State Secrets

State Secrets is a weekly interview podcast featuring Cipher Brief experts and national security leaders.

December 13th, 2021 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

Former CIA Officer and author James Lawler

In this episode Cipher Brief CEO & Publisher Suzanne Kelly talks with former CIA officer and author James Lawler about his new book Living Lies: A Novel of the Iranian Nuclear Weapons Program. Lawler spent more than half of his CIA career focused on WMD's and led the team that took down A.Q. Khan.

July 6th, 2021 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

A Conversation with Cipher Brief Expert Ambassador Joe Detrani

What do Americans need to know about Chinese President Xi Jinping's comments during China's Centennial celebration? Are we likely to see military conflict over Taiwan? What are the risks of a miscalculation in today’s extremely fast moving world and should the U.S. be doing more to ensure we have better insight into China’s intentions? For these questions and more we caught up with Ambassador Joe Detrani for an expert brief.

June 29th, 2021 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

A Conversation with Dan Hoffman

In this episode we talk with Cipher Brief Expert and former Senior CIA officer and Chief of Station Dan Hoffman about the Russia Problem. From cyberattacks to the Black Sea, Russian provocations have led to heightened tensions in the US but is it just business as usual for Moscow? Or are we seeing an increased willingness to provoke with a new administration in the White House? While working for the government, Dan racked up 30 years of distinguished government service including high-level positions not only within the CIA, but also with the U.S. military, U.S. Department of State, and U.S. Department of Commerce. His assignments included tours of duty in the former Soviet Union, Europe, and war zones in both the Middle East and South Asia.

May 24th, 2021 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

Broken Trust: Lessons from the Sunburst Cyber Espionage Campaign

We talk with the authors of a new report by the Atlantic Council's Cyber Statecraft Initiative that looks at one of the largest and most significant cyber espionage campaigns in US' history.

May 17th, 2021 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

Alma Katsu- Author of Spy Novel ‘Red Widow’

Suzanne talks with author and former intelligence officer Alma Katsu about her latest book, and her first spy novel 'Red Widow', a story about two female CIA officers working against a threat to CIA's Russia Division.

April 28th, 2021 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

Spymaster’s Prism: The Fight against Russian Aggression

In this episode with talk with former CIA Officer and Author Jack Devine about his new book 'Spymaster's Prism: The Fight Against Russian Aggression.

April 12th, 2021 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

Behind the Scenes of the Worldwide Threat Hearings

In this episode we welcome Cipher Brief Expert and former Acting Director, CIA John McLaughlin to the show to talk about what really goes on in the Worldwide Threat Briefings to Congress. The briefings are set to resume this week after a hiatus under the Trump Administration.

April 6th, 2021 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

The State of Play with Russia and Ukraine with General (Ret) Philip Breedlove

In this episode we catch up with General Breedlove to talk about the current state of play with Russia and Ukraine, some possible scenarios that could occur and what to watch for over the near term. We also talk China-Russia and the U.S. relationship with our NATO allies.

March 29th, 2021 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

A Cyber Conversation with Kelly Bissell, Global Managing Director Accenture Security

Kelly Bissell leads Accenture Security, where he oversees the full spectrum of security services including strategic consulting, cyber defense, digital identity, response and remediation services, and managed security services. He is a member of Accenture’s Global Management Committee.

March 22nd, 2021 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

Admiral James Stavridis

In this episode we speak with Former Supreme Allied Commander and Cipher Brief Expert Admiral (Ret) James Stavridis about his new book, co-written with Elliot Ackerman called '2034: A Novel of the Next World War'. 

March 7th, 2021 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

Mark Cooter & Alec Bierbauer- Co-authors of ‘Never Mind We’ll Do It Ourselves’

Cipher Brief CEO & Publisher Suzanne Kelly talks to Mark Cooter & Alec Bierbauer, authors of the new book 'Never Mind We'll Do It Ourselves: How a Team of Renegades Broke Rules, Shattered Barriers and Changed The Face Of Warfare Forever. The book tells the once highly classified story of the birth of the Predator program.

March 1st, 2021 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

William Evanina, Former Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center

Cipher Brief CEO & Publisher Suzanne Kelly talks with William Evanina, who recently stepped down from his post as Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, a post he held from 2014-2021. They discuss the most urgent counterintelligence and security threats facing the U.S. today.

