• 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 (https://www.nytimes.com/by/nicole-perlroth) cybersecurity reporter and author of This is How They Tell Me The World Ends (https://spymuseumstore.org/this-is-how-they-tell-me-the-world-ends-the-cyber-weapons-arms-race/) . In fact, on February 9 SpyCast listeners got the skinny before readers got their mitts on the book – which many of them did, it went on to be #1 on Amazon for National & International Security, #1 for Hacking and, well, you get the gist (DON’T buy it there, though, buy it here (https://spymuseumstore.org/this-is-how-they-tell-me-the-world-ends-the-cyber-weapons-arms-race/) ! Trust me, Jeff Bezos won’t lose any sleep over it). Andrew and Nicole talk Armageddon, Stuxnet, Jiu Jitsu, and Michelle Obama – you’ll need to listen to see the link to the former First Lady. Sit back, buckle up, and get ready to tailgate the future.

  • 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 Cold War’s end, but a new beginning. The residual fear felt by the former deep-cover KGB illegal soon dissipated and a new friendship was born over drinks. We ended up, “at a very small bar, looking out through a two-way mirror at all the people in the restaurant, what a great place for two old spies to be.” Hear Jack Barsky (https://bit.ly/3rOy0Re) (if you’ve ever watched The Americans he worked for the real-life “Directorate S”!) and former US Navy Counterintelligence Agent, Keith Mahoney (if you’ve ever seen NCIS, he was in its 1980’s equivalent) swap war stories. They grew up on either side of the Cold War divide, drank the ascribed kool-aid, lived parallel lives – and ended up best buds! Enjoy.

  • 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 (https://www.nytimes.com/by/nicole-perlroth) , award-winning cybersecurity and digital espionage reporter for the New York Times, as they descend into a cyber netherworld that will enlighten, challenge and quite possibly terrify you. Oh, I almost forgot, she is also the author of what has been called “quite possibly the most important book of the year,” This is How They Tell Me The World Ends (https://spymuseumstore.org/this-is-how-they-tell-me-the-world-ends-the-cyber-weapons-arms-race/) . Guess where you can hear all about it before talks at storied bookstores such as City Lights in San Francisco, Powell’s in Portland and McNally Jackson In NYC, or indeed conversations at UT Austin, UC Irvine or at the Center for the Study of the Presidency & Congress.  Yup, you’ve guessed it (we drop the podcast the day the book hits the shelves). Run your software updates, turn on two-factor authentication and cross your fingers: the future is gonna be wild.

  • 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.S. Air Force, Jude Sunderbruch (https://www.af.mil/About-Us/Biographies/Display/Article/1969469/jude-r-sunderbruch/) and Terry Phillips (https://www.af.mil/About-Us/Biographies/Display/Article/2438496/terry-w-phillips/) . They are colleagues, collaborators and close friends who have seen momentous changes in the operational environment since they first met back in the 90’s (are the 90’s “back in the day” already? What the hell happened? I’m getting old). Jude is currently Executive Director at their HQ in Quantico, Virginia. With regards to Terry, what could be more “special” than talking to a Special Agent from Special Investigations? Why, a Special Agent from Special Investigations who happens to be the Executive Director of Special Projects. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did. Muy interesante.

  • 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 with Futures Intelligence"). The Indo-Pacific is often overlooked, but it will be a key component of international security long after Brett and I have slipped the surly bonds of earth for the Great Gig in the Sky. The timing of our conversation was interesting, it was the official national holiday of Australia where Brett was (Australia Day, 26th Jan), and the unofficial national holiday of Scotland where I was (Burns Night, Jan 25th). Coincidence? Serendipity? Conspiracy? One for the intelligence analysts among us methinks.

  • 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 this land-locked West African country can be written on a business card, guess the official language?). The week of Martin Luther King Jr. Day seemed like an opportune moment to introduce Lauren Wilkinson (https://www.lauren-wilkinson.com/) to the SpyCast community: for a spy thriller written by a black female author, featuring a black female protagonist, set in an African country is a triple rarity for the genre. Join Andrew and Lauren as they talk about her debut novel, which managed to make it on to summer reading list of a former US president – to find out which one you will have to listen – and about some of her favourite spy novels. Her book is available from our online book store (https://spymuseumstore.org/american-spy/) . One reviewer said it is “like the best of John le Carré.” Need I really say more?

  • 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 intelligence implications. Long story short, I reached out to Diana Bolsinger (https://www.utep.edu/liberalarts/criminal-justice/people/diana-bolsinger.html) and Mark Stout (https://advanced.jhu.edu/directory/mark-stout/) and voila! welcome to a SpyCast Special. Diana’s background includes service in the National Counterterrorism Center, at the CIA and in the U.S. Department of State. Mark had an equally well-rounded career at INR, the CIA, and the Army Staff at the Pentagon. Both “formers” now teach and research intelligence and national security. Grab a brew, or something stronger, and mull this one over.

  • Chinese. Communist. Espionage. (Part 2 of 2)


    This is the second in our two-parter with Dr. Matthew Brazil (https://www.mattbrazil.net/) , 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 Firewall of China”? This might be the episode for you (but don’t forget Part 1!). Matt spent over twenty years working in East and South Asia. Even better, the book is based on an engagement with hundreds of Chinese language sources. Well, whatddayaknow? 谢谢

  • Pardon Me, Mr. President - From the Vault


    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 sat down with one of the nation’s top national security lawyers, Mark Zaid, for a legal perspective on the then recent Snowden case. Like a smoky 8 year old single malt, this one lingers on the palate (which depending on your taste may be a good or a bad thing). At the very least, we provide some context on today’s headlines in the run down to Hogmanay. Wishing you and yours all the best.

  • The Future of the Intelligence Community


    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 (https://www.rand.org/about/people/w/williams_heather_j.html) , and Zachery Tyson Brown, a strategic futurist and founder of Consilient Strategies (https://www.facebook.com/ConsilientStrat/) . With decades of experience at multiple agencies, multiple deployments overseas, advanced degrees from the National Intelligence University and a network of contacts that would do any Rolodex proud, they have oodles to offer. We talk the information revolution, generational change, institutional reform, a variety of -ologies and of course the pandemic and the incoming presidential administration. Basically, just the entire future of intelligence.