Juliette Kayyem Profile picture
@Kennedy_School, @CNN Analyst, Consultant, Author. Nat'l security expert, former Obama @DHSgov. New book THE DEVIL NEVER SLEEPS. Pulitzer finalist. 3x mom.
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May 18 6 tweets 2 min read
A note on replacement theory (RT) since #BuffaloMassacre. RT has come to be used by its critics for a broad array of issues across legal and policy disagreements. We should stop. We risk diluting RT's violent underpinnings and help its proponents wiggle out of consequences. 1/ As I've noted many times before, RT is about eliminating the "other" in a world where opportunity is limited: us or them, me or you. #stochasticterrorism is the means. When political and media leaders promote RT, they promote random violence but maintain plausible deniability. 2/
May 10 7 tweets 2 min read
Hurricanes and how people die from THE DEVIL NEVER SLEEPS. We have gotten better about surviving hurricanes. In 2020, Laura was described as "unsurvivable" but nobody died from the storm surge. Still, 28 lost their lives because of the hurricane. What happened? 1/ People die from disasters but we often make the wrong assumptions about how people die if we simply think "oh there was a hurricane." If we can figure out how -- how come this person died and this person didn't -- then hopefully we learn for next storm. 2/
May 5 10 tweets 3 min read
Wow. Boeing's move to Chicago in 1997 was due to its merger with competitor McDonnell Douglas, the tenth-largest merger in US history at the time. Boeing got to keep the name. McDonnell Douglas got location. Boeing also lost its safety culture that year.
A story about tragedy:⬇️ In 1997, Boeing not only lost its Northwest roots, but also adopted the corporate culture of McDonnell Douglas. I interviewed a bunch of people about the crashes for THE DEVIL NEVER SLEEPS and all put the date of merger as some explanation of what happened. 2/
May 4 4 tweets 2 min read
This @nytimes story on Japan's fraught relationship with the nuclear question -- the legacy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to Fukushima meltdown to Ukraine -- is a must read. I wrote @theatlantic an excerpt from THE DEVIL NEVER SLEEPS on this history. 1/
theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/… The nuclear attacks during WWII meant that in order for Japan to "sell" nuclear energy, it had to convince populations that it was safe. That was a myth, excusing the industry from investing in how to fail, safer. Fukushima wasn't just the result of a natural disaster. 2/
Apr 26 6 tweets 2 min read
WH/DHS border plan is a very good enforcement plan. It should be described by Dems as such, but many in party will not like it. GOP will then take advantage of that. So what's in it? Surging resources, detention, expedited processing, tougher penalties and targeting smugglers.1/ Many progressives in the party will attack the truth of the anticipated numbers, view it all as playing politics, and attack those of us who do not view border policy as necessarily the best means to solve poverty, neglect and history's vices. 2/
Apr 19 4 tweets 1 min read
Working at home, while son doing project.
Him: What are yuppies?
Me: OMG. What is this for?
Him: The music of the late 1970s. This article says that period bridged the hippies to the yuppies.
Me: (About to start long, detailed conversation)
Him: You know its for history, mom.💔 He's killing me.
Him: I have to choose a song.
Me: Try "Last Dance" Donna Summer
Him: What about these top ones: "Hot Stuff" or "Ring My Bell"?

We were totally awesome then. Sigh.
Apr 15 12 tweets 3 min read
On the #BostonMarathon weekend, and 9 years after the terror attack, I am again reminded about the misleading nature of #BostonStrong. From reporting for THE DEVIL NEVER SLEEPS, a new story on what strong really means. 1/ I'll be blunt: #bostonstrong gives the false impression that disaster response is about some mood, the Irish blood, the Ortiz "this is our f--king city" attitude. I know why we need that kind of swagger. But it hides something more complicated, tactical. 2/
Apr 12 4 tweets 1 min read
From the start, NYPD says no ongoing threat and no terrorism. That is super early to say, so based on my experience, that means they know suspect and he is known to them for reasons not related to terrorism. @cnn Again, something can be absolutely terrifying but not be terror because no political link. NYPD is talking "mass shooting" and not terror. Is this good? No, of course not but just suggests where this is heading.
