The ISB study notably dissected the “ticking time bomb” scenario that is often portrayed in television thrillers (and which has “captured the public imagination”). The authors patiently explained why that hypothetical scenario is not a sensible guide to interrogation policy or a justification for torture. Moral considerations aside, the ISB report said, coercive interrogation may produce unreliable results, foster increased resistance, and preclude the discovery of unsuspected intelligence information of value (pp. 40-42).
Rare earth elements — of which there are 17, including the 15 lanthanides plus yttrium and scandium — are needed in many industrial and national security applications, from flat panel displays to jet fighter engines. Yet there are foreseeable stresses on the national and global supply of these materials. “The United States was once self-reliant in domestically produced [rare earth elements], but over the past 15 years has become 100% reliant on imports, primarily from China,” a new report (pdf) from the Congressional Research Service observes. “The dominance of China as a single or dominant supplier […] is a cause for concern because of China’s growing internal demand for its [own rare earth elements],” the report said.