AFIO Podcast

AFIO Podcast

The Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) is a non-profit, non-political, educational association for current and former intelligence professionals and supporters of the US Intelligence Community. Part of our mission is to foster an understanding of the important role of intelligence in national security and to nurture student interest in careers across the many US intelligence agencies. To this end, the channel features podcast versions of our AFIO Now episodes - a series of recorded interviews and presentations that features experts, historians, and officers from across the US Intelligence Community who have fascinating stories to tell.

Episodes

May 23, 2022 23 min

In this episode, Melvin Gamble, a 40-year career CIA Senior Intelligence Officer, discusses Havana Syndrome - the mysterious set of symptoms experienced by a number US government employees overseas. Mr. Gamble also explains the need - and benefits - of diversity in the intelligence community. Recorded 15 Feb 2022. Interviewer: Jim Hughes, AFIO President and former CIA Operations Officer. 

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In this episode, senior National Security Reporter for The Washington Post Shane Harris discusses his extensive reporting on the Ukraine-Russia War and the unusual role the US Intelligence Community is playing in the current conflict. He also reveals how reporters are selected for posting overseas in dangerous war zones, the training they receive, and the career steps he took on the path to becoming a nationally-recognized and awar...

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April 25, 2022 23 min

In this episode, prize-winning investigative journalist Margaret Coker discusses her book "The Spymaster of Baghdad: A True Story of Bravery, Family, and Patriotism in the Battle against ISIS." It tells the dramatic yet intimate account of how a covert Iraqi intelligence unit called “the Falcons” came together against all odds to defeat ISIS. Recorded 9 Feb 2022. Interviewer: Jim Hughes, AFIO President and former CIA Operat...

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April 11, 2022 47 min

In this episode, Mike Howard discusses his leadership journey, first as a police officer in Oakland, CA, then as an operations officer with the CIA, and finally as chief of security for the Microsoft Corporation and Bill Gates. He highlights the elements required to develop a successful leadership style and his book, "The Art of Ronin Leadership." Recorded 3 Feb 2022.  Interviewer: Ralph Mariani, former CIA Operations Offic...

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March 28, 2022 23 min

In this episode, James Lawler discusses his book "Living Lies: A Novel of the Iranian Nuclear Weapons Program."  Lawler, a former CIA operations officer who spent most of his career focused on counterproliferation, weaves a story about espionage, human frailty, and loyalty within the backdrop of Iran's nuclear weapons program. Recorded 26 Jan 2022. Interviewer: Jim Hughes, AFIO President and former CIA Operations Office...

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March 15, 2022 35 min

In this episode, Doug Ollivant, Senior National Security Studies Fellow at New America, discusses the war in Iraq from his perspective first as an Army officer serving in-country and then as Director for Iraq on the National Security Council under the Bush and Obama administrations. Recorded 13 Jan 2022. Interviewer: Jim Hughes, AFIO President and former CIA Operations Officer. 

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February 28, 2022 18 min

Bryan Denson, author of the 2015 book "The Spy's Son: The True Story of the Highest-Ranking CIA Officer Ever Convicted of Espionage and the Son He Trained to Spy for Russia" tells the riveting story of the Nicholsons—father and son co-conspirators who deceived their country by selling national secrets to Russia. Recorded 10 Jan 2022. Interviewer: Jim Hughes, AFIO President and former CIA Operations Officer. 

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February 7, 2022 41 min

In this episode, journalist and author Toby Harnden discusses his book "First Casualty," the true story of the secret mission of CIA’s Team Alpha, the first Americans to be dropped behind enemy lines in Afghanistan after 9/11. Recorded 6 Dec 2021. Interviewer: Jim Hughes, AFIO President and former CIA Operations Officer. 

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January 24, 2022 44 min

John Lenczowski PhD, former NSC Staff Expert and current Chancellor of the Institute of World Politics, discusses Chinese influence operations in the US and how the Chinese expertly use the media, academic institutions, think tanks, businesses, politicians, and Hollywood to steal intellectual property and advance their propaganda operations. Recorded 12 Nov 2021. Interviewer: Jim Hughes, AFIO President and former CIA Operations Off...