Mar 28 5 tweets 2 min read
In advance of Tuesday's release of THE DEVIL NEVER SLEEPS: Learning to Live in an Age of Disasters, an excerpt from Harvard Business Review about designing for preparedness. @HarvardBiz 1/
hbr.org/2022/03/design… The book is for all audiences as it hopes to capture what we can learn from the history of disasters. I find their common features, not unique ones. The "devil" in the title is agnostic to what kind of harm or "boom": cyber, pandemic, terror, natural disasters, etc. 2/
Mar 16 6 tweets 3 min read
Thrilled to introduce you to "The Devil Never Sleeps" with excerpt in @TheAtlantic. "By treating catastrophes as inevitable, communities are more likely to survive them." Rock warnings, a nuclear meltdown, and the facility near Fukushima that survived. 1/
theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/… The book, out on 3/29, took about a year to write for @public_affairs, but it has been in my head for many more. It doesn't blame or express shock; it takes harms as a given. It examines through centuries of tragedy what we might learn today from all the tragedies before. 2/
Feb 25 5 tweets 2 min read
Exactly! A lot of security experts, using this platform to terrify, schooled me yesterday on my innocence about Putin. Maybe. Trust though I know something about nuclear disasters, force protection and I can read maps. 1/ As between a fire fight in Chernobyl and one not there, I’d prefer the latter. But the suggestion that Russia’s actions there had no other possible explanation but nuclear threat was scary to many, including my mom. 2/
Feb 12 13 tweets 4 min read
In honor of the big game, follow along for a story about Superbowl XLVII, Beyonce and the famous 2013 blackout at the New Orleans Superdome. From my forthcoming book "The Devil Never Sleeps," the half dark stadium was actually a planning success. 1/ I dont need to explain what the Superdome represented during Hurricane Katrina. By 2013, hosting the Superbowl in that same place and city was a public celebration, a recovery party. The "Harbaugh Bowl" (opposing coaches were brothers) was going to bring good news to NOLA. 2/
Feb 1 7 tweets 2 min read
Texas is special. To understand its lack of energy delivery capacity today, we have to begin in 1935. Then, TX decided to back out of FDR's plans for a unified electrical grid. So TX created its own: the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). Bad start. A story: 1/ There are two major, contiguous national energy delivery systems in the US, essentially one for the East and one for West. The third, ERCOT, is isolated, unable to draw on capacity from the other grids. It can divert energy within the state -- Lubbock to Dallas, or whatever -- 2/
Jan 28 12 tweets 3 min read
Today is Jan. 28th, the 36th anniversary of the Challenger explosion. We tend to view disasters as days with no history, a tragedy we mourn. Allan McDonald, an engineer working with NASA, knew on Jan. 27th, 1986 that the shuttle shouldn't fly. His story is a familiar one: 1/ McDonald was a contractor who worked on the O-ring, a feature we would learn was responsible for the explosion. On 1/27, he refused to sign off on the official checklist form to ensure all was ok for the shuttle to fly. He noticed dangerous ring elasticity due to cold weather. 2/
Jan 4 5 tweets 1 min read
For female CEOs of startups, the notion that Elizabeth Holmes was somehow targeted because of her gender is a stupid, sexist take. She did a lot of harm (we were never glam enough, visionary enough and then when things turned were we too like her?) to other women in business. 1/ I rarely tweet about this part of my life but some analysis forgets the extent she used whatever it was that so many men with money found compelling about her (let me guess) to her advantage. She sexualized "the ask" (for women like me it is asking rich men for $) and knew it. 2/
Dec 29, 2021 6 tweets 2 min read
I'm bullish on 2022 and covid. But the decisions we now have to make -- 5 or 10 days, domestic travel ban or not -- are policy decisions, weighing risk reduction strategies for this nonlinear recovery. The communication of this is not for the doctors. 1/
theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/… It is hard to see, but we are in/heading towards a recovery. We have so many tools, not just vaccines. We can focus on all the bad, but that's doom-scrolling. What I do think is that the WH public health team is being ill-served to be the face of this part of the response. 2/
Dec 27, 2021 10 tweets 3 min read
A Thread on the "Seventh" Wave: On this day in 2004, the Indian Ocean tsunamis struck. They killed 227K people in 14 countries; many perished from deprivation later. Enough time has past to answer a basic question: why did they die? It is not always obvious. #tsunami2004 1/ I have spent the last year researching and writing a book trying to find the commonalities across centuries of disasters, rather than viewing them as distinct or a surprise. It is obvious disasters are no longer random or rare. Hence the title, The Devil Never Sleeps. 2/
Dec 4, 2021 6 tweets 2 min read
The week 2 narrative about #OxfordHigh is starting to form, led by gun advocates and partisans, amplified by “wise” commentary from those who want you to believe they aren’t part of first groups. It is that we should worry about criminalizing bad parenting. Don’t take the bait.1/ The fact this case is one of first impression in a school shooting case suggests that the law is actually pretty tolerant of shitty parenting. And it is. And should be. The schools liability is different; not excusable, but not the same. Two teachers acted responsibly. 2/
Nov 28, 2021 5 tweets 2 min read
I know Wed. @TheAtlantic headline made some wary, but it describes the right way to think about the next phase, inc. #Omicron. Variants, outbreaks, mixed progress mark a road of adaptive recovery. US need not sustain indefinite emergency stance and panic. Read then respond. 1/ I am not a doctor. I’m a consumer of health intelligence and advise public and private entities that have to balance many demands. In this essay, I describe how in past disasters, response personnel were complimented by nontechnical experts in recovery phase. 2/
Nov 4, 2021 7 tweets 2 min read
If Covid and all its economic, social consequences was also a contributing factor for Tuesday’s results, it is not just a question of messaging. It is that this is an unprecedented recovery. Some thoughts from history of disasters 1/

nytimes.com/2021/11/03/us/… We are in what might be called the undone phase. To call it a new normal is premature. I’ve called it a “now normal” or “adaptive recovery” given daily pivots, ups and downs. In this sense, as far as the history of disaster management goes, we are in unprecedented territory. 2/
Oct 16, 2021 4 tweets 1 min read
What is happening with the vaccine mandate in Chicago is important to follow tonight. Union bravado. A mayor who is not caving, but flexible. A Governor who will help by deploying the Guard to replace police. Dual lawsuits and injunctions. 1/
chicagotribune.com/news/breaking/… It's all horrible in sense of a society that comes to this, with unions and publicly paid officials so undermining the public good. (Through Covid, I have become more hostile and less supportive of unions (teacher/police) and I consider myself firmly left of center. Good job.) 2/