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State Secrets

State Secrets is a weekly interview podcast featuring Cipher Brief experts and national security leaders.
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Now displaying: Category: State Secrets
Feb 19, 2024

Former Director of CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence (and Cipher Brief Expert) Andrew Boyd talks to State Secrets about the dynamic relationship between villains, victims and vendors operating in cyberspace. The CIA, he says, has been paying close attention to cyberspace “since the dawn of IP”, so what lessons can he share about how spies, thieves and nation states are using the domain to find and exploit victims and how the private sector and government are partnering to track them down.

Feb 11, 2024

Recent U.S strikes against Iranian proxy groups in Syria and Iraq may be just the beginning of a multi-tier response by the U.S. after the killing of three service members in Jordan last month and it’s raising questions about just how far the U.S. should go in limiting Iran’s ability to use these groups to launch attacks against Americans. Former CIA Deputy Assistant Director of the Near East Mission Center and former Chief of Analysis in the Iran Mission Center Andy Dunn talks to State Secrets about what it will take to deter Iran.

Feb 4, 2024

Former CIA officer Marc Polymeropoulos recently wrote an article exploring the intriguing dynamics of Gen Z in the CIA workplace, sparking a controversial debate. While research suggests Gen Z may display slower independence behaviors and cause tension with older workers in professional environments, they're redefining things like work-life balance and what it takes to succeed in the workplace. We wanted to hear more from Marc about why he felt compelled to take up this issue and what he learned.

Jan 30, 2024

Former NSA Chief of Innovation Kevin Keaton left his government job last year – before the age of retirement - to accept a role as a founding partner at a venture capital firm.  Today, he’s focused on closing a gap between government and the private sector that he believes is a serious issue when it comes to U.S. national security.  In his first podcast interview since leaving government, State Secrets sat down with Keaton to talk about what he sees as the ‘innovation gap’, China is exploiting it, and how he’s now working from the private sector, to try and close it.

Jan 21, 2024

Alan Kohler spent 27 years at the FBI, where his priority for decades, was hunting down spies who were operating in the United States.  As Assistant Director of the Bureau’s Counterintelligence Division, Kohler had a hand in nearly every espionage operation the Bureau conducted.  He also served as Acting Executive Assistant Director of the National Security Branch and was Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office’s Counterintelligence Division before he retired last year and joined The Cipher Brief’s Expert Network.  He is also President of Pamir Consulting. State Secrets sat down with Kohler to uncover some of the highlights of the cases he was involved in that made national and global headlines. 

In his first podcast interview, we also talked about why espionage and elections are still very top-of-mind for him – particularly when it comes to Russia and China.

 

Jan 14, 2024

In his first-ever podcast interview, former 6-time CIA Chief of Station and 35-year CIA veteran Ralph Goff talks with Cipher Brief CEO & Publisher Suzanne Kelly about what’s happening now in the Middle East and the likelihood that the war will continue to spread beyond Gaza, Lebanon and the Red Sea.  Goff also talks candidly about his career, which spanned the globe, from the Middle East to Europe to Central and South Asia and included postings in multiple war zones.  

 

Nov 3, 2023

In this episode Cipher Brief COO Brad Christian talks with former CIA officer and Cipher Brief Expert Marc Polymeropoulos.  Marc served 26 years in the CIA before retiring from the Senior Intelligence Service in June 2019.  His positions included field and headquarters operational assignments covering the Middle East, Europe, Eurasia and CounterTerrorism.  Marc joined Brad to discuss what’s happening in the war between Israel and Hamas.  What are the signs to watch for that the conflict could escalate?  What are the regional implications for the war, and the real risks that the recent improvement in diplomatic ties between Israel and its middle east neighbors could be in jeopardy?  What contributed to the intelligence failure, by many countries, to see the impending Hamas attack and finally, what is Russia’s role in the conflict and how might that impact both the future Russia/Israeli relationship, and the Israeli/Ukrainian relationship?  Marc shares his very unique perspective on these and other issues. 

