Shane and Tamara and Susan are all away—so Rational Security is dominated this week by acting officials. The acting secretary of defense has been replaced by another acting defense secretary, and much of the rest of the government is vacant as well. Congress and the Trump administration are still butting heads over oversight matters and compliance with congressional information demands for information. And the New York Times reports that U.S. hackers are in the Russian power grid—and want the Russians to know that they're there.
Jen Patja Howell is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier, and has been a freelance editor for 15 years. Jen has her B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and M.A. in Sociology from the University of Virginia.
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It's getting ugly in the Persian Gulf: Iran allegedly attacks two oil tankers. It announces that it's going to violate the JCPOA, the so-called Iran nuclear agreement. There's talk of military strikes. Europe is edgy, and the Secretary of State is on Sunday talk shows being edgier still.
Benjamin Wittes sat down with Suzanne Maloney and Scott R. Anderson to talk it all through. They talked about whether the AUMF covers Iran, why Iran is doing this stuff, whether the Trump administration brought this all on itself, and where it's all going from here.
Russian and Chinese leaders understand that they’re unlikely to win a shooting war with the United States, but they have other ways to challenge Western interests, turning our greatest strengths—open societies, dominance of technology on Earth and in space, and military innovation—into weaknesses.
Shane is off gallivanting elsewhere, so we wiped our bitter tears and did a show without him. Sophia Yan—yes, that Sophia Yan—phoned in from a Chinese airport on her way to Hong Kong to talk about ongoing protests and violence in that city. Kamala Harris urged the indictment of President Trump after he leaves office. And Pete Buttigieg gave a foreign policy speech.
More than two years after the 2016 presidential election, new information continues to seep into the public about the extent of Russia's sweeping and systematic efforts to interfere in the U.S. democratic process. With the 2020 presidential election on the horizon, last week, Stanford's Cyber Policy Center published a report on securing American elections, including recommendations on how the U.S. can protect elections and election infrastructure from foreign actors.
In this episode of the special Culper Partners Rule of Law Series, David Kris and Nate Jones speak with John Bellinger.
Robert Mueller speaks! What does it mean for the future of investigations and possible impeachment hearings? Bill Barr is given new authorities to declassify information about the Russia probe. And Jared Kushner says he finally has a plan for Middle East peace.