In the security world a “SCIF” [‘skiff’] or “Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility” is a special, secured room where where some of the most sensitive conversations about our national security take place. With this podcast national security expert Juliette Kayyem brings you inside the security world, exploring the planning and decisions behind our own safety, and helps takes some of the mystery out of what makes us safer.
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On March 20th the House Intelligence Committee will hold its first public hearing on Russia’s involvement in the 2016 US presidential election. Testimony from many top intelligence community officials could possibly reveal critical information as to scope of Russia’s role and if there were any communications with campaign associates here in the United States. So what should you be looking for as the House starts to take a deeper dive into Russia? In this episode of The SCIF Juliette Kayyem discusses 5 things that will be on her watch list for this hearing.
For candidate Trump WikiLeaks was a tool that allowed him to draw a clear line of distinction between who you could trust and who was “crooked.” It didn’t matter that it was an outside actor clearly working to interfere with the election, the leaks made his opponent look worse and that was good business. Looking at the long game of how such condoning and validation could impact national security simply didn’t factor into the October campaign game plan. In this episode of The SCIF Juliette Kayyem discusses the danger of unleashing the mayhem of WikiLeaks as a candidate and the reality of the organization now faced by President Trump.
The phrase “radical islamic terrorism” was a major point of contention between leaders in both parties long before the 2016 election. But throughout the course of that election it seemed to be the major foundation on which Donald Trump was building his policy towards ISIS and the war on terrorism. And now in a speech to a joint session of Congress, the President of the United States has made that phrase officially part of the US approach to combatting terror. In this episode of The SCIF Juliette Kayyem discusses why there is more to that phrase than just words, and how such a contentious tone could shape the Trump administration’s policy on terrorism moving forward.
When General Michael Flynn was first named as President Trump’s National Security Advisor many wondered how long he would last. A polarizing figure, as National Security Advisor Flynn spent time on conspiracies, fighting intelligence agencies, and misrepresenting his dealings with Russia during the Presidential Transition. In the end his tenure in the position was less than a month. And in this episode of The SCIF Juliette Kayyem explores 3 main issues surrounding his departure: Flynn’s dealings with Russia, the possible connection to Russian Intelligence and the 2016 presidential election, and President Trump’s current challenges in the area of national security.
Long before all the Executive Orders and power shake-ups of the Trump Administration there were a number of reports about Russia’s efforts to interfere with our national election. And exactly how far and how involved Russia was able to successfully involve themselves is still very much under investigation. Susan Hennessey, General Counsel of the Lawfare Institute and Managing Editor of the Lawfare blog, joins Juliette in this episode of The SCIF [‘skiff’] to sift through Trump’s disruptive first few weeks and explain the facts behind the ongoing investigations into possible Russian involvement.
By almost every measure the Trump Transition has been like no other. And with Trump some of the most telling signs of how his administration will govern can be found in his own cabinet. They are certainly a unique blend of experience and unlike any cabinet we have seen in the modern era. They do not all agree nor do they all seem to be on the same page with the President, but soon they will be faced with the daily and drastic challenges of governing and protecting the United States. In this episode Juliette Kayyem breaks down the testimony of Trump’s key defense and security appointees and looks ahead at what this “Team of Rivals” might bring to the new administration.
The Presidential Transition is a very sensitive time for security. But the final day of that process, Inauguration Day, is a particularly challenging day for one very specific branch of our national security structure: The United States Secret Service. And that day will only be the beginning of years of protecting POTUS Trump and the entire First Family. Mark Sullivan was the Director of the United States Secret Service from 2006-2013. He served in the USSS for 30 years and joins Juliette in The SCIF to discuss some of the challenges of protecting the President and the First Family.
What a year to forget. 2016 seemed a relentless run of mayhem. From January to December the events that shaped this year broke all the rules and redefined (even respelled) unprecedented, again and again. Back in December 2015 no one could have predicted or believed that this is where we’d be today. In this episode of The SCIF [‘skiff’] Juliette takes a look back at some of the events in national security and in our culture that shaped the year that was, then shares her thoughts on what she’ll be focused on in 2017.
Climate change isn’t something that can be debated, but must be mitigated or, failing that, adapted to. How we build our cities for those changes will not only impact our ability to respond to natural disruptions, but arm us with the tools needed to handle any threats that might put our communities at risk. Eric Cesal, “Architecture’s First Responder” is a designer, writer, and noted post-disaster expert, who joins Juliette in The SCIF to discuss what it takes to build our regions to be more resilient and ready to handle any worst case scenario they might face.
The Presidential Transition is the process of preparing our democracy for the reigns to be passed from one administration to the next. Back in 2008 Juliette Kayyem was on the transition team for President Elect Obama working side-by-side with members of President Bush’s administration to shift the control of government from the last day to the first. It was the first time the process had taken place in a post-9/11 world. In this episode of The SCIF Juliette discusses her experience and explains more of what this formal process entails.
Is Russia deliberately trying to impact the U.S. presidential election? What are the consequences of these cyber leaks for our democracy and our society, not just in the remaining days of this election, but beyond November 8th? Jonathan Zittrain, professor at the Harvard Law School and Harvard School of Engineering,and Applied Sciences, and author of ‘The Future of the Internet–And How to Stop It,’ joins Juliette in this inaugural episode of The SCIF to discuss.