Michele Flournoy on the Most Pressing U.S. Security Challenges
15 Minutes is an interview podcast with the biggest names in the global security space. This week The Cipher Brief's CEO & Publisher Suzanne Kelly spends 15 minutes with Michele Flounoy, CEO & Founder of the DC-based think tank the Center For a New American Security (CNAS). She was formerly the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. When President Barack Obama nominated her for the position, she was the highest-ranking woman in the Pentagon’s history.
After President Donald Trump’s election, General James Mattis asked her to be his Deputy Secretary of Defense, a position she turned down. So, what are her views on the new Administration? And what does she see as the most pressing challenges ahead, from North Korea to Yemen, Syria and Iraq?
Jonna Mendez on Mastering Disguise & Illusion 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 Jonna Mendez, who spent 27 years at the CIA, eventually becoming the Chief of Disguise. She’s also a founding board member of the International Spy Museum, where she aims to educate people about the world of espionage. Here, Jonna educates Leone on how she learned from Hollywood makeup artists and magicians, to master illusion and disguise.
Carmen Medina on Diversity at the CIA
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.
In Brief: Former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell on National Security Priorities
In this special 'Georgetown Salon' edition, Cipher Brief CEO & Publisher Suzanne Kelly talks with former Acting Director of the CIA Michael Morell about his highest-ranking national security concerns ranging from the potentially devastating impact of Wikileaks disclosures on U.S. intelligence gathering to encouraging a more aggressive focus on Russian activities to North Korea's dangerous nuclear ambitions.
In Brief: Amb. Robert Ford on the Cost of Rushing into Raqqa
The “In Brief” podcast brings you The Cipher Brief’s take on breaking news stories with leading experts in the global security space. The Trump Administration announced last week that around 400 U.S. Marines and Army Rangers have been deployed to Syria to support the campaign to take Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital in Syria, from the extremist terror group. The Cipher Brief’s National Security Reporter Kaitlin Lavinder asked former U.S. Ambassador to Syria (2011-2014) Robert Ford if this signals a significant change in strategy. Ford says, the deployment of the troops near Raqqa is actually not a huge change, but the recent deployment of Special Operations Forces to the town of Manbij is a much bigger change.
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.