Foreign Relations & International Law

Nuclear War: A Scenario with Annie Jacobsen

Shane Harris, Annie Jacobsen
Thursday, March 28, 2024, 9:00 AM
How would the U.S. react to a nuclear attack?

Published by The Lawfare Institute
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Without warning, North Korea launches a nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile at the United States. American satellites detect the launch within seconds, setting off a frantic, harrowing sequence of events that threatens to engulf the planet in a nuclear holocaust. 

That’s the terrifying hypothetical storyline that journalist Annie Jacobsen imagines in her new book. It’s a minute-by-minute, and occasionally second-by-second account of how the vast U.S. national security apparatus would respond to a “bolt out of the blue” attack with a nuclear weapon. It’s a riveting story and the supreme cautionary tale. 

Shane Harris spoke with Jacobsen about the book, the present threat of a nuclear world war, and her body of work, which has dug deeply into the dark corners of intelligence and national security. 

Books, interviews, movies and TV shows discussed in this episode include:  

Shane Harris has written about intelligence, security and foreign policy for more than two decades. He is a staff writer with The Washington Post, covering U.S. intelligence agencies and national security. He was part of the team that won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, for stories about the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and efforts to overturn the presidential election. In 2019, he was part of the team that was a finalist for the Public Service award for coverage of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Shane has previously been a staff writer for the Wall Street Journal, the Daily Beast, and National Journal. He is the author of two books, "The Watchers: The Rise of America's Surveillance State" (Penguin Press, 2010) and "@War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex" (Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014). He frequently appears on national and international television and radio. He is also a co-host of the weekly podcast "Chatter." Shane graduated from Wake Forest University in 1998. He lives in Washington.
Annie Jacobsen is an American investigative journalist, author, and a 2016 Pulitzer Prize finalist. Her most recent book is "Nuclear War: A Scenario."

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