Episodit

  • Robert S. Mueller III – Bob Mueller – is an American hero. Though best known as the sixth Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and as the Special Counsel that led the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, the story of Bob’s public service starts half a century earlier.

    As recounted in the first episode, Bob was born in Manhattan and raised in Princeton, New Jersey. The oldest of five children, and the only boy, he was a star three sport athlete in high school and excelled in the classroom and on the lacrosse fields of Princeton, where he went to college. Following the death of a Princeton teammate in Vietnam, Bob volunteered for service there.

    In 1968, after officer training, including graduation from the rigorous Army Ranger School, the Marines deployed Bob to Vietnam. There, as a young second lieutenant, he led a rifle platoon along the Demilitarized Zone. Bob did not fear death in Vietnam – though death was all around him. He feared failure, which meant he had to do all he could to ensure that the young Marines under his command survived the war and made it home.

    A recipient of the Bronze Star (with valor) and the Purple Heart, Bob returned to the United States after his service in Vietnam and graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law. He became a federal prosecutor in San Francisco, and embarked on a career that would take him to the heights of federal law enforcement in this country, and to the helm of the FBI.

    This episode – the second part – begins as Bob becomes the Director of the FBI, just a few days before the devastating attacks of 9/11. A meeting with President Bush in the White House on the morning of September 12 dramatically changed Bob’s assessment of what the FBI needed to do to prevent another attack and led to an extensive restructuring of the FBI – one that was not immediately embraced in all corners of the organization.

    Bob navigated difficult challenges as he led a post 9/11 FBI, including an effort – that he opposed – to split the FBI into two agencies along the lines of Britain’s MI-5 and MI-6. He also forbid FBI special agents from conducting interrogations of terrorist subjects that did not adhere to well established constitutional rules and procedures – a decision that was not particularly popular within certain quarters of the FBI at the time, but that turned out to be wise and prescient.

    It is fascinating to see the FBI through the eyes of the man who served for 12 years as its Director – the second longest tenure in history – and the only person ever to be nominated as FBI Director by two presidents – George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

    I should again add a word about what is not in either episode – any detailed discussion of Bob’s work as Special Counsel leading the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Bob was clear when he testified before Congress about this work and his report, and that the report spoke for itself. He did not opine about his findings and does not do so here, either. One of the things I learned while working for Bob Mueller at the FBI is that you take this decent, honorable, and courageous man at his word. Because he is a man of few words, each word matters a lot and so it is worth listening carefully.

    Bob shares with host Chuck Rosenberg in this second part (of a two-part interview) the story of his tenure at the FBI, leading it through a challenging and difficult post 9/11 period.

    ***

    A postscript:

    On February 2, 2021, the day before we published this episode, heartbreaking news out of Sunrise, Florida, underscored the sacrifices that men and women who take the oath often make in service to our nation: two FBI special agents, Daniel Alfin, 36, and Laura Schwartzenberger, 43, were killed in the line of duty while serving a court-authorized search warrant in a child predator investigation. Three additional FBI special agents were injured. Bob Mueller spoke in this final Season Four episode of the anguish he felt when FBI special agents – indeed any law enforcement officer – were killed in the line of duty. Though not widely known within the FBI, Bob kept pictures of these fallen heroes in his office during his tenure. Special Agents Alfin and Schwartzenberger avowed the same oath so many of our other guests avowed – to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. On the morning of February 2, 2021, after years of selfless, noble, and honorable service to the FBI and to the nation, they made the ultimate sacrifice. May they rest in peace.

    ***

    If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.

    Find the transcript and all our previous episodes at MSNBC.com/TheOath

  • Dr. Carla Hayden is the 14th Librarian of Congress, and the first woman and the first African-American ever to hold that prestigious pose. Born in Tallahassee, Florida, Carla grew up in Queens and in Chicago. Her parents were both talented musicians – her father taught music at Florida A&M University – but Carla, by her own admission, did not have the music gene. What she did have was a love of knowledge and of reading.

