And we’re back! Tonight’s episode features:
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Will Rod Rosenstein remain as the deputy attorney general, and what does that mean for the Russia probe he oversees? Tensions hit a fever pitch with China amid an escalating trade war. And the president addresses the U.N. General Assembly.
The United States has become the global leader in both defense and private-sector AI. Inevitably, this has led to an environment in which adversary and ally governments alike may seek to identify and steal AI information—in other words, AI has become intelligence, and those who work in AI have become potential sources and assets. And with intelligence, comes counterintelligence.
Our guest is Peter W. Singer, co-author with Emerson T. Brooking of LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media. Peter’s book is a fine history of the way the Internet went wrong in the Age of Social Media. He thinks we’re losing the Like Wars, and I tend to agree. It’s a deep conversation that turns contentious when we come to his prescriptions, which I see as reinstating the lefty elite that ran journalism for decades, this time empowered by even less self-doubt—and AI that can reproduce its prejudices at scale and without transparency.
If you ask scientists what is most likely to kick off the next great wave of technological change, a good number will answer “quantum mechanics”—a field whose physics Albert Einstein once described as “spooky,” but whose potential, once tapped, could unleash exponentially faster computer processes, unbreakable cryptography, and new frontiers in surveillance technology.
Paul Manafort pleads guilty and agrees to cooperate in the Russia investigation, and Mike Flynn gets a sentencing date. The Justice Department tells two Chinese media companies to register as foreign agents. And Trump declassifies more material about the surveillance of one of his campaign advisers.
There’s no shortage of news this week, but comparatively little of it is national security law news, and so we are back with a fresh deep dive episode. For better or worse, it’s our longest episode yet (topping out a bit over 1:20). So find a comfy spot, pop in the headphones, and prepare to dive deep, deep, deep into the history of military commissions in the United States! Get ready for Ex Parte Milligan, Ex Parte Quirin, and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, and much more besides!
Security technologist Bruce Schneier's latest book, "Click Here to Kill Everybody: Security and Survival in a Hyper-connected World," argues that it won't be long before everything modern society relies on will be computerized and on the internet. This drastic expansion of the so-called 'internet of things,' Schneier contends, vastly increases the risk of cyberattack. To help figure out just how concerned you should be, last Thursday, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Schneier.
On Friday, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort entered a plea agreement with the special counsel. To discuss what the news means for Manafort, the Mueller investigation, and President Trump, Benjamin Wittes spoke to former Obama White House counsel Bob Bauer, independent counsel prosector Paul Rosenzweig, and Lawfare managing editor Quinta Jurecic.
Well, would you look at that: your hosts are back in town at the same time at last, and they’ve got a fresh episode covering some of the major national security legal developments of the past couple of weeks! We’ve got: