• 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 captures all the dimensions of his life: family man, zealot, battlefield commander, terrorist leader, and fugitive.     Join International Spy Museum Historian and Curator Andrew Hammond (https://www.spymuseum.org/host-an-event/spy-speaker-series/andrew-hammond/) in conversation with Bergen about the many contradictions he finds in bin Laden and why his legacy lives on despite his failure at achieving any of his strategic goals. Bergen, a Vice President at New America, is the author or editor of nine books, including three New York Times bestsellers and four Washington Post best nonfiction books of the year. He is a national security analyst for CNN and has testified before congressional committees 18 times about national security issues. Thanks to exclusive interviews with family members and associates, and documents unearthed only recently, Bergen has used the knowledge he has gained in the intervening years to discover who bin Laden really was and why he continues to inspire a new generation of jihadists.

  • 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 often overwhelming, whether you're in front of the President, or a vice president, or the asset that you're trying to debrief, or your colleagues…And the stakes often are life and death.”

  • 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 going to find al Qaeda, and we’re going to find an Osama bin Laden. I told him that I was so confident in that judgment that I would bet my children’s future on it.”

  • 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 Phil.    “… knowing that every day, you had to deliver relevant information to the nation's leaders, it is a feeling of enormous responsibility that all of the 1000s and 1000s and 1000s of intelligence officers who have done amazing work, you want to represent it faithfully.”     I just I didn't want to be alone. I didn't know what was going on. So I stayed at a friend's house, maybe a mile or two from my house just watching through the downing of the Towers. And at that point, I said, I'm going home. My only other memories are realizing I couldn't go to the White House. 

  • 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. Thereafter, she was Acting Deputy to the Ambassador to the Afghan Resistance (“mujahedeen”), a political officer in Islamabad, an analyst at the Counterterrorism Center (CTC), and received multiple awards including for her role in investigating the Boston Marathon bombing. She has a serious Afghanistan/Pakistan resume; Al Qaeda were on her radar from 1990; and, she oozes calm, measured, thoughtful analysis. Ladies & gentlemen: Diana Bolsinger.

  • 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 who, Executive Director of the National Cryptologic Museum (NCM) and former SpyCast host, Vince Houghton (Retd). Through the end of September 2021, you can see the NCM’s superstar artifacts here at SPY before they return to their home base at Fort Meade. Sssshhhhh, though…No Such Museum.

  • 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 leading expert on the history of cryptography, to discuss the cat-and-mouse game between code-makers and code-breakers across the ages from ancient cuneiform up to quantum cryptography.   Word to the wise: their book has been described by Sir Dermot Turing as “the best book on codebreaking I have ever read, a must for would be recruits to GCHQ and the NSA.”

  • 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 and Edward Snowden, to discuss these issues and more. Bart has a serious resume: The Atlantic, The Washington Post, LA Times Book Prize, Emmy Awards (yes, plural), another Pulitzer Prize (greedy!), but I think you get the general idea…this one might make you scream yourself to sleep, sleep like a baby, or not want to waken up, but it will definitely get you thinking. If it does – our work here is done.

  • 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 call: busy. Dave and Andrew talk the Silicon Valley of the East, state-affiliated hackers, organized crime and staying cyber-safe – because it’s a jungle out there, people.

  • 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 – yes, literally sat down, poor Hammond is actually getting to do what his predecessors did and do podcasts face-to-face – to discuss how he helps conduct the orchestra. Michael is fascinating all by his lonesome – he came to the job via the U.S. Army, CIA and the FBI – but add his story to that of the NCSC and the current counterintelligence landscape, and you have the makings of Beethoven’s Ninth.