Steven Hall spent more than 30 years in the CIA, the bulk of them running and managing intelligence operations in Eurasia and Latin America. He has experience both in counterintelligence and counterterrorism and has overseen intelligence operations in the countries of the former Soviet Union. When he retired from the CIA in 2015, he did so as a member of the Senior Intelligence Service, a small cadre of officers who are the senior-most leaders of the CIA’s Clandestine Service.
Hall is also a Cipher Brief expert who was reading the president’s tweets about his Intelligence leaders after Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats delivered the IC’s annual threat assessment to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence last month. A clearly upset President took to Twitter after media reports highlighted differences between the IC’s assessment of threats, and recent statements made by the President. Without missing a beat, the President called his IC leaders ‘naïve’, and suggested they go ‘back to school’.
Two days later, the President followed a meeting with his top Intel team with another tweet, saying he had 'Just concluded a great meeting with my Intel team in the Oval Office who told me that what they said on Tuesday at the Senate Hearing was mischaracterized by the media - and we are very much in agreement on Iran, ISIS, North Korea, etc.'
Some intelligence insiders told The Cipher Brief that they believed the media had successfully baited the President, and that, as a result, he responded hastily and angrily to what he saw being reported. Others distinguished between reality and politics when it comes to the threats, saying that the real threats aren't always reflected in the President's political posturing.
The Cipher Brief spoke with Hall specifically about how he believes the President's insults 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.
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.
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.
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.
This week we are pleased to welcome John Carlin to the show.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cipher Brief CEO & Publisher Suzanne Kelly talks with former CIA and NSA Director General Michael Hayden about today’s biggest threats, foreign and domestic.
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
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.
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.
The Cipher Brief’s ‘State Secrets’ podcast sits down with the Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence Susan Gordon to talk intelligence and innovation.
As 2017 comes to an end, we review the relationship between the United States and one of its closest allies, the United Kingdom: how do they address the same security threats the U.S. faces? On this week’s episode of 15 Minutes, The Cipher Brief’s Bennett Seftel, spoke with Nick Fishwick who spent nearly 30 years in the British Foreign Service, and served as Director of Security, Director for Counter-Terrorism, and Director General of International Relations. Looking ahead to 2018, Fishwick offers insights on threats to soft targets, the UK-US relationship, and cyber threats in the new year.
Is Israeli-Palestinian peace achievable? It’s a staggering question, and one that The Cipher Brief explores in this episode of 15 Minutes. Executive Editor Kim Dozier recently spent some time with Amos Yadlin at a forum in Washington D.C. Yadlin is a former Israeli Air Force general, Israel Defense Forces military attaché to D.C., and was head of the IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate. Along with discussion around the two-state solution, the two examine neighboring threats to Israel, and the recent decision by President Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel.
As Former Deputy General of Mossad, Israel’s national intelligence agency, Ram Ben Barak is right on the pulse when it comes to Israeli security. And on this episode of 15 Minutes, he spoke on current Israeli security concerns and it’s partnership with U.S. intelligence channels with The Cipher Brief’s Executive Editor, Kim Dozier.
On December 6, President Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, ordering the State Department to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This move is seen by the international community as cementing Israeli soverignity over the holy city, and has drawn condemnation from leading figures around the world. On this episode of 15 Minutes, Cipher Brief executive editor Kim Dozier spoke with Farah Pandith to get some insight on the effects this move will have on Muslim communities in the region. Pandith was the first person to hold the position of Special Representative to Muslim Communities for the US State Department under Secretary Clinton, and had much to share.
The White House recently released a charter providing transparency into the Vulnerabilities Equities Process, known as the VEP. Around the conversation of how the U.S. government handles software vulnerabilities, The Cipher Brief asks, how are our allies handling the same issues?
On this episode of 15 Minutes, Cyber & Technology Analyst Levi Maxey speaks with Robert Hannigan, the former director of GCHQ, the United Kingdom’s counterpart of the NSA. Hannigan provided some insight on the practices applied in the U.K., and how it differs from the U.S.
This week, The Cipher Brief brings you a special best of episode of one of our most fascinating guests, John Nixon, the first CIA analyst to question Saddam Hussein. As we come upon the 11-year anniversary of Saddam’s death, we hear from Nixon about his time with the Iraqi leader, Nixon’s interrogation tactics, what he uncovered about the weapons of mass destruction, and his views on Saddam’s trial and execution.
Drone warfare, Russian cyber hacking, new advances in genomics: Peter Warren Singer not only researches and covers it all, but can tell you what’s going to happen next.
On the latest episode of 15 Minutes, The Cipher Brief’s Executive Editor Kim Dozier interviews the strategist and senior fellow at his offices in New America, where they discussed his work, who is winning the cyber war between the U.S. and Russia (hint: not the U.S.), and what the future might bring.
From Syria to Afghanistan, South Sudan and Myanmar, war and conflict across the globe have left some 65-million refugees and displaced people world-wide. How should the international community tackle this humanitarian crisis? To find out, Leone Lakhani spends 15 Minutes with David Miliband, President of the International Rescue Committee and author of Rescue: Refugees and The Political Crisis of Our Time.
In this episode of 15 Minutes, U.S. presidential candidate Evan McMullin talks about his decision to run on an independent platform in 2016 due to his belief that Donald Trump was unfit for office. In the aftermath of the election, McMullin and his running mate Mindy Finn, founded Stand Up Republic and have become a voice for a Republican community that has felt forgotten, or at odds with the current administration. In this extended wide-ranging discussion, McMullin tells The Cipher Brief Executive Editor Kimberly Dozier about how he made his teenage dreams of becoming a CIA operations officer a reality and how he ended up working on Capitol Hill.
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.