Share

cover art for Rational Security: The “Fast and the Furry-us” Edition

The Lawfare Podcast

Rational Security: The “Fast and the Furry-us” Edition

This week on Rational Security, Alan, Quinta, and Scott got together to talk over the week’s big national security news, including:

  • “Is Revanchism a Dish Best Served Cold?” Russia boosters seem to be feeling bullish for the first time in a long time. This week, its forces captured the strategic town of Avdiivka from Ukrainian forces, who have been weakened by bickering among their Western allies. And imprisoned Russian dissident Alexei Navalny met with a tragic and highly suspicious end, just as Western governments came together at the Munich Security Conference. Is Russia right to be feeling its oats at this moment?
  • “Bibi Steps.” As Israel prepares to mount a controversial military operation against Rafah—the last refuge for many displaced civilians in Gaza—there are cracks between the government of Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and the Biden administration, who in recent weeks have shown an increased willingness to target settler violence in the West Bank with sanctions, impose some conditionality on U.S. security assistance, and turn to the U.N. Security Council for possible support for a “temporary ceasefire,” even over Israeli objections. Are these signs of a bigger divide to come? And what will the impact be on the trajectory of the Gaza conflict?
  • “Won’t Somebody PLEASE Think of the Children?!” The Kids Online Safety Act (or KOSA) is back in somewhat modified form, promising to introduce new regulations into how our children engage with online platforms—this time with broad bipartisan support, including from the Biden administration. But will it actually help protect children online? Or only put vulnerable communities more at risk?

For object lessons, Alan recommended the Oscar-nominated Jeffrey Wright vehicle, American Fiction. Quinta endorsed “The Book of Love,” a spooky fantasy mystery and the debut novel by celebrated short story author Kelly Link. And Scott urged mid-Atlantic listeners to take their toddlers to Baltimore’s National Aquarium and spring for the wonderful family sunrise tour. Or for nature lovers not on the East Coast, check out the new podcast one-off Birds Are Cool, featuring Goat Rodeo’s own Cara Shillenn.

More episodes

View all episodes

  • Matt Olsen Debriefs on FISA 702

    45:54
    Last week, the House passed an overhaul and reauthorization of the FISA 702 program, a bill which now heads to the Senate for final passage. In the run-up to Senate consideration of it, Assistant Attorney General for National Security Matt Olsen joined Lawfare Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes to talk about the House bill. They talked about the new constraints it imposes on the Justice Department and the FBI, what it doesn't do, the warrant requirement that isn't there, some other provisions that have generated controversy, and the bill's prospects in the Senate this week.To receive ad-free podcasts, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at www.patreon.com/lawfare. You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at https://givebutter.com/c/trumptrials.
  • FISA 702 Passes the House

    53:35
    Friday morning, the House of Representatives suddenly—after failing to do so earlier in the week—took up the reauthorization of FISA 702. They considered a bunch of amendments, one of which failed on a tie vote, and then proceeded to pass reauthorization of 702. Immediately after the votes, Lawfare Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes spoke with Lawfare Senior Editors Stephanie Pell and Molly Reynolds, and Lawfare Student Contributor Preston Marquis. They talked about how the center beat the coalition of the left and right on the key question of warrant requirements for U.S. person queries, about whether the civil liberties community gained anything in this protracted process or whether the administration just kicked its butt, about what happens now as the bill goes back to the Senate, and about all the little details that went into this bill. To receive ad-free podcasts, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at www.patreon.com/lawfare. You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at https://givebutter.com/c/trumptrials.
  • Everything You Need to Know Heading Into the Trump Trial in New York

