For the past month, every Monday at 7 pm EST for an hour, the Homeland Security Show I host on vipinternetradio.com is spotlighting issues in homeland security without the interlude of media packaging stories into three minute segments or subjected to political hyperbole from Capitol Hill.
Controlling the content has allowed me to do the best I can to bring anyone who bothers to open their browser the latest in homeland security news and analysis, the latest in how well government is protecting us, and how government is not. On this show, I try to strip away the politics and hyperbole, and deal with the reality of homeland security today. My choice of guests are only those who have tirelessly worked or reported on homeland security issues, those deeply dedicated to public service, or those who watch government closely and understand the interplay between bureaucracy, funding, and policy. This is not a show about thrillers, even if some of the content is more twisted and strange than most science fiction.
For all of us who work in homeland security for a living, we know and understand how essential it is for government to get homeland security right. We also know how complex that goal is. By supporting this show, and being part of it, we (collectively) have a unique opportunity to get the word outside of Washington, on a grassroots level, of our mission and the issues we face in making homeland security a reality. We also have the opportunity to get our word out to the Washington establishment, even if and when priorities shift and our issues are not in the Washington top ten to-dos at any current moment.
Content is archived and you can take a listen anytime you like. To be clear, the readers and contributors of Security Debrief are intended to be both my guests and my audience. I welcome feedback, suggestions on topics and guests, or even supporting the show on Facebook. Here is a rundown of my guests and show topics and some of our upcoming broadcasts.
April 9: Cyberterrorism, Cyber security and Pending Cyber Bills in Congress
My first guest was former (and first) Assistant Secretary for Policy at the Department of Homeland Security and former General Counsel to the National Security Agency, Stewart Baker discussing cybersecurity findings and recommendations from his book, Skating on Stilts: Why We Aren’t Stopping Tomorrow’s Terrorism.
Baker asserts from his knowledge of intrusions that have occurred in U.S. government computers for years that still fail to have solid cyber protections installed due to legislation dating to 1986, that a cyber-induced Katrina could happen anywhere in the United States by any ill-meaning individual, criminal organization or state that seeks to do so.
My second guest, Rob Strayer, is the National Security Director at the Bipartisan Policy Center and was a six-year Deputy Director to the Senate Homeland Security Committee. Strayer helped draft cybersecurity legislation in Congress. We discussed whether this week’s consideration of four House of Representatives bills and two Senate bills on cybersecurity have a chance of passing, and the content in those bills likely to survive votes, conference, and the White House’s influence.
April 2: The Hunt for al Qaeda
Tonight’s show, Hunting for al Qaeda, featured Michael Hurley, former senior CIA operative in Operation Anaconda’s hunt for Osama bin Laden immediately following 9/11 and former senior counterterrorism policy staff to the 9/11 Commission. The second half the show featured former L.A. Time’s national security investigative reporter Josh Meyer on his new book, The Hunt for KSM.
With Mr. Hurley, we discussed his exact orders from the President during the hunt for bin Laden while Mr. Hurley explained his tactical challenges of operating the Knowst Base, which was later subjected to a suicide bombing from an informant in 2009. Mr. Hurley also described how the 9/11 Commission was able to extract documents from the White House originally considered to be protected by executive privilege.
Josh Meyer told me why he picked Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to investigate for his book over other al Qaeda leadership, the contorted relationship between the FBI and CIA during the hunt for KSM in 1995 after learning of his involvement in a plot to take airliners down over the Pacific, and how the federal government learned of his involvement with 9/11 and the subsequent hunt to find him.
March 26: Maritime Piracy and Birthright Citizenship
Mike Fabey, an investigative journalist with a nomination for a Pulitzer, discuss the threat from maritime piracy, readiness of the U.S. Coast Guard to respond to a potential attack to an oil rig or ship in U.S. waters, and related that narcotics organizations are buying old submarines and using them for clandestine drug importation and courier services.
Jon Feere, Legal Policy Analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies, explained the Constitutional, legal and policies—or lack thereof—that have led us to be one of two developed nations in the world (U.S. and Canada) that automatically afford citizenship to anyone born within our borders, regardless of legal status.
March 19: Fast and Furious—Breaking News
On this maiden show, Emmy Award winning investigative journalist, now with FOX News, William LaJeunesse, provided breaking news on the latest in his year-long investigation into the arms trafficking operation known as Fast and Furious. I previously blogged about this show on Security Debrief.
April 16: The Extensive Evidence That Iran Sponsored 9/11, and Hezbollah Trained the Hijackers
April 23: Hezbollah’s Heavy Hand in the Drug Trade, our Borders, and the Legalization Argument
April 30: How a Savvy Terrorist with a Quality Fake ID Can Breach Airline Security