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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.