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TOP SECRET Personal Attention, SpyCast Listeners Known to be the podcast real spies listen to -(STOP)- eavesdrop on conversations with high level sources from around the world -(STOP)- spychiefs molehunters defectors covert operators analysts cyberwarriors technologists debriefed by SPY Historian Hammond -(STOP)- stories secrets tradecraft and technology discussed -(STOP)- museum confirmed to have greatest collection of artifacts on the subject anywhere in the world -(STOP)- podcast rumored ...
 
We used to read and discuss Philip Pullman's phenomenal His Dark Materials series but now that we've completed that adventure, we're diving into genre entertainment and nerd cultural touchstones. Look for us on YouTube and pretty much anywhere else podcasts are available. Our first episode should drop soon! Please join us and listen!!
 
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As the 20th anniversary of 9/11 approached Peter Bergen sought to reevaluate the man responsible for precipitating America’s long wars with al-Qaeda and its descendants. Bergen produced the first television interview with bin Laden in 1997. He has had years to reflect on and study the man. In his new book The Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden he cap…
 
Dave Terry was with Vice President Cheney on the morning of 9/11. He started work as a PDB briefer the same day as Mike. He went on to be Chief of the PDB. He started out working on grain production at the CIA in 1979. He comes from Kansas. For the rest, it’s best if you hear Dave. “And I think for any intelligence officer, what you're doing is oft…
 
Mike Morell was with President Bush on the morning of 9/11. He saw the President several times that day. Ten years later he was with President Obama for the bin Laden raid. He was former Acting and Deputy Director of the CIA. He comes from Ohio. For the rest, it’s best if you hear Mike. “I believe that when we get to the end of the trail, we’re goi…
 
Kristin Wood was at CIA HQ on the morning of 9/11. Phil Mudd was at the National Security Council. Kristin was a PDB briefer for the VP’s National Security Advisor. Phil was Director for Gulf Affairs. They would go on to work counterterrorism together. Kristen has a Wheaton Terrier. Phil has a farm. For the rest, it’s best if you hear Kristin and P…
 
It was the 1980’s. “I don't think they'll ever have the fun I had that year, at 23 years old, going to the White House and the NSC, briefing cabinet members…I mean, you name it. It was just incredible!” Three years into her CIA career, Diana Bolsinger found herself on point as the sole person working on the Afghanistan account in her department. Th…
 
Turning the tide in the Pacific at the Battle of Midway, establishing secure communications on the beaches during D-Day, staving off nuclear Armageddon – what did cryptology ever have to do with anything, right? To discuss these big themes – and to celebrate our partnership on the exhibition “Codes, Ciphers and Mysteries” – we brought back you know…
 
Codes. Ciphers. Mysteries. This week’s guests are fascinated by codebreaking and cryptography: as well they should be! The Voynich Manuscript, the Dorabella Letter, The Beale Papers, the Zodiac Cipher, Kryptos – so much history, intrigue, and speculation. Andrew sat down with Elonka Dunin, code-breaker extraordinaire, and Klaus Schmeh, a world lead…
 
Is Edward Snowden a traitor a hero? Does the surveillance state threaten freedom or secure it? Andrew sat down with investigative reporter Barton Gellman, author of Dark Mirror: Edward Snowden and the American Surveillance State, and part of the team that won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for coverage of the National Security Agency an…
 
Have you ever felt like “cyber” is changing so quickly, it is difficult to keep up? This week’s guest has seen Cyber-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. How? He hosts no less than 10 podcasts per week on the topic! From the Cyberwire Daily to Hacking Humans, and from Career Notes to Recorded Future, Dave Bittner is what you might ca…
 
Counterintelligence. Security. Two words that have serious pull in Washington D.C. The problem is, how do you ensure the strings, woodwind, brass and percussion are all playing the same music? Welcome to the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC). Acting Director Michael Orlando was this week’s guest, where he sat down with Andrew …
 
"Deeply, deeply, disturbing." This is how Alma's Katsu's book, The Hunger, was described by Stephen King. Ok, I'll repeat that, that's how her book was described by Stephen King, author of Carrie, The Shining and Misery! The Hunger was based on the infamous Donner Party trip of the nineteenth century, but her most recent book, Red Widow, turns to i…
 
Last week’s episode focused on “Karen Schaefer, CIA Operator,” while this week’s episode looks at her time as a “Serial Collaborator.” Karen specialized in making sure the heart, brain, left hand and right hand had a better idea of what each was up to and were functioning in unison – whether as Director of Intelligence Programs at the National Secu…
 
From counternarcotics to counterterrorism, from Latin America to the Middle East, and from the back streets of a warzone to the center of events in Washington DC – Karen Schaefer has had, how should we say, an “eventful” career as an intelligence officer. Charming, smart, thoughtful, and you haven’t even met Karen yet…but seriously, it was a pleasu…
 
Cheesesteaks. Baseball. Rocky. Espionage? Hear about the Philly you never knew – as the birthplace of American espionage. From the Committee on Spies during the Revolution (now there is one committee, that actually sounds like it would be good to be on!) to Allen Pinkerton and Kate Warren during the Civil War, up through the A-bomb, a former Direct…
 
