Carmen Medina on Diversity at the CIA

15 Minutes is an interview podcast with the biggest names in the global security space. This week The Cipher Brief's Executive Producer and Reporter Leone Lakhani speaks to Carmen Medina, former CIA Deputy Director of Intelligence and a long-time advocate of diversity in the Agency. She’s also the co-author of Rebels at Work, a book in which she shares the virtues of being a rebel in the workplace. A self-styled rebel herself, Carmen tells Leone how she shook up the Agency, and why she sees the world differently.

Michael German on Fighting Violent Extremism

15 Minutes is a weekly interview podcast with the biggest names in the global security space. This week, The Cipher Brief’s Fritz Lodge speaks to Michael German, author of “Thinking Like a Terrorist” and a former undercover FBI agent, who infiltrated white supremacist groups in the 1990s. Fritz asks Michael how his experiences shaped his understanding of terrorism and how to best fight violent extremism both at home and abroad. 

James Mitchell on Enhanced Interrogation Techniques

This week, The Cipher Brief's Senior National Security Editor Steve Hirsch speaks with James Mitchell, a psychologist - and author of Enhanced Interrogation: Inside the Minds and Motives of the Islamic Terrorists Trying to Destroy America. Along with his partner John Bruce Jessen, James carried out debriefings of high profile detainees like 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, on behalf of the CIA from 2002 to 2009. Together they created what's known as "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" - or EITs - to question the prisoners. James spoke with Steve about the EIT program and the role they could have in the future. 

Robert "Buzz" Patterson on Holding the Nuclear Football

If the United States faces an imminent threat from a foreign power, did you know the President can order a nuclear attack at a moment’s notice? How? One option is by using the “Nuclear Football.” The Football – also known as the President’s Emergency Satchel – is a briefcase that accompanies the President, at all times. So what’s in it? And how does it work? This week The Cipher Brief’s Leone Lakhani speaks to Robert “Buzz” Patterson, who held the “Nuclear Football” for President Bill Clinton, to find out.

Former NATO Dep. Secretary General Alexander Vershbow

15 Minutes is an interview podcast with the biggest names in the global security space. This week, The Cipher Brief’s National Security Reporter and Europe Analyst Kaitlin Lavinder speaks with Ambassador Alexander Vershbow, former Deputy Secretary General of NATO (2012-2016). A changing external threat environment, internal security concerns, and the rise of populist anti-EU political parties leave Europe in a vulnerable position in 2017. Alexander tells Kaitlin how NATO can play a vital role in European security, and how the United States serves an indispensable role.

John Nixon on Interrogating Saddam Hussein Part II

15 Minutes is an interview podcast with the biggest names in the global security space. This week The Cipher Brief’s Executive Producer and Reporter Leone Lakhani speaks to John Nixon, author of “Debriefing The President: The Interrogation of Saddam Hussein.” John was the first CIA analyst to question the Iraqi leader after his capture. He specialized in profiling world leaders for the CIA and spent much of his career studying Saddam. In the second part of the interview, John describes the interrogation process, and the challenges of analyzing high-profile targets like Saddam. 

Click here to listen to Part I.

John Nixon on Interrogating Saddam Hussein Part I

15 Minutes is an interview podcast with the biggest names in the global security space. This week The Cipher Brief’s Executive Producer and Reporter Leone Lakhani speaks to John Nixon, author of “Debriefing The President: The Interrogation of Saddam Hussein.” John – who spent much of his career profiling Saddam – was the first CIA analyst to question the Iraqi leader after his capture. In the first part of the interview, John describes his thoughts when he finally came face-to-face with the Iraqi leader, what he uncovered about the weapons of mass destruction, and his views on Saddam’s trial and execution.

Click here to listen to Part II. 

Spy Museum's Vince Houghton on How Spies Shaped History

15 Minutes is an interview podcast with the biggest names in the global security space. This week The Cipher Brief’s Executive Producer and Reporter Leone Lakhani speaks to Vince Houghton, the curator and historian for The International Spy Museum. With all the intrigue and mystique surrounding the world of spies, the museum attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. But as Vince tells Leone, its main mission is to educate the public about the real-life world of espionage – and how spies have shaped the course of history.

Georgetown's Chris Taylor on Hacking for Defense

15 Minutes is an interview podcast with the biggest names in the global security space. This week The Cipher Brief's Executive Producer and Reporter Leone Lakhani speaks to Chris Taylor, who leads a course at Georgetown University called "Hacking for Defense." Despite the name, the course isn't just about cyber threats; it uses unique new methodology to find solutions to pressing challenges in national security, brought directly to the class by U.S. government agencies.

Quilliam's Haras Rafiq on Countering Extremism

15 Minutes is an interview podcast with the biggest names in the global security space. This week, The Cipher Brief's Executive Producer and Reporter Leone Lakhani speaks to Haras Rafiq, CEO of Quilliam—a UK-based organization whose mission is to counter extremism, in every form. Much of its work surrounds counter-messaging Islamism by creating alternatives and empowering moderate Islamic voices. Leone spoke to Haras about how Quilliam conveys its message.