    After graduating from Roosevelt University in Chicago, and while looking for work, she became an “Accidental Librarian.” A college friend gave her a lead on a job in a public library. That tip led to a career in librarianship, including a doctorate in library science from the Graduate Library School at the University of Chicago, a teaching post at the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Science, and leadership roles in the public library systems in both Chicago and Baltimore.

    In Baltimore, as Executive Director of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Carla led that city’s magnificent public library system for almost a quarter of a century and was widely praised – and properly so – for keeping the libraries open in the wake of riots that shook Baltimore in 2015, following the death of Freddie Gray - an African-American - man in police custody.

    In 2016, President Barack Obama nominated Carla to serve as the 14th Librarian of Congress. Upon her confirmation by the Senate, she took over that prestigious post.

    The Library of Congress is a crown jewel. It dates to 1800, and one of its first large acquisitions of books came from the personal library of Thomas Jefferson. Though the Library of Congress was originally housed in the U.S. Capitol Building itself, fires in 1814 and 1851 – the first set by the British, the second, an accident – and a burgeoning collection required that the library move to its own building.

    Today, its astonishing collection is housed in numerous buildings, including the Jefferson Building, which contains the breathtaking Main Reading Room, completed in 1897. The Library of Congress today has more than 171 million items, including 32 million catalogued books in 470 languages, 61 million manuscripts, 15 million photographs, 5 million maps, the papers of 23 presidents, and extraordinarily rare and precious books, including an original Gutenberg Bible and the Lincoln Bible.

    In fact, when Carla Hayden took the oath of office for the post she now holds, she took it on the original Lincoln Bible. She shares with podcast host Chuck Rosenberg a wonderful story about that day, that Bible, her mom, and the oath.

    In 2021, Carla is also leading a new Library-wide initiative, Of the People: Widening the Path, to connect the national library more deeply with Black, Hispanic, Indigenous and other underrepresented communities. To do this, the Library of Congress plans to expand its collections, use technology to enable storytelling, and offer more internship and fellowship opportunities to attract diverse librarians and archivists. The initiative, supported by a $15 million investment from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will allow the Library of Congress to share a more inclusive story about our contemporary American culture, our historical record and how we understand our past.

    The Library of Congress is a Palace to Knowledge. It is one of the most important cultural institutions in the United States, and in the world. The person privileged to run it is Carla Hayden, the Librarian of Congress.

    If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.

    Find the transcript and all our previous episodes at MSNBC.com/TheOath

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  • Carrie Hessler-Radelet – a native of Michigan and the former Director of the Peace Corps – and her extended family have a remarkable and unique relationship with that storied organization. They hold the distinction of being the only Peace Corps family to have four generations serve as volunteers, including both of her grandparents, her aunt and her nephew. In fact, Carrie’s aunt, Virginia Kirkwood – who served in Turkey and was the 10,000th volunteer – inspired Carrie to join the Peace Corps.

    After her graduation from Boston University, Carrie and her husband served as Peace Corps volunteers in Western Samoa, where they taught at an all-girls school. Her story of their relationship with their host family – Losa and Viane and their nine children – is incredibly moving.

    Part of that story includes a return visit to their host family while Carrie was Director of the Peace Corps – 32 years after she served as a volunteer in Western Samoa. If you want to understand how a volunteer can change lives in a remote corner of the planet, Carrie’s story is illuminating and inspirational.

    The Peace Corps is one the most popular, successful, and admired organizations in America. President John F. Kennedy, shortly after his inauguration in 1961, created the Peace Corps and called on volunteers to immerse themselves in another culture and another community, in every corner of the globe.

    Today, these volunteers (of all ages), work side by side with local leaders, to tackle some of the most difficult and vexing problems on the planet – from health care, to education, to food security, to climate change. The men and women who serve in the Peace Corps are truly among America’s best, representing the best of America.

