Background Briefing: January 26, 2023
Could the Arrest of a Top FBI Counterintelligence Agent in New York on a Russian Oligarch’s Payroll be Connected to HRC’s Claim that Comey Cost Her the Election?
We begin with the arrest of a top FBI counterintelligence agent in New York who is charged with corruption and money laundering who received money from a Russian oligarch with ties to Trump’s campaign manager in 2016. Joining us is Jeff Stein, the editor and founder of Spytalk and a deputy foreign news editor at United Press International. A veteran national security reporter previously with Newsweek and the Washington Post, he specializes in U.S. intelligence, defense and foreign policy and is the author of A Murder in Wartime: The Untold Spy Story that Changed the Course of the Vietnam War. We discuss his latest article at Spytalk, “Secret Agent Man: The Mysterious Charlie McGonigal” and whether there are links between a possible spy for the Kremlin, McGonigal, and the New York FBI office’s pressure on Comey to reopen the Hillary Clinton emails case just before the 2016 election which HRC claims cost her the election.
The Understaffed National Archives Tries to Preserve the Historical Record While the $18 Billion Classification Machine Keeps Too Many Secrets and Is Slow to Declassify Them
Then, with classified documents found at President Biden’s home and now at former Vice President Pence’s home in Indiana, we examine the classification mania on the part of the government and the asymmetry between the understaffed National Archives who are trying to preserve the historical record and the $18 billion a year government classification machine that keeps secrets from the American people and is slow to declassify them. Joining us is Matthew Connelly, a professor of international and global history at Columbia University and the principal investigator at History Lab, an National Science Foundation-funded project to apply data science to the problem of preserving the public record and accelerating its release. His books include A Diplomatic Revolution: Algeria’s Fight for Independence and the Origins of the Post-Cold War Era and Fatal Misconception: The Struggle to Control World Population, and his latest book, out in February, is The Declassification Engine: What History Reveals About America’s Top Secrets.
The Doomsday Clock is Now the Closest Ever at 90 Seconds to Midnight
Then finally we check in with the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ doomsday clock that is now 90 seconds to midnight as the Ukraine war raises nuclear tensions between Russia and the US and NATO. Joining us is Daniel Holz, co-chair of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board and a professor at the University of Chicago, the Enrico Fermi Institute and the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics. We discuss his article at CNN co-written with former California Governor Jerry Brown, “The Doomsday Clock is ticking – clock’s hands move closest ever to midnight and catastrophe.”