Latest Podcasts

July 18th, 2019 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

Border Security Part 2

This is part 2 of our border security series. In this episode Cipher Brief COO Brad Christian catches back up with Mike Fisher, former Chief of the US Customs and Border Protection, to talk about recent developments with Mexico, the situation surrounding children in detention along the border, threats of deportations by the U.S. administration and what it will take to get the border crisis under control.

July 14th, 2019 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

Border Security Part 1

Border security is a complex issue. From conflict zones like Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, to geo-political hot spots like Israel and North Korea. International borders are often where military, law enforcement, crime, politics and policy collide. Rarely do countries have the ability to control their entire borders, leaving open the possibility of smuggling and illegal immigration. The United States is among the world’s countries facing a very challenging border security dynamic. Just in the last 12 months we’ve seen controversy surrounding the use of military troops to bolster border security, a crisis over children being separated from their families, heated political debates over budgets and walls, senior leadership in DHS seemingly at odds with White House policy, and intense diplomatic negotiations between the United States and Mexico. Against this backdrop is a worsening humanitarian crisis that is claiming more lives and exhausting resources. What we’re NOT talking much about in media conversations, is the increased security risk the U.S. is facing due to the crisis. Drug traffickers, human smugglers, and gang members are some of the groups exploiting the current situation. What does that really mean to overall U.S. national security? State Secrets spoke with two experts on the issue, to see if we could cut thru the rhetoric, politics and sound-bytes, to get to the root of what’s really going on. Michael J. Fisher is the former Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol and a member of the Senior Executive Service. He was responsible for planning, organizing, coordinating, and directing enforcement efforts designed to secure the Nation's borders. Chief Rowdy Adams retired in June 2011 as a career Senior Executive Service member in the DHS, CBP Office of Border Patrol after almost 30 years in law enforcement, specializing in border security operations, enforcement technology, strategic and tactical planning, and immigration issues. We caught up with Mike and Rowdy to talk about the complicated dynamics surrounding the southern U.S. Border in what became a two-part series that can also be found on The Cipher Brief.com.

July 14th, 2019 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

The Fifth Domain with Richard Clark

Richard Clarke has been on the cutting edge of terrorism and cyber issues for quite some time.  He served more than 30 years in government and was the first White House official tasked with taking charge of U.S. cybersecurity policy.  He’s written eight books, half fiction, half non-fiction and his latest book, ‘The Fifth Domain: Defending Our Country, Our Companies and Ourselves in the Age of Cyber Threats’ was written with Robert Knake, who served as director for cybersecurity policy at the White House from 2011-2015.  Today both men serve as cybersecurity consultants, advising corporations and investors on cyber-related issues.  

May 9th, 2019 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

JJ Green, National Security Correspondent, WTOP

If you’ve done any reporting on national security issues in Washington DC, you already know JJ Green. He’s been covering national security for the city’s most popular radio station for 15 years now. As you can imagine, he’s seen a lot of changes in that time. I sat down with JJ recently in Washington to talk about how national security reporting works, how reporters and correspondents gain access to news and policy makers and how a they navigate the sometimes tricky task of getting the story right, and getting the story first. The one thing JJ and I both agreed on – is the fact that the job is harder today than at any time in recent memory. Every administration comes in with ‘gatekeepers’ – they are the staffers who decide which reporters get access to decision makers and which do not. Which reporters get called in for background briefings, and which reporters get those exclusive one-on-one sit downs?

April 29th, 2019 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

Keith Urbahn, co-owner of the D.C. literary agency ‘Javelin’

It seems like everyone in Washington, DC wants to write a book these days, and more of them are, even if they aren't the big names you're used to hearing. There are stories to tell in this town, and there are sleuths who know how to go about telling them. Keith Urbahn is a co-owner of the literary agency Javelin, which started out getting book deals for smaller names with bigger stories, but when they signed James Comey for his book released in 2017, they knew things had changed. State Secrets sat down with Urban in his office, in Alexandria, VA.