Spy satellites are fascinating! Man-made objects up there – sometimes way up there – looking down to see what other humans are up to. I believe it’s called a God’s eye view. You may not be as unfamiliar with satellites as you think: for starters, you’re on one! The earth is a satellite of the sun, the moon is a satellite of the earth, you are a sat…
 
A superstar line-up chooses an African American spy from American history. Harriet Tubman, Ralph Bunche and Willie Merkerson Jr. are introduced, before we have a discussion about African Americans and the American experience. Our guests are Mel Gamble, a former CIA Chief of the Africa Division and Senior Intelligence officer; Reuben E. Brigety II, …
 
Barry Broman spent most of his life in South-east Asia as a photographer, an infantry officer, and as a “diplomat” (although not really!). It is not that he wasn’t a diplomat - it’s just that he did something else too…like recruit over 40 agents, escape the genocidal Khmer Rouge, supervise covert paramilitary operations, and bring in gargantuan qua…
 
What do Afghan Mujahedeen, the KGB, Pablo Escobar, Iran-Contra, and Chilean Elections have in common? Two words: Jack Devine. This CIA legend is the Forrest Gump of the intelligence world, in that he always finds himself at the center of events. Jack reflects on his remarkable career and hones in on Russian aggression and Vladimir Putin, the subjec…
 
Rob Montgomery had a real scare on deployment in Afghanistan…the scare was back in Virginia though; he had a motion detect on his phone that showed multiple unidentified males outside his home in a sleepy college town - while his wife and children were asleep inside. You’ll need to listen to hear the rest of the story, but it did prompt Rob to thin…
 
Hear an incredible true story. Marthe Cohn was a young Jewish woman who went behind enemy lines into Nazi Germany with a pair of walking shoes, a cover story, and about half a ton of chutzpah. 101-year-old Marthe spoke to Andrew over the phone from her home in Los Angeles.Av SpyCast
 
In a first for the show, this week’s guest is a former spy chief from the world’s largest democracy. Vikram Sood was the Director of India's Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW). Andrew and Vikram talk Pakistan, China, the United States, human capital, intelligence reform and the power of narratives: because spies can be sensitive souls too.…
 
Where to begin. Marty was described to me as, “the greatest analyst we ever had (truthfully),” would I be interested in speaking to him? Guess the answer!? The result, a SpyCast with a CIA analytic legend. For 40 years Marty analyzed intelligence for US foreign policymakers, trained a whole generation of analysts, and mentored figures who would go …
 
This week’s guest is Frank Figliuzzi, former assistant director of Counterintelligence at the FBI, who oversaw all espionage investigations across the US govt. He served for 25 years as a Special Agent, which included countering economic espionage in Silicon Valley, being appointed the FBI’s Chief Inspector, and heading up the Cleveland Division. H…
 
Infosec. Cybersec. Techsec. In the second part of our double-header on the US Air Force Office of Special Investigations, we round out our previous discussion with two former Directors of Counterintelligence for the US Air Force, Jude Sunderbruch and Terry Phillips. Their world-wide remit includes cybersecurity, information security, technology pro…
 
Andrew and Director Dominic Cooke sit down to talk about his new movie The Courier (2021), starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel Brosnahan and Merab Ninidze, which tells the story of Greville Wynne and Oleg Penkovsky. A Cold War spy thriller based on true events where humanity was precariously perched on a wire.…
 
If you think that all the best spy stories happened during the Cold War – we have a doozy for you. In 2008 FSB officer Alexy Yurievich Artmonov was presented with three choices: (1) put a bullet in his own head, (2) wait for someone else to do it, (3) run. Which would you choose? Alexy chose (3). In fact, this story has all the makings of Cold War …
 
Continuing our journey through SpyCast’s greatest hits enroute to our relaunch, we arrive on a topic of perennial interest and great importance: intelligence and the US presidency. Just how is information from the intelligence community (IC) conveyed to the president? How have different administrations incorporated intelligence into the political d…
 
Josh Campbell lit his cigar and extinguished the match. It was Inauguration Day 2017, and he was on the roof of his Washington D.C. apartment building. As the outgoing Obama’s made their way overhead on a helicopter, he turned to his father who had flown up from Texas for the event and remarked, “I hope Trump is good for the FBI.” Josh Campbell, fo…
 
As we continue ramping up for SpyCast 2.0, featuring a content overhaul and improved audio, we release a real gem on a perennial favorite of the SpyCast community. You literally couldn’t make this one up, it has everything you’d expect to see at Shakespeare’s Globe – betrayal, suspicion, ambition, political machinations, royal intrigue and flabberg…
 
As we gear up for an exciting new Spring program – which will feature a number of changes including a content overhaul and improved audio – we are releasing some of our greatest hits from the vault. Back in 2007 Dame Stella Rimington, former Director-General of MI5, spoke about British intelligence past and present and compared British and American…
 
ONE OF THE GREAT SPY STORIES OF MODERN TIMES Palestinian & Israeli. Agent & Handler. Mosab & Gonen. One became involved with Hamas almost as a birthright, his father, after all, was a founder and its spiritual leader; the other was inspired to join Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, and h…
 
