dear to us has a new plan to fix the encryption problem. Plus, in our Object Lessons, Ben is going to cut someone, and we’ll explain the title of this week’s show.  

Jul 16, 2015

The Iran deal is finally here. This week on the podcast, Shane, Tamara, and special guest Wells Bennett look at what’s in the deal, what it does, and what it doesn’t do. Also, a closer look at which sanctions are being relieved and whom that will help. Plus, do we need an AUMF for...Russia?  And in our Object Lesson, sideburns and Peanut Brigaders. 

Jul 9, 2015

This week on the podcast: FBI Director James Comey goes to the Hill to talk about "going dark." Former officials are expressing concern about the Iran deal. And the Office of Personnel Management put people who had no experience in computer security in charge of...computer security! Plus, in Object Lessons, Ben and Tamara survive a shipwreck. 

Jul 1, 2015

This week on the show: Senators call for hearings on domestic terrorism in the wake of the Charleston shootings. Do we need a new National Commission on the War on Terrorism? And a cat fight between the FISA court and the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. Plus, in Object Lessons, are you “e-QIPped?” The Chinese are. 

Jun 26, 2015

This week on the podcast, Kori Schake joins the gang to discuss the week’s big stories. Was the shooting of nine people in Charleston, SC, an act of terrorism? Chinese spies now know the secret sex lives of U.S. government employees. And the U.N. has a new report on Gaza. Plus, in our object lessons, bitter memoirs and piggy banks.

Jun 16, 2015

This week on the show, Shane exposes the Iranian propagandists who tried to recruit him. Plus, the gang looks at how the military pays for war and at a new "manual" that lays out the rules for fighting them. Then, in Object Lessons: Are hackers trying to take over your spin cycle? 

Jun 12, 2015

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a major speech at the Herzliya Conference on national security, but he spends a lot of time talking about the economy. The U.S. Supreme Court hands down its ruling on passports and Israel. How important is it to Middle East policy? And is it a big win for John Yoo and David Addington? And just when you thought the fight over government surveillance was over, along comes Patriot Act 2.0 Plus, in our object lesson, how many lemons can a samurai robot slice if a samurai robot sliced lemons? 

Jun 5, 2015

This week on the show, special guest Nancy Youssef of the Daily Beast joins Ben and Shane to discuss the Senate's passage of the USA Freedom Act. Also, why do Americans hate government surveillance but tolerate big corporate data aggregators? And there's anthrax in the Pentagon! Later, in our Object Lesson, we mourn the passing a screen icon (of sorts) and celebrate a new day in national security publishing. 

May 29, 2015

This week on the show, Ben and Shane are flying solo (duo?) while Tamara is away. They ask, is everything we think we know about privacy wrong? And the guys discuss a novel proposal for easing the tensions between the press and the government when journalists disclose sensitive national security information. Plus, in our Object Lesson, very tiny robots. They’re here. Buzzing in your ear. 

May 21, 2015

This week on the show: The FBI is interrogating the wife of a senior ISIS official about Western hostages. The Justice Department hands down indictments against Chinese nationals for spying on the U.S. And the Tunisian president comes to Washington. Plus, in our object lesson, we’re going back to the movies again, sort of.  

May 14, 2015

This week on the show: The FBI rules out terrorism in the awful train crash in Pennsylvania. But why are we so quick these days to ask whether every accident was caused by terrorists? Congress is poised to pass new legislation on surveillance. And what does a new report on Iranian hackers tell us about the standards of intelligence in the age of cyber war? Plus in our object lesson, we go to the movies with an Ethan Hawke film on drones, and in North Korea, death by very, very big firing squad. 

May 9, 2015

The Triple Entente Beer Summit was a great success, with an audience that filled the Washington Firehouse loft and a cast that mashed up Lawfare, Rational Security, and the Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast.  We attribute the podcast’s freewheeling interchange to the engaged audience, our profound respect for each other, and, mostly, the beer. After a discussion of between the combined panels, we throw the event over to the audience, which demonstrates that we could have produced almost as good a program by randomly selecting audience members to appear on the panel with us.

 

Apr 30, 2015

This week on the show: The New York Times names the senior CIA officials who have run the agency’s drone program. Were they right or wrong to do it? Speaking of drones, it turns out the CIA’s program in Pakistan was given an unusually long leash. And Bashar al-Assad may be losing in Syria. Plus, in our Object Lesson, spy fashion. You, too, can dress like a spook.

Apr 24, 2015

Special guest Wells Bennett joins Shane and Tamara to talk about the U.S. strategy in Yemen. What is it? And just how big a nightmare? Also, Washington takes the cyber wars West, to Silicon Valley. Plus, spy gardens and swashbuckling pilots.

Apr 18, 2015

This week on the podcast, the gang discusses Congress weighing in on the Iran nuclear deal. Sunni, Shia, let’s call the whole thing off. And a key Al Qaeda leader who was once held in Guantanamo is killed in a U.S. drone strike. Plus, Ben joins the surveillance state, and Shane solves a mystery from last week's episode. 

Apr 9, 2015

This week on the show, the gang welcomes special guest Jonathan Rauch, Brookings fellow, journalist, and longtime friend. On the agenda: Cyber attacks are way more damaging than we previously thought. Saudi Arabia’s Shiites fear a backlash in the Yemen war. And Congress is up to...absolutely nothing on surveillance reform and the new AUMF. Plus, in our Object Lesson segment, you too can take down a mugger while wearing high-heeled shoes. 

Apr 3, 2015

The talks over Iran's nuclear program are hurtling towards some vague, yet-to-be-defined conclusion. President Obama opens a new front in the cyber wars. And Rashomon comes to Egypt. Plus, "Wild Tales," and birthday cakes. 

Mar 26, 2015

The gang unravels the Israeli election results and the unpleasant White House-Israel tensions they have sparked. Tamara talks about Yemen's ongoing disintegration. And Shane discusses China's admission, at long last, that it really does offensive cyber operations.

Mar 17, 2015

This week, Ben handicaps the Israeli election. Special guest Merritt Baer considers how our increasingly "interoperable" world may put security at risk (or enhance it). And Shane looks at how the FBI is using surveillance tools to catch child predators. Plus, in our Object Lessons segment, an only-in-Washington tchotchke, and an appeal to our audience to help find Shane's grandfather's war buddies.

 

 

Mar 11, 2015

This week, the gang dissects David Petraeus' plea deal for giving highly classified information to his mistress. CIA Director John Brennan proposes big changes in the way the spy agency runs. And a new census of ISIS’ social media campaign. Plus, in our Object Lessons segment, gargoyles and the Rational Security chainsaw massacre. 

Mar 4, 2015

This week on the show: National Security Adviser Susan Rice speaks to AIPAC and makes the administration's case for negotiating with Iran on nukes. A Guantanamo detainee raises questions about whether the war in Afghanistan is really, officially over. And Hillary Clinton used her own "homebrew" email system while she was Secretary of State, possibly running afoul of federal record-keeping rules and making her more vulnerable to hackers. Plus, Shane shows us the business card of a Russian spy.

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