Target USA Podcast by WTOP

Whether its terrorists, anarchists, cyber criminals or nation states, America has a target on its back. WTOP National Security Correspondent J.J. Green investigates the threats facing the U.S., the people behind them, the agencies fighting them and their impact on Americans.


Target USA -- Episode 78: US diplomats sickened, forced to leave Cuba after invisible attacker struck

"Official" Washington was rattled on Aug. 9 when news broke that U.S...."Official" Washington was rattled on Aug. 9 when news broke that U.S. diplomats in Havana had been sickened a mysterious illness that no one could put their finger on. It was so bad that several had to be sent home or reassigned. It had been going on for months. But no one had any answers until doctors determined they were likely suffering from some kind of ultrasonic device. It is a weapon that authorities struggled to define. CBS correspondent Steve Dorsey broke the story. He tells Target USA what he's learned. Also, former State Department counterintelligence official Robert Booth tells us he believes he's figured out what happened.   Show More


Past Episodes

The Defense Intelligence Agency is bracing and preparing for "alarming" global changes, which include more frequent and more destructive wars, increasingly damaging cyberattacks, progressively belligerent and hostile nation-states, more clever and deceptive terrorists, and natural disasters that dwarf the scale of those in previous years. This podcast, featuring Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, examines the agency's plan to stay ahead of those threats.
The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism has released its latest report on terrorism. The news is good and bad. Acting Coordinator Justin Siberell gave Target USA the most engaging and forthcoming assessment on terrorism to date. Islamic State group, al-Qaida, Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations are using technology to elevate their aptitudes to plan and execute sophisticated attacks and, at the same time, incite sympathizers worldwide to support them. Siberell discusses, in depth, the report, examines state sponsors of terrorism, terrorist safe havens, foreign terrorist organizations, and the global challenge of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear terrorism.
The Defense Intelligence Agency has produced a new assessment that indicates the North Korean regime, led by Kim Jong Un, will have an intercontinental ballistic missile that can carry a nuclear weapon as early as 2018. Joby Warrick from The Washington Post, who broke the story, joins us with the details about what he and his team learned. Also, Ambassador Joe Detrani, the former U.S. Special Envoy on North Korea, joins us to put North Korea's threat to the U.S. into context.
Robert Young Pelton's book "Licensed to Kill" chronicled his time with a team of government-hired guns in the war on terror in 2003. Since then, he's found himself at the heart of numerous major news events -- from U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl's walking away from his unit into captivity by the Taliban, to the migrant crisis, the IS group's "caliphate" and notorious terrorist Joseph Kony of the Lord's Resistance Army. Pelton is a smart, well-connected individual who knows how to navigate the shadowy world of terrorism and is able to make sense of disparate details that even the authorities who should know, don't. He talks to Target USA about IS group's new "expansion" model.
This week the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it had confirmation that IS group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was dead. It never produced any proof, but it is the first "credible " organization to go that far. On this program we examine what 's known about al-Baghdadi's status, his elusiveness and what happens after he and his so-called caliphate pass from the scene. Brett Velicovich, who chased al-Baghdadi for years in the U.S. Army, and Behnam Ben Taleblu, senior Iran analyst at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, join us on the program to break it all down.
Responsible for U.S. military activity in 20 countries, U.S. Central Command is faced with multiple difficult, generational challenges. The Taliban is surging in Afghanistan. The Islamic State group 's so-called "caliphate" is crumbling in Iraq and Syria. Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) continues to make deceptively clever and elusive bombs, while engaged in a brutal fight to taken over Yemen. CENTCOM spokesman Col. John Thomas paints a stark picture for Target USA of the incredibly complex and dangerous challenges facing the U.S.
If the momentum of U.S.-led coalition is any indicator, the black flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) may be completely eradicated from Syria and Iraq in a matter of months. But Nick Rasmussen, the head of the National Counterterrorism Center, warns that the black cloud of IS group terrorism will not dissipate the day after the caliphate falls.
Defense Secretary James Mattis said on June 13 that the Taliban is surging. Whats driving the resurgence and what will the U.S. strategy to fight the Taliban look like? We dig into those questions, plus we get a look at the state of IS and al-Qaida from Hans-Jakob Schindler on this weeks episode of Target USA.
ISIS is running out of territory, money, fighters and time. Some experts fear the damage has already been done. However, on this episode of Target USA, Operation for Inherent Resolve spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon says, "There is absolutely nowhere that they can go. They have two choices: They can surrender or they can die."

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