Former FBI Special Agent Dennis Franks is nothing if not interesting. He has faced off against the Columbian Cali Cartel – yes, the Cali Cartel from Season 3 of Narcos – the Mexican Gulf Cartel, MS-13, Sicilian Mafioso’s, and all manner of gangbanger, gangster and narcotraficante. He has been a firearms instructor, on an Enhanced SWAT Team, and ran…
 
Nicole Perloth descended into the cyber netherworld and emerged to share her wisdom. This is the second of a double-header with the New York Times cybersecurity reporter and author of This is How They Tell Me The World Ends. In fact, on February 9 SpyCast listeners got the skinny before readers got their mitts on the book – which many of them did, …
 
The door to the walk-in cooler slammed shut behind Jack Barsky. This is it, he thought, this is how it all ends – in a restaurant in the Deep South at the hands of a crazy Irish-American eight inches shorter than me. “He said he was taking me through a secret passage to a speakeasy.” But it was not the end that day in Atlanta, 30 years after the Co…
 
Have you seen that episode of The Crown where an intruder gets in one of the most heavily guarded buildings in the world via an unlocked window? Welcome to its cyber equivalent: “zero-days.” Join Andrew and Nicole Perloth, award-winning cybersecurity and digital espionage reporter for the New York Times, as they descend into a cyber netherworld tha…
 
Counterintelligence. Counterespionage. Criminal Investigations. The Office of Special Investigations (OSI) have a fascinating remit around the world and across the country – one that also includes cyber, infosec and technology protection. What better way to break all of this down than to chat to TWO former Directors of Counterintelligence for the U…
 
What better way to start developing an Antipodean flavor to SpyCast than to release an episode with Brett Peppler. Aussie Army. Spec Ops. Deputy Director Military Intelligence. AIPIO President. Professor. He’s been around the block, thought about the block, and anticipated what the block might do next (he said he is, "desperately, madly in love wit…
 
Marie Mitchell is an FBI agent sent by the CIA to spy on the “African Che Guevara,” leftist president of Burkina Faso, Thomas Sankara. Inspired by real events, he became president in 1983 at the age of 33, this week’s guest takes what is best about the spy fiction genre and gives it her own unique je ne sais quoi (if most of what you know about thi…
 
From Wikipedia: As Lyra, Will, and the witches continue travelling, Serafina sends two witches ahead as scouts. Elsewhere, Ruta Skadi overhears creatures called cliff-ghasts discussing a coming war that Asriel cannot win without Æsahættr. In Cittàgazze, Mrs Coulter captures and then tortures a scout witch with a spectre to reveal Lyra's location an…
 
January 6, 2021. What to say. Former president George W. Bush, 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell all used the term “insurrection.” As these momentous events unfolded – I watched it on TV although I can literally see the US Capitol from my rooftop – I was constantly thinking about the intell…
 
This is the second in our two-parter with Dr. Matthew Brazil, a historian of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) intelligence operations. Andrew and Matt discuss everything from recruitment, ideology, and foreign tourism, to modern history and contemporary politics – all the biggies really. Ever wondered about the “century of humiliation” or the “Great F…
 
"Malice" - From Wikipedia The witches see angels flying overhead. Ruta Skadi believes they are joining Asriel in a coming war. She follows, wanting to find Asriel to help them destroy the Magisterium. Fra Pavel informs Cardinal MacPhail that that the alethiometer shows Mrs Coulter is searching for Lyra, who plays a part in a disastrous prophecy. Pa…
 
Edward Snowden is back in the news. I know what you are thinking: shocker! As we move into the new year from the annus horribilis that was 2020, however, one of the main intelligence stories is will Snowden receive a presidential pardon. Come to think of it, does he even deserve one? Back in what now seems like the mists of time, 2013, Mark Stout s…
 
"The Scholar" (from Wikipedia) Cardinal MacPhail claims the witches' deadly airship attack is a sign that the Authority is punishing the Magisterium for lacking devotion. McPhail then falsely accuses Father Graves, his former rival for the cardinalate, of losing faith and has him arrested. He instructs his alethiometrist, Fra Pavel, to learn Mrs Co…
 
Nothing makes me happier than a conversation with whip smart people on the past, present or future of intelligence: enter Heather Williams, a senior policy researcher at RAND, and Zachery Tyson Brown, a strategic futurist and founder of Consilient Strategies. With decades of experience at multiple agencies, multiple deployments overseas, advanced d…
 
Episode Synopsis pulled from Wikipedia: Will visits his mother while Lyra heads to Oxford where she encounters Charles Latrom (Lord Boreal). The alethiometer guides Lyra to Mary Malone, a physicist researching Dark Matter (Dust). Lyra shows Mary the alethiometer, and Mary demonstrates her research that similarly allows computer communication with D…
 
Bet you are wondering which adversary caused him the most sleepless nights, right? From the Red Army to New Jersey street gangs, from terrorists to the Taliban – Dean Barrata has analyzed them all. During a 30+ year career in intelligence, Dean has been everywhere from West Germany to Afghanistan, from the Pennsylvania National Guard to a New Jerse…
 
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