    In 2014, following her nomination by President Barack Obama, Carrie became the Director of the Peace Corps. As Director, she led an extensive organizational reform effort, most notably to enhance the health and safety of volunteers, including the development of a sexual assault risk reduction and response program. That, she will tell you, had a very personal component to it – as a young volunteer in Western Samoa, Carrie was sexually assaulted. When other victims came forward and shared their own stories with her, Carrie knew that the Peace Corps had to take decisive action to ensure the health and safety of its volunteers around the globe.

    Carrie’s description of the Peace Corps and the stories of service, humility, compassion and dedication among the volunteers – including a story Carrie shares about a volunteer named Peter – are inspirational. Carrie illustrates beautifully, why the Peace Corps plays such a vital role in America and around the world, and why we should always choose optimism.

    If you would like to learn more about this marvelous organization - which celebrates its 60th anniversary on March 1 of this year - you can visit its website at The Peace Corps.

  • Frank Figliuzzi grew up in southern Connecticut, but with his eyes and ears tuned to the nearby New York City media market and to enthralling stories of mob busting FBI agents. Those amazing tales made a big impression on a young Frank. As an 11-year-old, he wrote a letter to a senior FBI special agent, asking how he could one day join their ranks. To this day, he still has the personal reply that he received, encouraging him to pursue that dream.

    Back then, the FBI primarily hired attorneys and accountants to become special agents, and so Frank later went to law school, to polish his resume for the FBI. It worked, and in 1987, after graduating from the FBI Academy, Frank was assigned to the Atlanta field office, where he began a career working – among other things – counterintelligence cases.

    In counterintelligence work, the FBI tries to identify and neutralize threats from foreign intelligence services that seek to steal our military, economic, and trade secrets. Our adversaries also attempt to recruit US persons and to turn them against our own country. In this episode, Frank describes the vital work he did in counterintelligence, including how his recruitment of a double agent from another country to assist the United States, came to a sudden halt when the FBI and the United States was betrayed by one of its own – Robert Hanssen – a disgraced former FBI special agent now serving a life sentence in a federal prison for espionage. It is a fascinating and disturbing story.

    Frank’s long and distinguished career in the FBI, took him to many different places – San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Cleveland. Among the most challenging posts he held was in the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility, where he imposed discipline – including dismissal – on men and women who violated the FBI’s strict code of conduct – decisions that were often agonizingly difficult but necessary to preserve the integrity of the organization.

    At the end of his FBI career, Frank ran the Counterintelligence Division of the FBI, and instituted important changes to ensure that intelligence analysts and special agents worked more closely together to protect our nation from relentless foreign adversaries.

    Frank was a thoughtful and principled leader and has written eloquently about his time at the FBI and about its core principles – such as compassion, credibility, and consistency – in his new book, The FBI Way.

    If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.

    Find the transcript and all our previous episodes at MSNBC.com/TheOath

  • Matt Olsen held so many important and difficult jobs in federal law enforcement and national security that it is hard to know where to begin. A son of North Dakota and a graduate of the University of Virginia and Harvard Law School, Matt worked as a civil rights prosecutor, an Assistant United States Attorney, on the staff of FBI Director Bob Mueller, as the Executive Director of the Guantanamo Review Task Force, as the General Counsel of the National Security Agency, and as the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center.

    Though we could dedicate an episode to his work in any one of those posts, his work as a civil rights prosecutor – fresh out of a judicial clerkship – was fascinating and vital. There, he focused on enforcing the Voting Rights Act – a landmark civil rights statute – in several southern states to ensure that minority citizens were not disenfranchised.