Sep 30, 2023

Welcome to a special episode of the State Secrets podcast. Cipher Brief CEO & Publisher Suzanne Kelly recently welcomed the Director of CIA’s Open Source Enterprise Randy Nixon, to the virtual studio for a special briefing to talk how CIA uses OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) in its daily analytic tradecraft. He also talked about  a new tool CIA just launched to help IC analysts better navigate the vast amounts of open source information flowing in each day. Listen in to the briefing, which drew fascinating questions from former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence The Hon. Susan Gordon, former Deputy Director of Analysis for CIA, Linda Weissgold, and chief product officer at Janes, Ben Conklin. 

Aug 4, 2023

Cyber Initiatives Group (CIG) Principal and former Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Cyber, Risk, Resilience and Infrastructure Matt Hayden sits down with CISA’s Executive Director Brandon Wales to dig in on just how the government will implement the new National Cybersecurity Strategy and what it means for business.

Jul 10, 2023

Earlier this month, the National Counterintelligence & Security Center - better known in the Intelligence world as the NCSC – along with the FBI - issued a joint bulletin warning stakeholders in US companies, journalists, academics and researchers who work in China about how an updated counterespionage law passed in Beijing that could put employees of US companies at risk because of the broad definitions of what it means to spy.  Closer to home, the NCSC issued another public warning about foreign regimes who are actively recruiting people inside the US to help them locate and target dissidents on US soil and the people they are hiring may surprise you.  Listen to the State Secrets conversation with Acting Deputy Director Mirriam-Grace MacIntyre wherever you subscribe and listen to podcasts.

Jun 26, 2023

In this episode of the State Secrets Podcast Brad speaks with Cipher Brief Expert Ambassador Joe Detrani. Ambassador Joseph DeTrani is the former Special envoy for Six Party Talks with North Korea, as well as former CIA director of East Asia Operations. He also served as the Associate Director of National Intelligence and Mission Manager for North Korea and the Director of the National Counter Proliferation Center, while also serving as a Special Adviser to the Director of National Intelligence. Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrapped up a trip to Beijing, the first in 5 years for a Secretary of State, and while reactions to the trip were muted, the visit seemed to represent a small step forward in restoring dialogue between Washington and Beijing. Ambassador DeTrani is who we turn to for a level set perspective on what’s happening in Asia and how we should be thinking about the US-China relationship.  Here’s our conversation.

Jun 19, 2023

A new memoir by former Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Dr. Michael G. Vickers offers incredible insights into some of the most consequential intelligence and special operations missions of our time. From the killing of Osama bin Laden to his efforts to try and stop Iran from getting a bomb, to forcing Russia out of Afghanistan, the former Green Beret turned Intelligence leader shares lessons learned with State Secrets co-hosts Suzanne Kelly and Brad Christian. 

Jun 12, 2023

We’re letting a secret out of the bag this week.  The Cipher Brief traveled to Kyiv to host The Kyiv Economic & Security Forum on the eve of Ukraine’s counteroffensive. Cipher Brief CEO Suzanne Kelly, COO Brad Christian and a group of national security professionals traveled in and out of the country with Cipher Brief Expert Gen. David Petraeus (Ret.) who – as former director of CIA and former head of five combat commands has a unique perspective on the counteroffensive. Today, he’s a partner at KKR, where he also chairs the firm’s global institute. That means that his perspective on this war – and the aftermath is incredibly unique.  He not only is looking at the immediate combat strategy – but also at the aftermath and the ability for Ukraine to attract global investors to help it rebuild.

May 18, 2023

One man knows better than most, just what cyber tactics Russia has been using to attack Ukraine – not just since the full invasion in February of 2022 – but since the war began in Crimea in 2014.  Since then, Ukraine has served as an unwitting testing ground for Russian cyber aggression with an impact that has often spread well beyond the country’s borders.  State Secrets host Suzanne Kelly sat down in Kyiv with the head of Ukraine’s Department of Cyber and Information Security at the Security Service of Ukraine to dig in on Illia Vitiuk’s frontline perspective on what he calls the first cyber war in history.

May 12, 2023

Cipher Brief CEO & Publisher Suzanne Kelly interviews the former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen Robert Ashley to discuss Ukraine, Russia, China, and the impact of technology on todays complicated world. Listen in on what Gen. Bob Ashley has to say about the private sector’s mission in today’s security landscape. 

