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.

LATEST EPISODE

Target USA -- Episode 135: Tale of a troll

Marat Mindiyarov worked in the nerve center of Russia's infamous St. Petersburg troll house. He saw the plan, reluctantly participated in the plot and played a key role in the Internet Research Agency. The organization conducted an operation to trick Americans on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms into believing a Kremlin-backed disinformation campaign -- until he could no longer put up with the hours, the drudgery and diabolical plot. So he quit and began sounding alarm. Shortly afterward he was arrested. We have all the details on this episode.
00:32:01 9/19/2018

Past Episodes

In March, Pyongyang said it would suspend its nuclear and missile testing programs if the U.S. would sit down and discuss how to improve relations. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un did just that. At that time Pyongyang said it would completely give up its nuclear program if it were to get security guarantees. Skeptics found that hard to believe. But on this program, Ambassador Joe Detrani, a former U.S. official who has sat across the negotiating table from North Korean representatives, tells us that making a nuclear deal is going to be difficult, but it can be done.
00:00:00 9/12/2018

After almost a year of silence and three years since he was last seen in public, Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi released an audio message on Aug. 22 ostensibly admitting that the brutal terror group had been defeated by the U.S.-led coalition. But in that same message, the crafty, self-appointed caliph tried to rally his troops, the total number of which is disputed. He called on them to launch an insurgency -- something U.S. military officials say will not succeed. In this episode, Col. Sean Ryan, spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, and Pentagon Press Secretary Dana White join Target USA to talk about the status of the mission to defeat IS and the size of the organization, and to deliver a prognosis for the fight.

00:24:34 9/6/2018
When President Donald Trump announced that former CIA Director John Brennan's security clearance was revoked for being too critical of the president, former intelligence community members erupted, fervently defending Brennan. While making it clear that some of them disagreed with Brennan's comments and tone, they were clear. They were firmly behind his right to speak. David Priess, retired CIA officer and former presidential briefer, discussed the impact of the revocation with Target USA.
00:00:00 8/29/2018
Tunisia considers itself the U.S.' oldest friend. But in recent years, that friendship has been tested. Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui came to the U.S. in July to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other U.S. officials to talk things over. Before his meeting with Pompeo, he sat down with Target USA.
00:00:00 8/22/2018
Bill Browder says he's Russian President Vladimir Putin No. 1 enemy. The reason is the Magnitsky Act, which punishes Russia for corruption. Browder says the Russian government has spent millions of dollars to capture him. He believes they're trying to kill him. In early June, a bizarre episode played out in Madrid that seems to confirm that claim. Browder spoke to Target USA about what happened.
00:00:00 8/15/2018
After President Donald Trump's historic summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on July 16, Putin suggested a trade of sorts. It involved the 12 people indicted in the U.S. on election interference charges and 11 Americans whom Russian authorities would like turned over for "questioning." Some security experts have suggested the Americans might be in danger if such a swap were allowed. Kyle Parker, chief of staff of the Helsinki Commission, is one of those people. And while calm about it all, he's very concerned. And he told Target USA why.
00:00:00 8/8/2018
When she was arrested on July 15, Maria Butina, a 29-year-old Russian woman, was portrayed in an online profile as a recent graduate of the American University's Kogod School of Business. She was well-known in conservative political circles around Washington as being pro-gun rights, pro-Russia and pro-Trump. But the FBI thought she was up to something more. In this episode we talk to a classmate, two journalists who got to know her and her attorney about who Maria Butina really is.
00:00:00 8/1/2018
What happened between President Donald Trump and Russia's Vladimir Putin during their one-on-one meeting July 16 in Helsinki may not be fully known for a long time -- if ever. But on this episode, we look at the historic press conference between the two and the fallout afterward. Reuters White House Correspondent Jeff Mason explains what it was like to be in the room. And Robert Baer, who worked almost a decade on Russia issues for the CIA, explains the disgust his former colleagues felt watching the press conference, during which Trump seemed to side with Putin against them.
00:00:00 7/25/2018
On June 30 and July 1, four people were arrested by Belgian, French and German authorities. They allegedly had planned to bomb a massive gathering of people who oppose the Iranian regime. Among them were current high-profile officials from the U.S government, military and national security communities. The group that put the event together is the National Council of Resistance of Iran, led by Maryam Rajavi. The operation to attack the event was allegedly being plotted by a sleeper cell. One of the members that were arrested was carrying TATP, a very volatile explosive that could've caused tremendous damage. Joining is on this program is Alireza Jafarzadeh, deputy director of the Washington office of National Council of Resistance of Iran, to explain in detail what happened.
00:00:00 7/18/2018
Alexander Goldfarb was close friends with Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian intelligence officer, who was poisoned to death in London in 2006. Two Russian intelligence operatives were behind it. But after the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, another former Russian spy, and his daughter Yulia in March of this year, Russian government-linked media outlets began accusing Goldfarb of killing his friend. Then things turned bizarre. He got a visit from the FBI and his friend's father began accusing him of killing Litvinenko. Now Goldfarb and Marina Litvinenko, the widow of Alexander Litvinenko, have decided to take action. We have exclusive details on this episode.
00:00:00 7/11/2018

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