    Later, appointed by Attorney General Eric Holder to lead the Guantanamo Review Task Force, Matt found that assignment to be among his most challenging and difficult. In that role, it was his responsibility to try to meet one of President Obama’s earliest stated objectives – to close the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay within the president’s first year in office. That, as Matt describes, turned out to be an enormously complex task – a conundrum given the population there and the difficult decisions that had to be made about who should be released, who should be tried – either in a civilian court or in a military commission setting – and who could neither be tried nor released. The process that Matt and his team built to inform those decisions was serious and thoughtful, but the task was inordinately complex and the headwinds that his task force confronted – political and practical – were fierce.

    Matt also served as the General Counsel for the National Security Agency – the leading signals intelligence agency in the world, and one of the most important sources of information for U.S. national security officials. That job required striking a balance on uncertain and often shifting legal terrain. One one hand, Matt was keenly aware of – and devoted to – his duty to the Constitution and to the laws that govern intelligence collection. He knew his lawyers and NSA operators should never cross “the line” and that it was therefore crucial that they understood where the line was and not get too close to it. On the other hand, Matt clearly understood the need to confront dangerous and relentless counterterrorism and counterintelligence adversaries because of the harm they could inflict on U.S. persons and our national security interests. He approached this job – and this balancing act – in a careful, ethical, and deliberate manner.

    Matt Olsen was a thoughtful and principled public servant, a gifted leader, and a true expert on national security. He is also humble, kind, and deeply thoughtful about the proper role the government should play to secure our nation and protect its citizens while honoring its commitment to civil rights and civil liberties.

    If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.

    Find the transcript and all our previous episodes at MSNBC.com/TheOath

  • Mike Bush, the former Commissioner of the New Zealand Police, served for more than four decades in law enforcement – starting as an 18-year-old constable, serving as a detective, and promoting up through the ranks of this highly professional and respected organization.

    The population of New Zealand is roughly five million people. About one in six New Zealanders are of Maori descent – an indigenous Polynesian community – and that community has historically been underserved. Building ties to the Maori community was a priority for Mike, as was recruiting more citizens of Maori descent to the department, so that the New Zealand Police better reflected the diversity of the country.

    One of the initiatives Mike developed and promoted as Commissioner was something he called “Prevention First” – to change the focus of policing from a model of locking people up to a model of early intervention, designed to prevent crime in the first place. Mike knew that gave his officers more of an opportunity to help people and to keep them safe.

    The New Zealand Police have long been leaders in community policing. More than half a century ago, the New Zealand Police dropped the word “force” from their name and to this day their officers do not routinely carry firearms. The New Zealand Police have a well-deserved reputation for integrity and decency, and Mike describes their efforts to earn and preserve that reputation and to serve the diverse communities in his country.

    Though violent crime is relatively rare, Mike investigated some of the biggest and most interesting cases in New Zealand history, including the successful recovery of a five-year-old girl who had been kidnapped, and a cold case investigation of a young murdered woman, solved through ingenious forensic work.

    And, while posted overseas for part of his career, Mike was a first responder to the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami that struck Thailand – where he was stationed – and many other south east Asian nations, killing almost one quarter of a million people. Mike describes how law enforcement officers from around the world responded to that horrific tragedy.

    Mike Bush had a fascinating career in the New Zealand Police, ultimately running the service and leading its 13,500 men and women. He helped transform policing in his nation, and is widely regarded as a visionary law enforcement professional.

    If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.

    Find the transcript and all our previous episodes at MSNBC.com/TheOath

  • Heather Penney was born in Tucson, Arizona, the daughter of a fighter pilot. Flying was in her blood, and Heather earned her own pilot’s license while studying as an English major at Purdue University. Heather harbored a dream of being a fighter pilot, like her dad, except that there was one problem: back then, women were not allowed to fly in combat.

    Fortunately for Heather and for the nation, Congress removed the combat exclusion for aviation while she was in graduate school. Heather immediately applied for one of these highly competitive openings, and secured a slot with the District of Columbia Air National Guard. That changed her life.

    At Air Force pilot training, Heather was the only woman in her class. She was an excellent student and an excellent pilot but there she struggled with one particular old-school navigational skill – flying fix to fix. To graduate – to earn her Air Force flight wings – she had to master it.