Apr 24, 2023

State Secrets Host Suzanne Kelly is joined by co-host Brad Christian in this conversation with Lt. General Michael Groen (Ret.) on the basics of AI and how it’s impacting U.S. National Security. 

Mar 29, 2023

In this week’s State Secrets, host Suzanne Kelly talks with Dr. Trent Maul. Dr. Maul was appointed to Director of Analysis for the Defense Intelligence Agency in May 2021. Dr. Maul discusses the Defense Intelligence Agency’s global outlook on the Russia-Ukraine war and the possibility of Russia trying to expand its influence in the region to other neighboring countries.

Mar 16, 2023

Ambassador Joe DeTrani has spent much of his career centered on China. He is not only a former Special Envoy for Six Party Talks with North Korea, he is also a former director of East Asia Operations at the CIA. In this episode, Cipher Brief COO Brad Christian sits down with Ambassador DeTrani to discuss senior leadership changes in Beijing and a potential phone call between Xi and US President Joe Biden.

Mar 10, 2023

Former Senior CIA Officer and Cipher Brief Expert Marc Polymeropoulos was in Moscow in late 2017, when he woke up in his hotel room with a blinding headache.  It was the beginning of a 5-year journey that landed him in Walter Reed’s Traumatic Brain Injury Program.  What happened?  Marc believes he was the victim of a targeted microwave weapon attack – something that’s become known as Havana Syndrome, after US government employees working at the Embassy in Cuba reported similar debilitating symptoms.  Now, the Intelligence Community has issued its latest assessment on Havana Syndrome, which it refers to as Analogous Health Incidents and Polymeropoulos says the report leaves a lot to be desired.

Mar 1, 2023

In this episode of State Secrets, Suzanne Kelly talks about the ways in which the war in Ukraine is changing the world with author Rajan Menon. Menon, a nonresident scholar in the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, is co-author of the book, Conflict in Ukraine: The Unwinding of the Post-Cold War Order. Menon, like Kelly, recently returned from Ukraine and shares his first-hand impressions about what’s happening there and how this war is changing the world.

Feb 21, 2023

State Secrets host Suzanne Kelly and guest co-host Brad Christian talk with the former NATO Allied Supreme Commander (and former F-16 pilot) about what comes next in Ukraine and what is actually needed in order to win.

Feb 10, 2023

In this week’s State Secrets Podcast, Host Suzanne Kelly talks with The Hon. Susan M. Gordon, a career Intelligence Officer, former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence and current member of the Defense Innovation Board, about Balloons, China, Ukraine, Russia and the new world order as well as the role that AI plays in all of it.

Feb 2, 2023

In this week’s State Secrets, host Suzanne Kelly talks with former Deputy Director of National Intelligence and Presidential Briefer, Beth Sanner about the discovery of classified documents in the homes and offices of former and current political leaders. Beth shares first-hand accounts from her time serving as former President Donald Trump’s briefer and helps pull back the curtain on where the gaps are in securing classified information.

Jan 26, 2023

In one of his very first public interviews as NATO Assistant Secretary General for Intelligence and Security, David Cattler sits down with State Secrets host Suzanne Kelly to talk about  one of the most trying times in the alliance’s 74 year history. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is re-shaping the alliance, and fueling expansion as NATO keeps a close eye on China’s global rise.

 

Dec 20, 2022

This week, I’m talking with RAND CEO Dr. Jason Matheny about a host of threats to US national security – how technology is playing a role and why people call him an ‘apocaloptimist’. 

Dr. Matheny has been fascinated with existential threats to the human race from the get go and penned a 2007 paper on how to reduce the risk of human extinction.  If that isn’t worth reading – I don’t’ know what is.

Matheny brought that kind of curiosity and insight to the Intelligence Community in 2009 as the Director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity – that’s the research arm of the Intelligence Community that invests in fascinating research projects.  He’s also served on the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence and was the founder of the Center for Emerging Technology at Georgetown University.

He left that role to become the Coordinator for Technology and National Security at the National Security Council – and at the same time – served as Deputy Director for National Security at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Matheny became the CEO of the RAND Corporation this past summer.  Needless to say, I learn a lot every time I talk with Dr. Matheny.  So let’s get started.

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