Rational Security 2.0: The 'Boys Next Door' Edition

By Jen Patja Howell
Wednesday, April 13, 2022, 12:01 PM

This week, Alan, Quinta and Scott were joined by Lawfare managing editor Jacob Schulz to hash through some of the week's big national security news, including:

  • “Le Pen 15 Club.” As France enters the final run-off round of its presidential election, incumbent Emmanuel Macron is being closely trailed by extreme right-wing leader Marine Le Pen. What explains Le Pen’s political potency? And what would a President Le Pen mean for the rest of the world?
  • “The Biggest Botnet Takedown Since Geocities Deleted My Transformers FanFiction.” The Justice Department recently revealed that the United States and allied governments have been secretly removing Russian malware from global networks in order to thwart potential cyber attacks. What does this strategy tell us about the future of cyber conflict?
  • “Don’t Trust the DVE in Apartment 23.” Postal inspectors recently stumbled on a pair of heavily armed men impersonating DHS agents while living amidst—and showering expensive gifts on—Secret Service agents and other federal law enforcement officers in a Washington, D.C., apartment complex. What the hell was happening? And should we be concerned?

For object lessons, Alan invoked his love of nut spreads to endorse "pistacchiosa," a Sicilian pistachio spread with which he has recently become enamored. Quinta recommended Jonathan Chait's recent article on Ron DeSantis and Trumpism after Trump (as well as the app Audm). Scott recommended the movie Coco as a next step for those who have gotten sucked into the Disney+ universe by Encanto. And Jacob passed along a representative memento of his recent West Coast trip: the humble (and ubiquitous) skateboard rack.

Here are a few other articles and items we discussed, in no particular order:

  • Alex Iftimie's 2021 Lawfare article "No Server Left Behind," on the Justice Department's strategy of removing malware from private servers;
  • Ahmed Ghappour's 2017 Stanford Law Review article "Searching Places Unknown" on federal law enforcement jurisdiction in the cyber realm;
  • Carol Leonnig’s book on the Secret Service, "Zero Fail.”