    And so, she practiced and studied – including by sitting in a kitchen chair, staring at a mock cockpit hung in her closet in her apartment, a toilet plunger substituting for her control stick. “Chair flying,” memorizing every movement, over and over, until she had it down. With grit and practice she mastered fix to fix navigation and ultimately graduated from flight school as an F-16 pilot - a single engine supersonic fighter aircraft.

    In the late summer of 2001, Heather was a first lieutenant in the 121st Fighter Squadron, D.C. Air National Guard, stationed at Joint Base Andrews. She had been the only woman in her Air Force flight class, and was now the only woman in her squadron. And then, in an instant, her life almost changed again.

    On the morning of September 11, 2001, the United States was under attack. Hijacked commercial planes had been crashed into the North and South towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and another into the Pentagon, in Arlington, Virginia. Thousands of innocent people were dead. One hijacked plane was still in the air. It was headed for Washington, D.C.

    Lieutenant Penney was ordered up that late summer morning; ordered to fly a mission. It was, she believed, the last mission she would ever fly. It is a riveting story. And nobody tells that story better than Heather.

    If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.

    Find the transcript and all our previous episodes at MSNBC.com/TheOath

  • Jon Jarvis grew up in rural Virginia, in the magnificent Shenandoah Valley. With national forest land in his backyard he learned to love the outdoors, roaming, hunting, and fishing with his father and brother. Shortly after graduating with a degree in biology from the College of William and Mary, Jon began a four-decade career with the National Park Service that culminated in an eight-year tour of duty – from 2009 until 2017 – as its Director.

    The great American author and Pulitzer Prize winner, Wallace Stegner, wrote that our “[n]ational parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best….” That is certainly true. But these parks are more than the best idea we ever had. They are spectacular sanctuaries, and they are beloved.

    From Acadia to Zion, from Yellowstone to Yosemite; from Glacier to Grand Canyon, our national parks offer breathtaking natural landscapes and seascapes. In all, the National Park Service manages 419 national parks and historical sites that cover 84 million acres and draw 330 million annual visitors. Jon Jarvis knows these places as well as anyone.

    Jon served in eight national parks, from his days as a ranger, through his turn as the superintendent of Wrangell–St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska – the largest park in our national system. Wrangells, by itself, covers 13 million acres – roughly the size of six Yellowstones. It is a place of pristine beauty and utter solitude.

    What do park rangers do? Jon’s resume includes a delightful entry that answers that question: rangers do “ranger things.” Jon fought fires, trapped bears, forded glacial rivers, rappelled off cliffs, rescued lost people, gave tours, patrolled on skis and horses, climbed mountains, hiked, and watched sunsets. Ranger things.

    From 2009 until 2017, Jon served as the Director of the National Park Service, in charge of its 22,000 employees and its 3-billion-dollar annual budget. He is a passionate advocate for our great national park system, and knows it is both a stunning resource for us to enjoy and a gift to preserve for those who come after us.

    If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.

    Find the transcript and all our previous episodes at MSNBC.com/TheOath

  • Anne Milgram grew up in East Brunswick, New Jersey, the daughter of a college professor and an engineer. But other relatives – including her grandfather who was a New Jersey police chief – were in law enforcement, and so Anne thought of law enforcement as the family business. Though she was to spend much of her adult life in that family business, she was not particularly interested in it growing up.

    After attending Rutgers University and New York University Law School, a clerkship with a prominent federal judge in Trenton opened her eyes to life in the courtroom. As Anne will tell you, that experience changed her journey.

    After her clerkship, she worked as a local prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for the legendary Robert Morganthau and then joined the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice, as a federal prosecutor investigating hate crimes and sex trafficking cases.

