• Show Notes

On this special episode of the United Security podcast, Ken Wainstein interviews former Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper about his life and work in the intelligence community. 

Director Clapper takes Ken on a panorama of American intelligence successes and failures, touching on the Vietnam War, the Soviet Union, North Korea, the Gulf War, and the Iraq War. Along the way, Clapper offers novel observations on the state of geopolitics and American institutions. 

This podcast is produced by CAFE Studios. 

Tamara Sepper – Executive Producer; Adam Waller – Senior Editorial Producer; Nat Weiner — Audio Producer; David Kurlander — Editorial Producer, Sam Ozer-Staton — Editorial Producer


  • Jim Clapper, Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence, Viking, 5/2018
  • Jim Clapper, “The Frontline Interview,” PBS Frontline, 8/9/2017



  • Lisbeth Perez, “James Clapper on the Foundation of GEOINT,” Trajectory Magazine, 9/26/2019
  • Director Clapper on listening to police frequencies, CBS News, 5/24/2018
  • Director Clapper talks about signals intelligence at Morehouse College, ODNI, 11/4/2016
  • Sarah Sicard, “This Virginia dairy farm that housed Army spies is now a winery,” Army Times, 2/18/2020
  • Robert Keough, “Small Pieces Of Action Comics #1 Available For Auction,” Screen Rant, 12/15/2020



  • Laurie Kellman, “Obama: President without briefings would be ‘flying blind,’” Associated Press, 12/13/2016
  • Robert Draper, “Colin Powell Still Wants Answers,” New York Times, 7/16/2020

KAL 007

  • Thom Patterson, “The downing of Flight 007: 30 years later, a Cold War tragedy still seems surreal,” CNN, 8/13/2013
  • “MH17: Four charged with shooting down plane over Ukraine,” BBC, 6/19/2019
  • Celestine Bohlen, “Tape Displays the Anguish On Jet the Soviets Downed,” New York Times, 10/16/1992


  • Luis Martinez, “How Clapper’s Secret Mission to North Korea Came About,” ABC News, 11/9/2014
  • Jim Clapper, “Ending the Dead End in North Korea,” New York Times, 5/19/2018
  • Kelsey Davenport, “Chronology of Libya’s Disarmament and Relations with the United States,” Arms Control Association, 1/2018
  • Connor O’Brien, “Clapper: North Korean leader ‘may have met his match’ in Trump,” Politico, 5/27/2018
  • Jim Clapper, “James Clapper: Kim Jong Un Is a God in North Korea,” The Daily Beast, 6/1/2018
  • Uri Friedman, “The ‘God Damn’ Tree That Nearly Brought America and North Korea to War,” The Atlantic, 6/10/2018


  • Molly Moore, “Schwarzkopf: War Intelligence Flawed,” Washington Post, 6/13/1991
  • Amatzia Baram, “Who Will Fight for Saddam?” Brookings Institution, 3/19/2003 
  • Lieutenant Colonel John J. Bird, “Analysis of Intelligence Support to the 1991 Gulf War: Enduring Lessons,” U.S. Army War College, 2004


  • Mark Bowden, “The Legacy of Black Hawk Down,” Smithsonian Magazine, 1/2019
  • “What a Downed Black Hawk in Somalia Taught America,” NPR, 10/5/2013
  • Black Hawk Down (dir. Ridley Scott), Sony Pictures, 2001


  • Colum Lynch, “Document of the Week: The 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on WMDs in Iraq,” Foreign Policy, 5/17/2019
  • Martin Chulov and Helen Pidd, “Curveball: How US was duped by Iraqi fantasist looking to topple Saddam,” The Guardian, 2/15/2011
  • “Whose fault is ‘Curveball’ Mess?” Newsweek, 1/15/2006
  • “Clapper: Steele dossier not part of assessment,” CNN, 1/3/2018