164 episodes

In Intelligence Matters, former acting Director of the CIA Michael Morell, speaks with top leaders of the U.S. intelligence community as they reflect on their life, career and the critical roles they play in shaping national security policies. As a central figure in the most significant U.S. counter-terror efforts of the past two decades and a former CIA intelligence analyst, Morell is uniquely skilled at taking industry leading knowledge to make connections that provide deep insight into complex security events – helping decode intelligence officials’ key priorities and providing perspectives on how to achieve national security objectives. Morell is the author of “The Great War of Our Time” and a vivid account of the Central Intelligence Agency, a life in secrets, and a war in the shadows.

Intelligence Matters CBS News

    • Politics
    • 4.7 • 95 Ratings

In Intelligence Matters, former acting Director of the CIA Michael Morell, speaks with top leaders of the U.S. intelligence community as they reflect on their life, career and the critical roles they play in shaping national security policies. As a central figure in the most significant U.S. counter-terror efforts of the past two decades and a former CIA intelligence analyst, Morell is uniquely skilled at taking industry leading knowledge to make connections that provide deep insight into complex security events – helping decode intelligence officials’ key priorities and providing perspectives on how to achieve national security objectives. Morell is the author of “The Great War of Our Time” and a vivid account of the Central Intelligence Agency, a life in secrets, and a war in the shadows.

    DECLASSIFIED: Former CIA Analyst Kristin Wood on Post 9/11 Briefings

    DECLASSIFIED: Former CIA Analyst Kristin Wood on Post 9/11 Briefings

    In this episode of Intelligence Matters: Declassified host Michael Morell interviews Kristin Wood, career analyst and manager of analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency. Wood looks back at the time she spent as Scooter Libby's briefer and Vice President Cheney's backup briefer. Both roles she played during the time of the 9/11 attacks. Post 9/11 there was a push by top officials to connect Iraq with al-Qaeda's role in the attacks, a push that led to the "Murkey Water Papers" being published. A report she says now, in hindsight, she would not do. "It was written in the context of some of the administration using questionable intelligence reports to justify their views that Iraq was somehow complicit in the 9/11 attacks." 

    • 41 min
    MBS and the Future of Saudi Arabia: Journalists Bradley Hope and Justin Scheck

    MBS and the Future of Saudi Arabia: Journalists Bradley Hope and Justin Scheck

    In this episode of Intelligence Matters, host Michael Morell interviews Bradley Hope and Justin Scheck, reporters for The Wall Street Journal and co-authors of Blood and Oil: Mohammed Bin Salman's Ruthless Quest for Global Power, about the leadership style and strategic decision-making of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS). Hope and Scheck offer their assessment of the "dichotomy" of MBS, explaining how he has behaved as both a great reformer and ruthless dictator. They also discuss MBS’s likely awareness of the murder of dissident Jamal Khashoggi, his views on political reform, and attempts to diversify the Saudi economy.

    • 41 min
    Former CIA Director John Brennan on the Ethics of Intelligence & Challenges to Democracy

    Former CIA Director John Brennan on the Ethics of Intelligence & Challenges to Democracy

    In this episode of Intelligence Matters, host Michael Morell interviews John Brennan, career intelligence officer and former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Brennan, who led the agency during the Obama administration from 2013 to 2017, offers new insights into the intelligence community's assessments of Russia's interference in the 2016 election, shares concerns about the potential politicization of the community's work, and discusses the merits of pursuing a career in national security. Brennan, now retired, also discusses details included in his new memoir, UNDAUNTED: My Fight Against America’s Enemies, at Home and Abroad.

    • 48 min
    Former Daily Intelligence Briefer David Priess on the Past and Future of the PDB

    Former Daily Intelligence Briefer David Priess on the Past and Future of the PDB

    In this episode of Intelligence Matters, host Michael Morell interviews David Priess, former daily intelligence briefer, CIA officer and now Chief Operating Officer of the Lawfare Institute, about the history, content and aim of the President's Daily Brief (PDB), one of the intelligence community's most valuable and highly classified products. Priess, whose book “The President’s Book of Secrets” delves into the history and recipients of the top-secret document, explains how it evolved, what goes into producing it, and how presidents have consumed it. Priess and Morell also discuss the process for briefing presidential candidates and concerns about the politicization of intelligence.  

    • 38 min
    Biden Foreign Policy Advisor Antony Blinken on Top Global Challenges

    Biden Foreign Policy Advisor Antony Blinken on Top Global Challenges

    In this episode of Intelligence Matters, host Michael Morell speaks with Antony "Tony" Blinken, former deputy Secretary of State and current Foreign Policy Advisor for the Joe Biden for President campaign. Morell and Blinken discuss a potential Biden administration's foreign policy priorities and its likely approach to top global security challenges, including climate change, armed conflicts, and strategic threats from China, Russia, Iran and North Korea. Blinken also details the Vice President's likely approach to the U.S. intelligence, diplomatic and military communities. A corresponding interview request has been extended to the Trump White House, and is pending. 

    • 38 min
    DECLASSIFIED: Ret. Adm. Bill McRaven and Michael Morell on the Raid on Osama bin Laden's Compound

    DECLASSIFIED: Ret. Adm. Bill McRaven and Michael Morell on the Raid on Osama bin Laden's Compound

    In this episode of Intelligence Matters DECLASSIFIED: Spy Stories from the Officers Who Were There, CBS News Intelligence and National Security Reporter Olivia Gazis interviews Michael Morell and retired Admiral Bill McRaven about the raid on the complex in Abbottabad, Pakistan that brought Osama bin Laden to justice nearly a decade ago. Morell and McRaven discuss the initial tip obtained by the CIA, the agency's development of the intelligence, the initial briefings of President Obama, and the military operation devised and executed by the Joint Special Operations Command. They also offer behind-the-scenes details about key players and pivotal moments in the raid. This episode was produced in partnership with the Michael V. Hayden Center for Intelligence, Policy, and International Security at George Mason University's Schar School of Policy and Government. Intelligence Matters DECLASSIFIED is a new series dedicated to featuring first-hand accounts from former intelligence officers. 

    • 46 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
95 Ratings

95 Ratings

Czerniy ,

Valuable interviews

Excellent, analytically-focussed interviewing by the host, Michael Morell. Episodes tend to be much better when featuring guests with specialised insight stemming from training or access to information. Episodes with journalists or non-fiction writers are less compelling.

dm1236 ,

Fairly clear stump speech for Joe Biden

Don’t really follow or care that much about US Politics as I’m Australian . I do think trump is a blight on your political system . However this episode is not a great reflection on the great work you have done so far with other episodes . I do subscribe to this podcast eagerly as like the accurate espionage stuff as a distraction in covid times . You Should do more of this with actual experts in the real stories like Litvinenko , skripal and Nalvany . Trump the glob fish won’t last ...

Eninjab ,

Love it

The only thing not to love about this podcast is waiting for the next episode.

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