    01:02:06
    Today marks the start of the first criminal trial of former President Donald Trump in New York City. Trump is facing 34 felony counts for his alleged falsification of business records related to hush money payments to Stormy Daniels and others after the 2016 election. After months of pretrial hearings, motions to dismiss and for an adjournment, motions for recusal, and more, jury selection in the case begins today.In light of today’s events, Lawfare Associate Editor Katherine Pompilio sat down with Lawfare Legal Fellow and Courts Correspondent Anna Bower, Lawfare Managing Editor Tyler McBrien, and Lawfare Senior Editor Roger Parloff who will be covering the trial at length. They discussed the case’s background, Trump’s various attempts to delay the proceedings, how jury selection will work, our plans for covering the trial, and more.To receive ad-free podcasts, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at www.patreon.com/lawfare. You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at https://givebutter.com/c/trumptrials.
  • Rational Security: The "Eldritch Portents" Edition

    01:02:36
    This week on Rational Security, Alan and Quinta were joined again by Brookings Senior Fellow and Lawfare Senior Editor Molly Reynolds to talk over the week’s national security news, including:“The 702nd Time’s the Charm?” Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was originally set to expire on December 31, 2023. But somehow, Congress has managed to keep kicking the can down the road—and we’re once again in the middle of an argument about whether and to what extent the legislature should reform the bulk surveillance authority. How did we end up here, and is there any indication that Congress will manage to pass a lasting reauthorization in some form this time around?“Magic Mike.” Speaker of the House Mike Johnson’s troubles don’t stop with FISA, however. He’s also tangled up in a prolonged dispute with his caucus over the U.S. aid to Ukraine—which is becoming a matter of rapidly increasing urgency, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warning that his country “will lose the war” if the aid is not approved. Johnson now says he’ll put his own aid package on the table, still tying that aid to another tranche of aid to Israel. But will the House actually vote this time, or is this just another head fake?“Finally, We Can Talk About Linux.” A few weeks ago, a single software engineer alerted the world to an alarming discovery: malicious code inside a key piece of Linux software that, had it gone undetected, could have caused a catastrophic cyberattack. What on earth actually happened here? And what could stop it from happening again?For object lessons, Alan recommended an adorable giraffe growth chart for keeping track of your child's height. Quinta took a cue from Molly and endorsed a podcast by a local NPR affiliate—“Lost Patients,” a series about mental health care from KUOW and the Seattle Times. And Molly shared a story about misprinted pens from the Clinton impeachment trial, as told in Peter Baker’s book "The Breach."Other references from this week’s show:A chart explaining how dark it gets during a total solar eclipseBruce Schneier’s Lawfare article about the XZ Utils backdoorTo receive ad-free podcasts, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at www.patreon.com/lawfare. You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at https://givebutter.com/c/trumptrials.
  • Trump’s Trials and Tribulations: Jury Selection Starts Monday

    01:23:05
    It's another episode of “Trump's Trials and Tribulations,” recorded on April 11 in front of a live audience on YouTube and Riverside. Lawfare Senior Editor Quinta Jurecic sat down with Legal Fellow Anna Bower and Senior Editor Roger Parloff to talk about the upcoming jury selection in the hush money case against Trump in New York City and what Judge Cannon is up to in Florida, including her ruling on whether to unseal witness names. They also checked in on Fulton County to see what Fani Willis was up to and talked about Jack Smith's brief to the Supreme Court in Trump's presidential immunity defense. And of course, they took audience questions from Lawfare Material Supporters on Riverside.To receive ad-free podcasts and to be able to submit a question to the panelists, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at www.patreon.com/lawfare. You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at https://givebutter.com/c/trumptrials.
  • Lawfare Archive: Daniel Reisner on Law, Security, and Peace in the Middle East

    01:14:23
    From January 17, 2015: This week, Ben Wittes and Matt Waxman sat down with Daniel Reisner, former head of the International Law Branch of the Israeli Defense Forces and current partner with Herzog, Fox and Neeman. Reisner has also served as a senior member of Israel’s peace delegations over the years, participating in negotiation sessions and summits including those at Camp David. He continues to advise senior members of the Israeli government on a variety of issues relating to international law and operational security issues. Colonel Reisner was in New York on a visit sponsored by Academic Exchange for a series of events and discussions on contemporary national security challenges. His experiences set up a wide-ranging conversation touching on everything from the law of targeted killing to the role of morality in operational law advice.To receive ad-free podcasts, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at www.patreon.com/lawfare. You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at https://givebutter.com/c/trumptrials.
  • Jack Goldsmith and Bob Bauer on Reforming the Insurrection Act

