The Poisoning of Sergei Skripal | Episode 94

Fred Burton, former deputy chief of counterterrorism at the Diplomatic Security Service and the author of GHOST: Confessions of a Counterterrorism Agent, Chasing Shadows: A Special Agent’s Lifelong Hunt to Bring a Cold War Assassin to Justice, and Under Fire: The Untold Story of the Attack in Benghazi joined me shortly after the attack on Sergei Skripal. Skripal. a former Russian double agent now living in the UK, was poisoned with a Russian novichok nerve agent developed during the Soviet era. We look at the many implications of this brazen attack, security issues surrounding it, and the need for a serious response.

Team Leadership & Ethics | Episode 93

In his 3+ years as Chief of the Analysis Bureau at New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Dean Baratta led a very capable team of intelligence analysts. Dean was a critical part of a small team that was widely recognized for its innovative approaches. Now, as he moves on to another project, he reflects on leadership, lessons learned, team building, and the challenge of public service.

You can follow NJOHSP on Twitter @NJOHSP and access their unclassified intelligence products at njhomelandsecurity.gov. Their podcast, Intelligence, Unclassified is available on iTunes and other platforms.

The Jerry Chun Shing Lee Case | Episode 92

William J. Tucker, a regular contributor on counterintelligence and security topics for Blogs of War and Covert Contact, returns for a look at the Jerry Chun Shing Lee case. Jerry Chun Shing Lee, a former CIA case officer, is suspected by many to have compromised CIA activities in China but has only been charged with the less serious crime of unlawful retention of national defense information.

Combatting Misinformation | Episode 90

Andrew Trabulsi (entrepreneur, consultant, and co-editor of Warlords, Inc.: Black Markets, Broken States, and the Rise of the Warlord Entrepreneur) joins me to discuss misinformation, the technology and platforms facilitating it, and the challenges faced in combatting it.

Evaluating the North Korean Threat | Episode 89

Phil Walter joins returns to the show to look at how the U.S. processes and evaluates the threat posed by North Korea. We try to separate the rhetoric and action to cut through the hype. We examine American concepts of security and risk and how emotional responses drive both. Is war with North Korea likely? Is it justified when weighing some of the worst possible outcomes?

Phil has served in the military, the intelligence community, and the inter-agency. He is also the found of Divergent Options. His written works are catalogued on Storify and archived at www.philwalter1058.com. I highly recommend them if you are at all interested in national security issues. You can follow him on Twitter @philwalter1058.

Protecting the British Royal Family | Episode 88

Protecting the British royal family is incredibly difficult. Fred Burton, former deputy chief of counterterrorism at the Diplomatic Security Service and the author of GHOST: Confessions of a Counterterrorism Agent, Chasing Shadows: A Special Agent’s Lifelong Hunt to Bring a Cold War Assassin to Justice, and Under Fire: The Untold Story of the Attack in Benghazi joins me to break down some of these security efforts and the challenges he faced on the job.

Beyond Bitcoin: Cryptocurrency Investing | Episode 87

Andrew Trabulsi (entrepreneur, consultant, and co-editor of Warlords, Inc.: Black Markets, Broken States, and the Rise of the Warlord Entrepreneur) joins me to discuss Cryptocurrency investing. We look at how blockchain and cryptocurrency models have evolved since the introduction of Bitcoin. For those new to the technologies and markets we share the easiest way to get started, important things to consider before you do (security, risk, etc), and how we evaluate cryptocurrencies and the organizations behind them. We haven’t covered everything you need to know in this episode but it’s a good place to start if you want to learn more about a fascinating, volatile, and transformational space.

Some of the projects and companies mentioned include Coinbase. Stellar, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, Bitcoin, and CoinMarketCap.

Bullets of Palestine | Episode 86

Author Howard Kaplan returns to Covert Contact to discuss Bullets of Palestine (the second novel in his Jerusalem Spy Series), chronic tensions in the Middle East, the prospect for reconciliation, Abu Nidal, and his approach to writing.

Longtime listeners will recognize Howard from episode 21 where we discussed the first novel in the series.

Terrorists and Technology | Episode 85

Levi West, Director of Terrorism Studies at Charles Sturt University in Canberra, returns to look at how terrorists leverage (or don’t leverage) emerging apps and platforms ranging from social media, to encryption, to cryptocurrencies. We do our best to cut through the hype and look at the very real limits and challenges terrorists face when they become early adopters or even sophisticated users of networks where states have a very real advantage.