Covert Contact

Covert Contact

Covert Contact covers the key national security, intelligence, and technology stories that are shaping our world. Covert Contact is hosted by Blogs of War creator John W. Little. His work and analysis has been featured on the BBC, CNN, CBC, ABC (Australia), PBS Newshour, Fast Company, CBS, and other international media outlets.... Show More

Episodes

August 7, 2020

Australian journalist Stilgherrian, who's been covering internet policy for more than a decade, and has been closely following Australia's cybersecurity and digital surveillance laws for global tech site ZDNet returns to Covert Contact to discuss Australia's recently released 2020 cyber security strategy.

 

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William Tucker returns for our regular Thursday evening counterintelligence chat. We start off by discussing the resource and coordination challenges in addressing Chinese espionage but quickly pivot to thoughts on Russian cases, honey traps, and the universally terrible outcomes experienced by American defectors and spies.

 

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A massive explosion has rocked Beirut at a critical time in Lebanon's history. In this quick take I share some concerns about what could happen next.

 

 

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Houston rarely finds itself at the center of geopolitical drama but that changed overnight as firefighters and police surrounded the Chinese consulate as staff there began burning massive amounts of documentation in the building's courtyard.

 

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Infosec professional and security blogger Scot Terban joins me to discuss the recent LinkedIn spying case, the degrading environment in social media, and strategies for improving your personal security so that you don't get targeted, compromised, and swept into your own (or someone else's) October surprise.

 

 

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William Tucker is back to discuss the scale of Chinese espionage in the United States and some of the misconceptions that have hampered our response to the threat.

 

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Dean Baratta returns for a discussion about the never-ending need to develop and refine intelligence products so that they meet customer needs, build customer trust, and land with the greatest possible impact.

 

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Pauline Shanks Kaurin, Ph.D joins Covert Contact to discuss ethical and moral dilemmas and how we can prepare ourselves for the eventual challenge of facing them. Her book, On Obedience: Contrasting Philosophies for the Military, Citizenry, and Community, explores these issues and presents strategies for anticipating and navigating even the most complex problems.

Pauline is a professor in the College of Leadership and Ethics, and ...

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Dean Baratta joins Covert Contact as we resume production after a nearly two year hiatus. We touch on some of the macro problems the world is facing with and where the show is heading from here.

You can follow Dean on Twitter at @TwShiloh.

 

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Fred Burton, former deputy chief of counterterrorism at the Diplomatic Security Service and the author of GHOST: Confessions of a Counterterrorism AgentChasing 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...

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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.

This episode also includ...

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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.

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In episode 91 security researcher and Stratfor Global Fellow Scot Terban (AKA Kryp3ia) joins me to discuss North Korea’s sophisticated exploitation of cryptocurrency.

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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.

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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?

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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 AgentChasing 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 Benghazijoins me to break down some of these security efforts and the challenges...

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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, r...

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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.

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Levi WestDirector 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...

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William J. Tucker, a regular contributor on counterintelligence and security topics for Blogs of War and Covert Contact, joins me for a deep dive on economic espionage. Organizations face far more risk from this threat than they realize, or want to realize, and most are no match for an interested foreign intelligence service. We discuss these threats, share some case studies, and look at what companies can do to better protect them...

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