February 1st, 2021 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

Paul Kolbe- Director of The Intelligence Project at Harvard University’s Belfer Center

Welcome to the State Secrets Podcast brought to you by The Cipher Brief.  The State Secrets Podcast takes you inside the world of Intelligence and national security through conversations with experts who have spent careers working the toughest issues.  Some of the experts in our network have led organizations like the CIA and the NSA - some have held senior positions in the White House - Many are four-star generals, and others have spent their careers undercover, quietly working the issues from the ground level in the shadows of the limelight. Our guest today is one of those people.  Paul Kolbe is the Director of The Intelligence Project at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, before that, he worked in the private sector as the head of BP’s global intelligence and analysis team, but before that, Paul served for 25 years in the Central Intelligence Agency as an operations officer serving in Russia, the Balkans, Indonesia, East Germany, Zimbabwe and Austria.

June 1st, 2020 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

Jared Maples- Director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness

New Jersey has a unique threat profile. It is one of the most densely populated states in the US. It’s also an international travel and transportation hub that sits across the Hudson River from Lower Manhattan and is home to significant financial services industry and critical infrastructure. With a range of threats and recent incidents that include domestic and international terrorism, homegrown violent extremism, cyberattacks, disinformation and now COVID-19, New Jersey is on the front lines of some of the most complicated and critical security challenges facing the US. It’s the mission of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (NJOHSP) to lead and coordinate New Jersey’s counterterrorism, cybersecurity, and preparedness. This week we’re excited to welcome Jared Maples, the Director of NJOHSP to the show. Jared is the Director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness. In this role he serves as the federally designated Homeland Security Advisor (HSA) to the Governor and is the Cabinet-level executive responsible for coordinating and leading New Jersey’s Counterterrorism, Cybersecurity, and Emergency Preparedness efforts. Prior to his current role, Jared spent over a decade at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in a variety of leadership roles and previously worked at the US Department of Defense in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. As a seasoned intelligence officer, his career focused on executive strategy development and execution, organizational and operational change management, emergency operations response, internal security investigations and personnel protection in high threat environments. Jared has traveled around the world on behalf of the US Government, including many deployments to areas of active hostilities.

May 21st, 2020 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

Peter Singer- Strategist at New America and Co-Author of New Book ‘Burn In’

In this edition of the State Secrets podcast, Cipher Brief CEO and publisher, Suzanne Kelly talks with author and strategist, Peter Singer, about his new book Burn-In and what it takes to imagine future threats.

May 11th, 2020 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

Richard Haass- President of the Council on Foreign Relations

In this episode Cipher Brief publisher & CEO Suzanne Kelly talks with Richard Haass. Richard is the President of the Council on Foreign Relations, and author of the new book ‘The World, A Brief Introduction’ . The book is a primer designed to help experts and non-experts better navigate a complex and rapidly changing world in which global literacy really matters.  Suzanne caught up with Richard to talk about why he wanted to write this book, what issues worry him the most on the world stage, and why now more than ever, global literacy is so important.

April 27th, 2020 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

Coronavirus and the Cartels

This week we’re joined by Cipher Brief Expert Mike Vigil.  Mike is the former Chief of International Operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration. Before his retirement, he was one of the most highly-decorated agents within the agency and was responsible for numerous multi-national operations, the largest involved 36 countries. He was also responsible for developing global intelligence sharing platforms. He is also the author of three books:  DEAL and Metal Coffins: The Blood Alliance Cartel and Narco Queen. And this interesting note, Vigil was made an honorary General by the government of Afghanistan and given the key to the city of Shanghai by China, all in appreciation for his efforts battling the drug trade. Cipher Brief COO Brad Christian caught up with Mike from his quarantine base in New Mexico, to talk about: How the COVID-19 crisis is affecting the cartels. How are the cartels seeking to expand their portfolio to ensure survival during a time when normal revenues and operations are at a near standstill?  What’s the state of play between law enforcement and the cartels in the interim coronavirus crisis period, and what’s going to happen when society starts to reopen? And who’s winning the technology race, the cartels or law enforcement?  The answer may surprise you.

March 26th, 2020 State Secrets
State Secrets Podcast

Natural Language Processing and National Security

This week we catch up with Brian Raymond, who is the Senior Director of the National Security Group at Primer, a machine intelligence company headquartered in San Francisco. Primer is one of our private sector partners at The Cipher Brief and is part of our daily open source collection team. They are involved in pushing the envelope of technology applied towards national security objectives that use machine learning and artificial intelligence. We caught up with Brian on a recent phone call to discuss a specific aspect of machine learning, known as natural language processing, and how it’s being used to enable missions across the national security community

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

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.