Rational Security

12/8/2021

The "Bad Vlad" Edition

This week, Alan, Quinta and Scott were joined byLawfarecontributor and University of Kentucky law professor Jonathan Shaub!They sat down to discuss the week's national security news, including:“Not So Quiet on the Eastern Front”: President Biden and President Putin recently sat down for a one-on-one meeting, in an effort to curb tensions brought on by Russia’s apparent preparations for an invasion of Ukraine. Are Russia and the United States headed towards conflict?“January 6th Pleads the Fifth”: The January 6th committee’s subpoenas are beginning to bear fruit, as a number of associates of former President Trump have either agreed to cooperate, refused and face possible civil and criminal penalties, or have invoked their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. What, if anything, is the committee likely to get from their testimony?“Apple Bites Back”: Apple has now joined WhatsApp in suing the Israeli cyber intelligence company NSO Group for hacking its devices and networks on behalf of foreign regimes, including to spy on U.S. diplomats. What might this mean for the future of private sector hackers?For object lessons, Quinta gave a touching tribute to her former boss, thelate Fred Hiatt of the Washington Post.Alan gave a shout out to Minnesota's first snowfall of the season. Scott endorsed what is, in his view, perhaps the best holiday music album ever: Atlantic Records' 1968 compilation "Soul Christmas.” And Jonathan endorsed a number of celestial objects that it's worth getting outside to (tele) scope out over the next few nights.Also, Rational Security is hoping to close out the year with a mailbag episode! So, if you have any burning questions you want the RatSec crew to answer, wild hypotheticals you want them to suss out, or object lessons you want to share, no matter how serious or how frivolous, be sure to email them to rationalsecurity@lawfareblog.com before December 22.Be sure to visit our show page atwww.lawfareblog.comand to follow us on Twitter at@RatlSecurity.And Rational Security listeners can now get a committed ad-free feed by becoming a Lawfare material supporter atwww.patreon.com/lawfare!
11/25/2021

The "Nothing To Be Thankful For" Edition

This week, Alan, Quinta and Scott were joined by special guest,Quinta's co-host of the Arbiters of Truth series on theLawfarepodcast feedEvelyn Douek! They sat down to discuss:—“Getting Rittenhoused”: A jury recently acquitted 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse of murder charges for shooting two men in what he claimed was self-defense during last summer’s unrest. What does his trial and its aftermath tell us about the intersection of politics with our criminal justice system?— “Now That’s a Power Serve”: A global pressure campaign by professional tennis players has forced Chinese officials to disclose the location of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, who disappeared after publicly accusing a former senior official of sexual assault. Is this a new model for dealing with Chinese human rights abuses?— “Duck Say Quack and Fish Go Blub—But What Did Fox Say?”: Two prominent conservative commentators have resigned from Fox News over its release of a Tucker Carlson film that they say spreads misinformation and promotes violence. Will this be enough to force the network to curb its behavior?For object lessons, Quinta endorsed her favoritepie dough recipe. Alan in turn made an unorthodox recommendation of what to put in that dough:sweet potato pie. Scott encouraged listeners to follow up that big meal with a cup of coffee, made on his belovedAeropresswith aPrismo filter attachment. And if that doesn't work, Evelyn suggested folks tuck in for a nap with her favorite weighted blanket fromBearaby.Be sure to visit our show page atwww.lawfareblog.comand to follow us on Twitter at@RatlSecurity.And Rational Security listeners can now get a committed ad-free feed by becoming a Lawfare material supporter atwww.patreon.com/lawfare!
11/17/2021