March 6th, 2019 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

Christopher Krebs- Director of the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency

Christopher Krebs left his role as the Director of Cybersecurity Policy for Microsoft back in 2017 and went back to work for the government. He joined the Department of Homeland Security with a top priority to get anew Agency established- one that put a solid focus on government support for a private sector facing an onslaught of cyber threats. Krebs saw that dream become reality last November when the President signed the Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency Act- which officially elevated an existing component of the DHS to Agency status. We caught up with CISA's first Director and biggest advocate, Christopher Krebs to talk about what he hopes to do now that the Agency is established.

February 17th, 2019 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

Steve Hall- former member CIA’s Senior Intelligence Service

    The Cipher Brief spoke with Steve Hall about how he believes the President's negative comments towards the Intelligence Community are negatively impacting national security, and about what matters and what doesn’t, in an era where the Intelligence Community often finds itself in the crosshairs.

February 11th, 2019 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

China Expert Professor Graham Allison

A recent worldwide threat report delivered to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence by leaders of the Intelligence Community made clear that China is the largest national security threat to the United States. This week, State secrets talks to one of the world's most renowned experts on the U.S.- China relationship, Graham Allison. His 2017 book Destined for War: Can American and China Escape Thucydides' Trap? was a national and international best seller. Allison has just recently returned from China, where he spoke with Chinese officials about the State of Affairs with the U.S. We caught up with him when he was in his office at Harvard University, where he has taught for more than five decades.

January 31st, 2019 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

A Conversation with John Sipher

We spoke with Cipher Brief Expert John Sipher, to understand the impact of the President's comments towards the Intelligence Community leaders, following a firestorm of debate after the presentation of the worldwide threat assessment by the Intelligence Community leadership to Congress.

January 30th, 2019 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

Bonus Episode- General Hayden Introduces the 2018 Threat Report

This week we’re presenting a special bonus episode of the State Secrets podcast. Each year at the Cipher Brief’s Annual Threat Conference, we open the event with a presentation of our Annual Threat Report. In 2018 former Director of the CIA and NSA, General Michael Hayden presented the annual threat report. He began with an overview of the top global security threats. On that list were issues related to China, Russia, North Korea, Iran and Terrorism, as you would expect. But Hayden also adds a rich description of how the global world order, the one based significantly on the post WWII, American-led system is changing. That change, he argues represents a major concern for the entire world, in particular for U.S. allies, and represents very serious challenges to the United States.

January 6th, 2019
State Secrets Podcast

John Carlin- Former Assistant Attorney General for National Security

This week I’m pleased to welcome John Carlin. John was Chief of Staff and Senior Council to Bob Mueller when Mr. Mueller served as FBI Director. Carlin also worked as the National Coordinator for DOJ’s Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Program – better known as CHIP, and he has served as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. John currently chairs Morrison and Foerster’s Global Risk and Crisis Management practice and is co-head of the firm’s national security practice. John has written a book recently with author Garrett Graff, titled, ‘Dawn of the Code War: America’s Battle Against Russia, China and the Rising Global Cyber Threat.

December 17th, 2018 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

Former NSA Deputy Director Rick Ledgett

This week we're pleased to welcome former Deputy Director of the NSA, and Cipher Brief Expert Rick Ledgett to the show. Ledgett retired from the NSA as a senior civilian leader in April 2017, capping a career in government that included leading the NSA's Media Leaks Task Force from June 2013 to January 2014, just as the NSA was dealing with a particularly damaging leaker named Edward Snowden. Now in the private sector, Ledgett works with CEO's, CISO's and CSO's to help them better understand the cyber threat landscape and find better ways to build resilience as cyber threats continue to impact companies bottom line. We also spoke with him about educating all Americans on basic internet hygiene.

December 5th, 2018 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

The Cipher Brief’s State Secrets podcast with General David Petraeus

This week we are pleased to welcome General David Petraeus.  Cipher Brief CEO & Publisher Suzanne Kelly sat down with the General, as he was preparing for one of the many international trips he takes these days in his role as Partner with the global investment firm KKR. On a rainy afternoon in Washington, we spoke with General Petraeus about global security issues, public-private partnerships, innovation in government, U.S.-China relations, Saudi Arabia, Russia and America's leadership role in the future.