    At the age of 36, Anne’s career took a remarkable turn when the Governor of New Jersey appointed her to be that state’s Attorney General. That made her the second-youngest Attorney General in the United States, the second-youngest Attorney General in New Jersey history, and the state’s chief law enforcement officer with a staff of more than 9,000 state employees. And, because a prior Attorney General had assumed control of the Camden Police Department, she was also in charge of the police force of what she described as one of the most violent places on earth.

    Anne is a remarkably thoughtful and intelligent woman. The steps she took to reform the Camden police department – something she did with a talented and caring police chief she hired – are a model for enlightened and progressive policing.

    Emblazoned on a City Hall wall in Camden is a line from the renowned poet (and Camden resident) Walt Whitman: “In a Dream, I Saw a City Invincible.” And what Camden needed was an Attorney General up to the task – passionate, dedicated, brilliant, and …. invincible. That was what they got, in Anne Milgram.

    If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.

    Find the transcript and all our previous episodes at MSNBC.com/TheOath

  • Robert S. Mueller III – Bob Mueller – is an American hero. Though best known as the sixth Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and as the Special Counsel that led the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, the story of Bob’s public service starts half a century earlier.

    Bob was born in Manhattan and raised in Princeton, New Jersey. The oldest of five children, and the only boy, he was a star three sport athlete in high school and excelled in the classroom and on the lacrosse fields of Princeton, where he went to college. Following the death of a Princeton teammate in Vietnam, Bob volunteered for service there.

    In 1968, after officer training, including graduation from the rigorous Army Ranger School, the Marines deployed Bob to Vietnam. There, as a young second lieutenant, he led a rifle platoon along the Demilitarized Zone. Bob did not fear death in Vietnam – though death was all around him. He feared failure, which meant he had to do all he could to ensure that the young Marines under his command survived the war and made it home.

    A recipient of the Bronze Star (with valor) and the Purple Heart, Bob returned to the United States after his service in Vietnam and graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law. He became a federal prosecutor in San Francisco, and embarked on a career that would take him to the heights of federal law enforcement in this country, and to the helm of the FBI.

    My interview with Bob Mueller is in two parts. The first part covers his childhood through his selection as the FBI Director. The second part, which we will publish later this season, picks up where the first interview leaves off – and covers his tenure as Director, guiding the FBI through a difficult and challenging post 9/11 world.

    I should add a word about what is not in either episode – any detailed discussion of Bob’s work as Special Counsel leading the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Bob was clear when he testified before Congress about this work and his report, and that the report spoke for itself. He did not opine about his findings and does not do so here, either. One of the things I learned while working for Bob Mueller at the FBI is that you take this decent, honorable, and courageous man at his word. Because he is a man of few words, each word matters a lot and so it is worth listening carefully.

    Bob shares with host Chuck Rosenberg in this first part (of a two-part interview) the story of his service in Vietnam, his time as a new federal prosecutor, and his ascent through the Justice Department to become the FBI Director. This interview with Bob Mueller is the only full one he has given since leaving public life, and it may be the only full one he gives.

    If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.

    Find the transcript and all our previous episodes at MSNBC.com/TheOath and read The Mueller Report at https://www.justice.gov/storage/report.pdf

  • In the Fourth Season of The Oath, Chuck Rosenberg speaks with thoughtful and inspirational men and women from the highest levels of public service – men and women who took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. At a time when our most cherished institutions are being tested, these selfless leaders light the way. This season: FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram, National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush, and Heather “Lucky” Penney, one of the first women to fly an F-16, and many more. Listen to Season Four of The Oath with Chuck Rosenberg – smart, civil, apolitical conversations – starting on December 2.

  • Captain Chesley Burnett Sullenberger, III (Sully) was born in Denison – a small North Texas town on the Oklahoma border. There, as a teenager, he learned to fly a single engine prop plane off a grass strip. A serious and talented - but shy and introverted - high school student, Sully was admitted to the highly competitive United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. When he graduated in 1973, he received the Academy’s prestigious Airmanship award as its top flyer.

