Editor's note

On Monday, the Washington Post cited “current and former U.S. officials” as sources in an explosive story alleging President Donald Trump shared highly classified information with Russian visitors to the Oval Office. What would motivate intelligence professionals to whisper secrets? One key reason, writes Frederic Lemieux of Georgetown University, is “political interference in intelligence activities.”

The intelligence Trump shared is reportedly what prompted the U.S. in March to ban laptops and other devices on some flights from the Middle East – and why the administration is pondering whether to extend the policy to Europe. Case Western’s Cassandra Burke Robertson and Hofstra’s Irina D. Manta explain why banning laptops, like most security measures, can’t withstand the scrutiny of a cost-benefit analysis.

And, Robert Jervis of Columbia University, the author of a landmark work on psychology in politics, explains how the Trump administration got the firing of James Comey very, very wrong.

Meanwhile in the world of education, Penn State professor Scott Alan Metzger looks at the learning potential of history movies. Should teachers use Hollywood blockbusters in social studies classes? Or do the pitfalls outweigh the benefits?

Emily Costello

Senior Editor, Politics + Society

Top story

Trump and Lavrov in the Oval Office on May 10, 2017. (Russian Foreign Ministry via AP) Russian Foreign Ministry via AP

Why Trump's White House leaks

Frederic Lemieux, Georgetown University

Whispering secrets is a sign of a lack of trust.

Economy + Business

  • Why banning laptops from airplane cabins doesn't make sense

    Cassandra Burke Robertson, Case Western Reserve University; Irina D. Manta, Hofstra University

    The U.S. is considering expanding a ban it imposed in March on several Middle Eastern countries to all flights from Europe. A close look suggests the meager benefits just aren't worth the high costs.

Politics + Society

Arts + Culture

  • Ivanka Trump's deeply political tome

    Ani Kokobobo, University of Kansas

    'Women Who Work' attempts to present itself as an apolitical work. But no narratives ever are – and it's especially the case for those that anxiously seek to appear that way.


  • Are movies a good way to learn history?

    Scott Alan Metzger, Pennsylvania State University

    History movies may have Oscar potential, but their educational potential is more complicated. Should teachers use Hollywood to teach?

Science + Technology

Trending on Site

  • Mining the moon for rocket fuel to get us to Mars

    Gary Li, University of California, Los Angeles; Danielle DeLatte, University of Tokyo; Jerome Gilleron, Georgia Institute of Technology; Samuel Wald, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Therese Jones, Pardee RAND Graduate School

    To get us to Mars and beyond, a team of students from around the world has a plan involving lunar rovers mining ice and a space station between the Earth and the moon.

  • What's behind the fidget spinner fad?

    Joel Best, University of Delaware

    Adults are dumbfounded – and according to an expert on fads, that's probably the point.

  • Trump will likely win reelection in 2020

    Musa al-Gharbi, Columbia University

    Liberals who are counting down the days until Election Day 2020 may need to revise their math. Getting rid of a sitting president isn't easy to do.