Armed Conflict Cybersecurity & Tech

Rational Security: The 'Low Down Dirty Shane' Edition

Jen Patja Howell, Alan Z. Rozenshtein, Scott R. Anderson, Shane Harris
Thursday, May 18, 2023, 12:00 PM
This week, Alan and Scott were joined by co-host emeritus (and Washington Post star reporter) Shane Harris to talk over the week's news.

Published by The Lawfare Institute
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This week, Alan and Scott were joined by co-host emeritus (and Washington Post star reporter) Shane Harris to talk over the week's news! Including:

  • “Flight of the Valkyries.” Recently leaked U.S. intelligence reports allege that Wagner Group owner Yevgeniy Prighozin—who has privately and publicly feuded with the Russian military leadership in recent weeks and even threatened to pull his mercenary troops from the conflict—has been in contact with Ukrainian intelligence and offered to share Russian troop positions in exchange for concessions around the disputed city of Bakhmut. Is Prighozin trying to find a path to retreat? What do his actions tell us about the conflict?
  • “Jerkiye Boy.” Twitter owner Elon Musk has come under criticism for the company’s latest bad call: censoring certain content at the request of the Erdogan government in Türkiye, just prior to national elections there. How should Twitter have responded to the demands of Turkish officials? And how has Musk’s erratic leadership affected the company’s approach to such issues?
  • “BootLichter.” CNN and its CEO Chris Licht are experiencing blowback from the decision to host a town hall with former President Donald Trump before an audience of his supporters, at which he repeated an array of lies about the 2020 election results, the recent judgment finding him liable for sexual battery, and his potential legal exposure for retaining classified documents, among other items. Was CNN in the wrong? How should it handle Trump (and other candidates)?

For object lessons, Alan recommended his annual reading on the Eurovision contest, Anthony Lane's 2010 New Yorker essay, "Only Mr. God Knows Why." Scott passed along some favorites from his reading-heavy vacation, including Arkady Martine's fantastic "A Memory Called Empire." And Shane, in true Shane fashion, gave his wholehearted endorsement to a new spy thriller coming to Showtime this week: "Ghosts of Beirut," about the hunt for terrorist mastermind Imad Mughniyeh.

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.
Alan Z. Rozenshtein is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School, a senior editor at Lawfare, and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Previously, he served as an Attorney Advisor with the Office of Law and Policy in the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland.
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.
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.

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