The “SPAAACE LAAAW” Edition

This week, Alan, Quinta and Scott were joined by special guest,Lawfare chief operating officer David Priess! They sat down to discuss:“In Byelorussia, Everything . . . Everything is Just Awful”: In an effort to hit back over sanctions, the authoritarian regime in Belarus is deliberately admitting refugees only to channel them across its borders with the European Union. How should Europe respond?“Taking ‘Tourist Trap’ Too Literally”: In recent years, foreign governments have taken an unprecedented number of U.S. nationals as effective hostages. Is this a failure of U.S. deterrence? Or something else entirely?“Space: The Littered Frontier”: A Russian test of an anti-satellite weapon has scattered refuse across outer space, threatening the safety of astronauts and potentially complicating space travel in the future.For object lessons, Scott made a PSA aboutLawfare's upcomingonline info sessionfor law students interested in becoming student contributors, taking place this Thursday! Quinta brought attention to arecent articleon formerWashington Postreporter Felicia Somnez and her disturbing treatment after coming forward with her experience being sexually assaulted. Alan endorsed theBonne Maman jam-based advent calendarhe is using (and abusing). Scott urged listeners to check out the upcoming season of"The Expanse"and to keep an eye out for new about the forthcomingfilm adaptation of"Hyperion." And David encouraged RatSec fans to check out the latestLawfarepodcast offering,Chatter, a long form interview podcast exploring the fringes of national security and culture, which he is co-hosting along with former RatSec host Shane Harris!Be sure to visit our show page atwww.lawfareblog.comand to follow us on Twitter at@RatlSecurity.And Rational Security listeners can now get a committed ad-free feed by becoming a Lawfare material supporter atwww.patreon.com/lawfare!
11/10/2021

The "Dirty Little Secrets" Edition

This week, Alan, Quinta and Scott were joined by special guest,Lawfare associate editor Rohini Kurup! They sat down to discuss:“I’ll Keep You, My Dirty Little Secret”: The Supreme Court has heard oral argument in not one but two cases relating to the controversial state secrets doctrine this term. Will the doctrine survive Supreme Court scrutiny in its current form?“Coming Home to Roost”: Last week, a Guantanamo Bay detainee’s unprecedented testimony regarding his torture at American hands led members of a military jury to recommend he receive clemency. Will this be a turning point for the military commissions?“Bark v. Bite”: A judge recently criticized the Department of Justice for describing the January 6 insurrection as an unprecedented criminal act while bringing only minor charges against many defendants involved in it. What do we know of the Department’s prosecutorial strategy thus far—and does it make any sense?For object lessons, Quinta shouted out a former obsession of hers,Neopets. Alan endorsed a number of Twitter accounts committed to things cute and fuzzy, including@dog_rates,@timelinecats, and@otteritarian. Scott proselytized for his favorite bean cult,Rancho Gordo Bean Club. And Rohini celebrated the anniversary of the Four Seasons Total Landscaping fiasco witha new documentary on the topic.Be sure to visit our show page atwww.lawfareblog.comand to follow us on Twitter at@RatlSecurity.And Rational Security listeners can now get a committed ad-free feed by becoming a Lawfare material supporter atwww.patreon.com/lawfare!
11/3/2021

The "Nuclear Tongue Twister" Edition

This week, Alan, Quinta and Scott were joined by special guest,Rational Security editor Jen Patja Howell! They sat down to discuss:“Our Stand on Havana”: While pressure is building on the Biden administration to take a stand on Havana Syndrome, our understanding of what is happening to U.S. diplomats and other officials remains limited. What should the United States do next?“SupersonicNewBallisticsExquisiteBlastAdocious”: In the last few weeks, China’s unveiled a new supersonic missile capable of delivering nuclear warheads past U.S. defenses.At the same time, the United States has announced new technology that allows nuclear warheads to explode with “exquisite timing” that dramatically magnifies their effectiveness. Is this the beginning of a new sort of arms race?“International Lampoon’s European Vacation”: President Biden is meeting with a number of his foreign counterparts in Europe this week to discuss issues ranging from the global economy to climate change. Will Biden be able to repair these key relationships or is the Trump era still weighing down the United States’ international standing?For object lessons, Quinta notedthe death of Viktor Bryukhanov, the former manager of the nuclear plant at Chernobyl at the time of its meltdown; Alan urged listeners to check outthe hour long videointroducing the post-Facebook company, Meta; Scott pulled a hat trick and endorsedan article on the strange origins of the symbols on the ISIS flag, published in the excellentNew LinesMagazine, which he listened to on the surprisingly good text-to-speech appSpeechify; and Jen took a moment to thank all the wonderful good samaritans doing the hard, thankless task of working as poll workers and other volunteers during Virginia's recent election.Be sure to visit our show page atwww.lawfareblog.comand to follow us on Twitter at@RatlSecurity.And Rational Security listeners can now get a committed ad-free feed by becoming a Lawfare material supporter atwww.patreon.com/lawfare!