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January 10, 2022 49 min

Steve Vogel, a veteran journalist who reported for The Washington Post for more than two decades, offers a deep-dive into the double agent George Blake, featured in his 2019 book, "Betrayal in Berlin: The True Story of the Cold War's Most Audacious Espionage Operation." Recorded 10 Nov 2021. Interviewer: Jim Hughes, AFIO President and former CIA Operations Officer. 

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December 13, 2021 41 min

In this episode, former Senior CIA Operations Officer Douglas London discusses his latest book, "The Recruiter: Spying and the Lost Art of American Intelligence." Mr. London reflects on the changes he has seen in the operations side of the Agency -- good and bad -- and provides frank assessments of the missteps and successes of the intelligence community. Recorded 20 Sept 2021. Host: James Hughes, AFIO President and former ...

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November 29, 2021 40 min

In this episode, Mark E. Mitchell - Former Director for Counterterrorism on the National Security Council and Former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict - discusses the first ground battle after 9/11 which occurred in Mazār-i-Sharīf, the fourth largest city in Afghanistan. An uprising during the battle of Qala-i-Jangi -- to overthrow the Taliban's Islamic Emirate of Afgh...

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November 15, 2021 32 min

In this episode, Dr. Nicholas Dujmovic - Professor, Author, and former CIA Analyst -  discusses his experiences developing an intelligence program at Catholic University and explains his journey to academia and teaching intelligence at the college level in retirement. Recorded 9 Oct 2020. Host: James Hughes, AFIO President and former CIA Operations Officer. 

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November 8, 2021 43 min

In this episode, former Director of CIA's Clandestine Information Technology Office and one of the nation's foremost experts on cybersecurity, James Gosler, discusses the pervasive and existentially disruptive cyber threats the U.S. faces from adversaries. He describes what is required to warn, educate, prepare for, and possibly mitigate these growing threats. Recorded 16 Jun 2021. Host: James Hughes, AFIO President and for...

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In this special episode, AFIO Now assembled a panel of experts to discuss proposed legislation which would place controls on former military and intelligence officers working overseas with foreign governments. Participants include: The Honorable Mike Rogers, former Chairman of HPSCI; Christopher Bing, Cybersecurity Reporter, Reuters who broke story of Project Raven; Stewart Baker, former General Counsel, NSA and AFIO Chairman; and ...

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October 25, 2021 25 min

In this episode, former Senior CIA Operations Officer Marc Polymeropoulos discusses his new book, "Clarity in Crisis," his tours in high risk zones, and the mysterious 'Havana Syndrome' - of which he is one of its victims. Recorded 23 Sep 2021. Host: James Hughes, AFIO President and former CIA Operations Officer. 

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October 18, 2021 39 min

In his second episode, Seth Jones PhD, Director, Transnational Threats Project, CSIS, discusses his new book, "Three Dangerous Men: Russia, China, Iran and the Rise of Irregular Warfare." Jones outlines how conventional warfare—clashes between large military forces—defined twentieth-century power. However, facing dominant US conventional and nuclear capabilities, our country's principal adversaries have adopted a differ...

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October 11, 2021 75 min

In his second episode, CIA Historian Dr. David Robarge discusses the complexities of covert action with examples throughout modern U.S. history. Dr. Robarge also mentions the ODNI release of Vietnam Tet Offensive material, which was a multi-agency collaboration between CIA, NSA, DIA and NGA. Recorded 13 May 2021.  Host: James Hughes, AFIO President and former CIA Operations Officer.

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October 4, 2021 24 min

In this AFIO Now episode, former CIA Analyst David McCloskey discusses his novel, "Damascus Station," a spy thriller set against the backdrop of the Syrian civil war. Recorded 14 Sep 2021.  Host: James Hughes, AFIO President and former CIA Operations Officer.

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September 28, 2021 40 min

In this fascinating part II episode, Shelby Pierson - the Election Threats Executive for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) - discusses the threats to America's elections and the actions taken by the Intelligence Community (IC) to assess, warn, and counter those threats. Mrs. Pierson, who is considered the first "U.S. Election Security Czar," participates in an extended Q&A. Recorded 21 May 2...

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