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. The Blogs of War Twitter feed, @Blogsofwar, was selected as one of the top Twitter accounts of 2014 by Time magazine.
Shortwave Numbers Stations | Episode 118
Scot Terban joined me to discuss the use of shortwave numbers stations, recently declassified KGB investigative techniques for identifying recipients of those broadcasts, how shortwave has changed with the introduction of the internet, and technologies such as software defined radio (SDR) that make capturing mysterious signals affordable (sometimes free) and easier than ever.
Chinese Spies in US Law Enforcement – And Everywhere Else | Episode 117
The regular counterintelligence chat with William Tucker is a day late but full of new Chinese espionage activity in the NYPD, the EU, and beyond. We also touch on intelligence history and why literature from the Middle Ages or beyond is not only fascinating but still relevant.
The Threat of Fake Spies | Episode 116
William Tucker returns to discuss the incredible case of Garrison Courtney and Alpha-214. Posing as a CIA NOC Courtney was able to engineer a scheme that duped numerous beltway contractors, intelligence officials, former military officers and many others.
Election Threats and Disrupting Chinese Espionage | Episode 115
William Tucker joins me for our weekly counterintelligence chat. In this episode we discuss the recent report for Microsoft that details Russian, Chinese, and Iranian attacks on individuals and organizations tied to our presidential campaigns and the recent move to revoke the visas of more than 1,000 Chinese grad students and researchers who have been deemed security risks.
French Officer Busted Spying on NATO for GRU & Other Espionage Cases | 114
William Tucker joins me to discuss two high profile cases this week, sloppy Chinese tradecraft, and why it always pays to visit the FBI before the FBI visits you.
Russians Targeted Tesla Gigafactory in Ransomware Plot | Episode 113
Scot Terban is back to discuss the plot, common points of vulnerability, and what you can do it, like a Tesla employee, you find yourself in the middle of a Russian criminal plot.
Giving this a try
My first episode (Obey) gave me, a civilian, considerable pause, when the guest compared how her children come to her to chat/negotiate a later curfew with a soldier who might want to chat/negotiate the use of helicopters and going in without unit identification unidentified to quell protests in DC, Portland, you name it, with his commander. The power dynamics and the response times in play are worlds apart. No soldier ordered to climb into their helo during an active citizen conflict on the streets is going to “chat” with his superior about the Constitutionality of his orders. In addition, the top down encouragement of the current Executive Branch for maximum authoritarian measures against citizen demonstrators poisons the climate for any commander who might otherwise want to pause to consider the broader Constitutional implications of demonstration suppression tactics. As a 75-year old, I’ve seen the “Obey” issue dealt with poorly both during our several off-shore wars and in our many citizen street protests. The moms in the military aren’t negotiating teenage curfews - they’re being asked to set the rules of engagement for grownups against grownups. Slanted education of commanders about the thorny “Obey” issue is once again, as in the 60s, going to determine the national dynamic between citizen vs. military for the next facade or two. We’re approaching one of those cultural turning points once again, street by street. Not doing so well right now, guys...
One of the best
This show is a rare find. It’s intelligent, fair and informative. It’s a text book example of focusing on the signal, not the noise.
It would serve this country well if cable news could come anywhere close to the level of discourse this program consistently offers.
Episode with Alon Pinkas is superb and look forward to seeing him more.
Hopefully there’s more in 2021
Hopefully there’s more episodes of this great intelligence podcast. They were heavily producing counterintelligence episodes in 2020 after a few years layoff. Hopefully there’s more episodes coming in 2021.