For decades, intelligence recruitment has been taking place at American universities. This isn’t only done by the FBI and CIA, but by geopolitical rivals such as China, Russia and Cuba, that recruit students and professors to gain access to sensitive research and gain insight into U.S. culture and policy. In turn, the U.S. enlists foreign students and teachers to spy on their home countries.
Although many may not be aware of this practice, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Dan Golden has spent decades researching it, and recently released a new book on the subject, “Spy Schools: How the CIA, FBI and Foreign Intelligence Secretly Exploit America’s Universities”.
On this episode of 15 Minutes, the Cipher Brief’s Mackenzie Weigner spoke with Dan about his book, some of the examples and cases of intelligence recruitment in American schools, how it started, and what schools aren’t doing to stop it.
There are many issues on the world stage, but on this episode of 15 Minutes, we focus on two of them: national security and economy.
Although not often associated with one another, economic and national security interests frequently align. How does the U.S. generate the funds to pay for military power? And in turn, how do wars and terrorist attacks affect a country’s economy?
Tyler Cowen, economic professor at George Mason University, spends 15 Minutes with The Cipher Brief’s International Economic Analyst Fritz Lodge to get to the bottom of some of the most pressing concerns, namely, has the U.S. lost its position of global economic leadership, and does it matter?
In September 1986, American Joseph Cicippio was abducted in Beirut by captors thought to be linked to Hezbollah. Held until his release in December 1991, Joe was moved to more than 20 locations and chained to another American hostage for four of those years. Here, he spends 15 Minutes with Leone Lakhani and describes how he coped, his views on U.S. hostage policy, and why he has no bitterness towards his captors, even after his ordeal.
At the young age of 33, Brett Velicovich has probably held more positions than someone could in a lifetime: Former US Army Intelligence, humanitarian, business owner, author and drone expert.
Brett recently released his book Drone Warrior: An Elite Soldier’s Inside Account of the Hunt for America’s Most Dangerous Enemies. And the title really does say it all, offering readers an inside view into the world of drone warfare, and the toll it takes on the people who control the UAVs.
In this episode of 15 Minutes, The Cipher Brief’s Bennett Seftel goes even deeper with Brett, examining the importance of the drone program in US military counterterrorism efforts, what drove his dedication, and the recent news of a man Brett spent most of his career hunting down: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Whether it’s the Equifax data breach, border security or Russian state-sponsored election hacking, identifying current and emerging technologies to secure public and private infrastructure is a critical priority for the U.S. government. The Cipher Brief’s Deputy Director of Analysis, Bennett Seftel spends 15 Minutes with U.S. Representative Will Hurd (R-TX) who talks about takeaways from his years working as a CIA operations officer and offers his thoughts on current issues: why a border wall with Mexico and the most expensive and least effective way to do border security, the North Korea crisis and the adversarial U.S.-Russia relationship.