Rational Security 2.0: The ‘House of Canards’ Edition

By Jen Patja Howell
Wednesday, January 26, 2022, 12:01 PM

This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined by Lawfare managing editor, Jacob Schulz! They talked through some of the week's biggest national security news, including:

  • “The Shawshank Detention.” The Islamic State attempted a violent jail break of thousands of their confederates this week in Syria. And while U.S.-backed Kurdish forces appear to have contained the damage thus far, the outcome remains far from certain. What does this tell us about the state of the U.S. strategy in Syria?
  • “Pure Michigan.” The prosecution of the attempted kidnappers of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has hit a snag, with defense attorneys (and the conservative media) alleging that purported misconduct on the part of the FBI amounts to entrapment. What could a failure here mean for the fight against domestic violent extremism?
  • “Urgent Chinese Secrets, Huh?” The Justice Department has dropped charges in a leading case in the China Initiative, a Trump-era program that targets individuals for improper ties to China but has been criticized for encouraging racial discrimination and chilling legitimate research. Is this the end of the program or something else?

For object lessons, Alan drew our attention to the "Just Enough Family" podcast, which features classic tales of things not working out for rich people. Quinta urged Wordle fans to check out its more challenging Bizarro World counterpart, Absurdle. Scott made a passionate plea for reform in relation to one of our country's most systemic procedural injustices: NFL overtime rules. And Jacob endorsed both the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations soccer competition and the optimistically cosmopolitan sci-fi throwback (to 2016), "Arrival."