Rational Security 2.0: The ‘Live Action Rational Security’ Edition

Jen Patja Howell, Quinta Jurecic, Scott R. Anderson, Benjamin Wittes
Wednesday, May 11, 2022, 12:00 PM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With

This week, Quinta and Scott were joined by RatSec 1.0 host emeritus Benjamin Wittes to talk through the week's big national security news stories, including: 

  • “Sharing is Caring.” Earlier this week, an unnamed senior U.S. official indicated that the United States is providing targeting information to Ukrainian forces—only to have other officials walk back that assertion almost immediately. What is actually happening? And why is the Biden administration so paranoid about discussing it openly?
  • “The Chief’s Thief.” Recent revelations have shown that former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows played an integral role in leading efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 elections in the lead up to the Jan. 6 insurrection. But the Justice Department still has taken no steps toward prosecuting him for contempt of Congress for refusing to fully comply with the Jan. 6 committee’s investigation. What should we make of Meadows? And what should be done about him?
  • “Trolling Alone.” Incidents of harassment and hostility are an increasingly commonplace feature of our political discourse, particularly for public officials working on hot button issues. What should we make of this breakdown in civility? What causes it? And where may it lead?

For object lessons, Quinta passed along Susan Dominus's eye-opening piece on “The Nightmare of Being a Surrogate Mother in the Ukraine War.” Scott recommended NASA's amazing virtual tour of the solar system to all his fellow stargazers (as well as astronomer Paul Byrne's amazing Twitter account). And Ben announced a new podcast experiment he is launching: live discussions with Ukrainians living on the front lines.

Plus here are a few other stories we mentioned or recommended:

  • Politico’s piece on the Jan. 6 committee’s focus on junior aides and staff;
  • Frank Michelman’s classic law review article “Law’s Republic”;
  • Radiolab’s piece on Israel and the global surrogacy industry, “Birthstory

We lightly edited and re-posted this episode to eliminate an offensive term that one of our co-hosts used inadvertently. For an explanation and apology, see his Tweet thread here.

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 that empowers 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 over 20 years.
Quinta Jurecic is a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and a senior editor at Lawfare. She previously served as Lawfare's managing editor and as an editorial writer for the Washington Post.
Scott R. Anderson is a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and a Senior Fellow in the National Security Law Program at Columbia Law School. He previously served as an Attorney-Adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State and as the legal advisor for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.
Benjamin Wittes is editor in chief of Lawfare and a Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of several books.

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