November 12th, 2018 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

The New York Times National Security Correspondent David Sanger

Cipher Brief CEO & Publisher Suzanne Kelly talks with David Sanger, The New York Times national security correspondent and author of The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage and Fear in the Cyber Age, about the current threat environment and what needs to be done to help people better understand how cyber threats impact them. Listen on iTunes.

November 5th, 2018 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

Former CIA and NSA Director General Michael Hayden

Cipher Brief CEO & Publisher Suzanne Kelly talks with former CIA and NSA Director General Michael Hayden about today’s biggest threats, foreign and domestic. Listen on iTunes.

October 29th, 2018 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

Former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff

Cipher Brief CEO & Publisher Suzanne Kelly talks with former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff about the new threats to the homeland as well as privacy threats, and what to do about Exploding Data…only in the State Secrets podcast from The Cipher Brief. Listen on iTunes.

October 22nd, 2018 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

(Ret.) General Stanley McChrystal

Cipher Brief CEO & Publisher Suzanne Kelly sits down with (Ret.) General Stanley McChrystal to talk about Jamal Khashoggi, Pakistan’s Incoming Intelligence Chief, and the Generals’ new book: Leaders: Myth and Reality…as well as whether the General himself would consider running for public office. Listen on iTunes.

October 15th, 2018 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center Bill Evanina

Cipher CEO & Publisher Suzanne Kelly sits down with the Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center Bill Evanina to discuss spies, strategies for catching them and how foreign agents are using social media to identify potential recruits. Listen on iTunes.

October 8th, 2018 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence Susan Gordon

The Cipher Brief’s ‘State Secrets’ podcast sits down with the Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence Susan Gordon to talk intelligence and innovation. Listen on iTunes.

January 30th, 2018 Intelligence Matters

Why Russia “Hacks” Elections: A Spy’s-Eye View

The U.S. is in the grips of spy-mania in the aftermath of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election that has made President Trump’s 2016 election campaign the focus of a federal investigation. But Russia’s active measures to infiltrate and influence the U.S. consciousness didn’t begin, nor end with the 2016 election. For years, John Sipher, a 28-year veteran of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, recruited Russian spies and led counter-intelligence operations against Moscow – and he’s here to talk about what’s behind Russia’s aggressive stance.

January 23rd, 2018 Intelligence Matters

The Tom Cotton You Don’t Know

Republican U.S. Senator and Army veteran Tom Cotton is often described as a hawkish conservative for taking a hardline stance on issues like immigration and the Iran nuclear deal. In this interview, Michael Morell steps away from policy and gets a sense of the Arkansas senator’s character, political philosophy and driving influences. Cotton talks about working as his father’s farm hand and learning about his dad’s service in Vietnam. He also discusses his time studying political science and political philosophy at Harvard, and how 9/11 “changed everything,” setting him on the course towards military service and then, the U.S. Senate.

January 16th, 2018 Intelligence Matters

“We the People”: On the Constitution’s Relevance Today

In this episode of Intelligence Matters, Michael Morell talks to constitutional scholar Geoff Stone on constitutional interpretation and its relevance in today’s society. Stone, who authored “Sex and the Constitution” explores oversight of government surveillance on communications and safeguarding a citizen’s personal freedoms. Stone also addresses originalism and affirmative action, what he calls the “most cynical form of judicial review we have today.”

January 11th, 2018 Intelligence Matters

A Family’s Fight to Reverse America’s Opioid Crisis

In this special episode of Intelligence Matters, Michael Morell speaks with retired U.S. Navy Admiral James “Sandy” Winnefeld about a non-traditional national security threat that has affected him personally: America’s opioid crisis. Winnefeld recently lost his own son Jonathan to opioid addiction, and he is dedicating his life to reversing a crisis he calls a national emergency. The statistics are staggering: the CDC reports that more than 64,000 Americans died in 2016 from a drug overdose – more than 20 times the number of Americans killed on 9/11. Winnefeld – former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – says if America is going to reverse this epidemic, “We need a call to arms” to remove the long-standing stigmas around drug use. He has founded SAFEproject.us (Stop the Addiction Fatality Epidemic) to support action that will prevent fatal opioid overdoses, and counter opioid addiction’s impact on our society.

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