Ambassador Joseph DeTrani talks about the Escalating Crisis with North Korea

This week we have a special episode of Intelligence Matters with Michael Morell, in which, The Cipher Brief expert Ambassador Joseph DeTrani weighs in on mounting tensions between the United States and North Korea.   The exchange of fiery rhetoric between U.S. President Donald Trump and members of the North Korean regime raises the question, is this war of words a precursor to armed conflict, escalating the crisis to a tipping point. Trump has publicly rebuked his predecessors for leaving him what he described “a mess,” and intensified warnings to North Korea making clear that a military option would be “devastating” to them. Kim Jong-Un’s regime have said that Trump’s continued statements amount to a “declaration of war” and threaten to shoot down U.S. warplanes in international airspace.   Ambassador DeTrani, who is one of our nation’s leading experts on issues related to North Korea, China and nuclear nonproliferation talks to former Acting Director of the CIA Michael Morell about what drove North Korea to develop a nuclear program, how we got to where we are today, the alarming advancements the North Korean regime has made in creating miniaturized nuclear warheads and offers thoughts on what the best path forward is for the United States.   Ambassador DeTrani was President of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, a professional Think Tank.  Previously, he was the Special envoy for Six Party Talks with North Korea and the U.S. Representative to the Korea Energy Development Organization (KEDO).  He was an Associate Director of National Intelligence and Mission Manager for North Korea and the Director of National Counter Proliferation Center, while serving as a Special Adviser to the Director of National Intelligence. He served over two decades with the Central Intelligence Agency as a member of the Senior Intelligence Service. He is currently on the Board of Managers at Sandia National Laboratories.

Director of National Counterterrorism Center Nicholas Rasmussen

In this week’s episode of Intelligence Matters with Michael Morell, we hear from the Director of National Counterterrorism Center Nicholas Rasmussen who in a rare interview gives insight into the dramatic progress made against ISIS in the battlefield, why Al Qaeda is still priority to analysts, primary threats currently facing the homeland and how the terror threat has evolved. Rasmussen is the top analyst on terrorism in the United States with nearly two decades’ experience in the counterterror field. As senior NCTC and CIA officials, Rasmussen and Morell worked closely with one another, sharing counterterrorism-related intelligence information that ensured effective intra-agency coordination and ultimately led to the operation that resulted in the death of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. The NCTC, initially known as the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, was created at the recommendation of the 9/11 commission to ensure that information on potential terror threats from federal departments and agencies (such as the CIA and FBI) could be merged in a single location and appropriate responses could then be planned.

Rüdiger Lentz on Russia, Populism, and German Politics

15 minutes is an interview podcast with the biggest names in the global security space. A resurgent Russia, along with broader economic and social trends, is shaking up politics across the U.S. and Europe. Populist parties, like Germany’s Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), that are supported by Vladimir Putin’s Russia, are challenging the status quo. The AfD came in third in Sunday’s election in Germany, significantly gaining on the two major parties and winning seats in parliament for the first time. For now, the political center in Germany still holds, with Chancellor Angela Merkel, a Christian Democrat, winning a fourth term. This week, The Cipher Brief’s Kaitlin Lavinder spends 15 minutes with Rüdiger Lentz, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Germany. Here, they talk about the rise of populism in the West and how it’s impacting liberal democracies.

Secretary Leon Panetta

In the premiere episode of Intelligence Matters, former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell puts his analyst hat on for a wide-ranging conversation with former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. Morell succeeded Panetta as Acting Director of the Agency in 2011 when Panetta left to take on the role of Secretary of Defense under President Barack Obama. While the two men worked together, and both currently serve as Senior Counselors at Beacon Global Strategies – a geopolitical consulting firm based in Washington– the two have never had a conversation quite like this before. Morell talks to the Secretary about the spread of extremism, North Korea, and the importance of U.S. leadership in the world. They also get personal in this hour long chat – covering Panetta’s humble beginnings as the son of Italian immigrants, his inspired passion for public service, and candid advice for President Trump.

Examining Cyber Warfare with Alexander Klimburg

Military and intelligence professionals around the world view cyberspace and the internet differently. In the West, cyberspace is thought of as a facilitating agent, one that can be leveraged for espionage, disruption and sabotage. In more autocratic regimes, cyberspace is a mode of political control and influence of narratives, both domestically and abroad. To get deeper insight into the matter, the Cipher Brief’s cyber and technology analyst Levi Maxey spoke with Alexander Klimburg, Director of Cyber Policy and Resilience at the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies and author of a new book called The Darkening Web: The War for Cyberspace. Levi and Alexander discuss his work, the threats facing the West, and what the current conflict in cyberspace looks like.

Michael Leiter (Part 2): Aftermath of Osama bin Laden

On the 16th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, Leone Lakhani spends 15 minutes with Michael Leiter, who was Director of the National Counter Terrorism Center from 2007 to 2011. Mike worked closely on the hunt for Osama bin Laden, the Al Qaeda leader behind the 9/11 attacks. Here, he shares rare insight on the operation that killed bin Laden in May 2011.

Bob Work on Technology Innovation at the DOD Part II

15 Minutes is a weekly interview podcast with the biggest names in the global security space. In Part II of Suzanne Kelly’s interview with Bob Work, former Deputy Secretary of the Department of Defense, Suzanne digs deeper into the challenges Bob faced in ushering new technology into the Defense Department – as well as the relationship between the public and private sector – when it comes to innovation.

Bob Work on Technology Innovation at the DOD Part I

15 Minutes is a weekly interview podcast with the biggest names in the global security space. Artificial Intelligence, cyber warfare, C4I network grids: just a few of the things that Bob Work was keeping the Department of Defense updated and innovating on during his time as the Deputy Secretary of Defense. This week, The Cipher Brief brings you a special treat for the holiday week, two podcast interviews between Bob and CEO & Publisher Suzanne Kelly. In Part I, Bob and Suzanne discuss some of the biggest challenges he was facing in his position, most especially, convincing the culture of the Department to accept change.

Escobar to Cali: Tracking the World’s Most Notorious Traffickers with Javier Peña

15 Minutes is a weekly interview podcast with the biggest names in the global security space. This week Leone Lakhani spends 15 Minutes with Javier Peña, a former drug enforcement agent, who was instrumental in bringing down the notorious Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. Peña and his partner Steve Murphy – both depicted in the Netflix series Narcos – track the life and eventual demise of Escobar, as consultants on the show. Season 3 of Narcos enters a new chapter in the war on drugs, following the brutal Cali Cartel. While Peña didn’t consult on this season, he did track the Cali traffickers during his career. Here, he tells Leone about the show, his experiences, and what he learned from the hunt for Escobar.

Michael Leiter (Part 1): Countering Extremism in Today’s America

Much of the emphasis of fighting violent extremism in the U.S. is on the Islamist or Jihadist threat. But the attack in Charlottesville earlier in August, was a reminder that other elements, including right-wing extremist groups, are also at play. Have these types of groups been ignored? What are the challenges of counter-terrorism in today’s America? Leone Lakhani speaks to Michael Leiter, former Director of the National Counter Terrorism Center to find out. On the 16th Anniversary of 9/11, stay tuned for a special Part II of Michael Leiter's podcast, where he tells Leone about his part in the hunt for Bin Laden.