    57:32
    The Insurrection Act is a provision that allows the president to deploy the U.S. military for domestic law enforcement. It’s been invoked dozens of times by presidents to respond to crises in the over 230 years that it’s been around, but it hasn’t been reformed in centuries. In recent years, the Insurrection Act has come back into public focus because of its implication in a number of domestic crises, prompting a renewed conversation about whether it’s finally time to curb the sweeping powers afforded to the executive in this unique federal law.On April 8, the American Law Institute released a set of principles for Insurrection Act reform, prepared by a group of 10 individuals with backgrounds in constitutional law, national security law, and military law. The co-chairs of this group were Jack Goldsmith, Lawfare Co-Founder and Harvard Law School Professor, and Bob Bauer, Professor of Practice and Distinguished Scholar in Residence at New York University School of Law. They joined Lawfare Associate Editor Hyemin Han to talk about the history of the Insurrection Act, to parse out the recommendations the American Law Institute is making for reform, and to make the case for reforming the act in 2024. To receive ad-free podcasts, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at www.patreon.com/lawfare. You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at https://givebutter.com/c/trumptrials.
  • Chatter: The Pentagon’s Alliance with the Country Music Industry with Joseph Thompson

    01:19:41
    For decades, country music has had a close and special relationship to the U.S. military. In his new book, Cold War Country, historian Joseph Thompson shows how the leaders of Nashville’s Music Row found ways to sell their listeners on military service, at the same time they sold country music to people in uniform.Shane Harris spoke with Thompson about how, as he puts it, Nashville and the Pentagon “created the sound of American patriotism.” Thompson’s story spans decades and is filled with famous singers like Roy Acuff, Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, and Lee Greenwood. Collectively, Thompson says, these artists helped to forge the close bonds between their genre and the military, but also helped to transform ideas of race, partisanship, and influenced the idea of what it means to be an American. Songs, people, TV shows, and books discussed in this episode include: Thompson’s book Cold War Country: How Nashville's Music Row and the Pentagon Created the Sound of American Patriotism https://uncpress.org/book/9781469678368/cold-war-country/ “Goin’ Steady” by Faron Young https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNqhVyPxPk8 Grandpa Jones https://www.countrymusichalloffame.org/hall-of-fame/grandpa-jones “Hee Haw” https://www.heehaw.com/ The Black Opry https://www.blackopry.com/ “Okie from Muskogee” by Merle Haggard https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68cbjlLFl4U “Cowboy Carter” by Beyoncé https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/beyonce-cowboy-carter-tops-country-album-chart-number-one-1234998548/ “God Bless the U.S.A.” by Lee Greenwood https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KoXt9pZLGM Learn more about Joseph Thompson and his work: https://www.josephmthompson.com/ https://www.history.msstate.edu/directory/jmt50 https://twitter.com/jm_thompson?lang=en 
  • Conditioning Arms to Israel with Sarah Harrison

    53:26
    Last week, 40 Democratic members of the House of Representatives wrote a letter to President Biden expressing concern and outrage over an Israeli airstrike that killed seven aid workers from the World Central Kitchen. The lawmakers urged the president to reconsider his recent authorization of an arms transfer package to Israel and withhold any future offensive arms transfers if the strike was found to have violated U.S. or international law. They also urged Biden to withhold arms transfers if the humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate. Lawfare Managing Editor Tyler McBrien sat down with Sarah Harrison, a Senior Analyst with the International Crisis Group’s U.S. program and former Associate General Counsel at the Defense Department’s Office of General Counsel, International Affairs. They talked about the laws and policies that govern U.S. security assistance, what recent reporting may or may not tell us about Israel’s law of war compliance, and the difficulty of some of these assessments. They also discussed what President Biden risks by not applying conditions on military aid abroad.To receive ad-free podcasts, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at www.patreon.com/lawfare. You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at https://givebutter.com/c/trumptrials.