    Sully flew the F-4 Phantom jet fighter in the Air Force, acquiring thousands of hours of flight time, always honing his airmanship. That ability, that skill to perceive his environment, to be situationally aware, to anticipate issues, and to solve problems – that airmanship – enabled him as a commercial airline pilot, to safely navigate a crippled passenger jet to a dramatic water landing in the Hudson River on a frigid January day in 2009.

    That flight - US Airways flight 1549 – lost thrust in both engines shortly after takeoff from New York’s LaGuardia airport when it struck a flock of Canada geese. Thanks to the remarkable skills of Sully and his co-pilot, Jeff Skiles, everyone aboard that plane survived the harrowing landing.

    Sully’s story is moving – humble beginnings, exceptional hard work, exacting dedication to his craft, and a lifetime of experience and knowledge that enabled him – in a moment of unprecedented crisis – to solve one problem after another, step by step, in 208 seconds, to navigate his crippled plane to the river, and to save the lives of its 155 passengers and crew.

    Sully shares with host Chuck Rosenberg fascinating insights about his childhood, his education at the United States Air Force Academy, his passion for flight, and his dedication to his craft.

    Sully is also the author of two books:

    Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters, with Jeffrey Zaslow (2010), and

    Making a Difference: Stories of Vision and Courage from America's Leaders, with Douglas Century (2013)

    If you have thoughtful feedback or questions, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com

  • Mike Leiter grew up in Englewood, New Jersey, where his extraordinary public service career began early – in high school – when he worked as an Emergency Medical Technician. After graduating from Columbia University, Mike served as a Naval Flight Officer before attending Harvard Law School, where he was one of only four military veterans in his class of more than 500 students. At Harvard, Mike was elected President of the prestigious Harvard Law Review – a job once held by Barack Obama.

    After clerking on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit for Judge Michael Boudin and then on the United States Supreme Court for Justice Stephen Breyer, Mike worked as a federal prosecutor. He left that job to become a key staffer on the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Commission - which examined substantial US Intelligence Community failures in the lead up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

    Ultimately, Mike directed the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) under Presidents Bush and Obama – the organization responsible for analyzing terrorism threats against the United States and its interests, at home and abroad.

    Mike shares with host Chuck Rosenberg fascinating insights on the US intelligence community, as someone who studied it on the WMD commission and as someone who ran a vital part of it at NCTC. You can find a link to the final report of the WMD Commission here:

    https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/GPO-WMD/pdf/GPO-WMD.pdf

    And you can read Mike's Washington Post Op Ed here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/06/weve-briefed-many-presidents-uncertainty-comes-with-job/

    If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.

  • Amy Hess dreamed – as a child – of being an astronaut. A star student and athlete in high school, she studied aeronautical and astronautical engineering at Purdue – though poor eyesight dashed her NASA dreams. Instead, Amy got her start in the FBI as a special agent in Kansas City, working violent crime. She rose quickly through FBI ranks to run the Memphis and Louisville field offices, and to run two large FBI divisions at headquarters, where she oversaw FBI technology in one job and the FBI’s criminal and cyber work, in another. Those jobs made her the highest-ranking woman in FBI history. Today, Amy is back home as the Chief of Public Safety for Louisville, Kentucky – across the Ohio River from the small Indiana town in which she grew up.

    Following the tragic March 13 shooting of Breonna Taylor in Louisville this year, and after we recorded this episode, Amy was named to lead police reform efforts in that city – to reduce use of force incidents, to review police policies and training, and to make recommendations on police disciplinary matters by establishing an Independent Civilian Review Board.

    Amy shares with host Chuck Rosenberg fascinating stories of her work as an FBI special agent, including at the site of the horrific 1995 domestic terrorism attack at the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.

  • Fiona Hill is the former Senior Director for Russia and Eurasia on the National Security Council. A highly respected scholar on Russian history and culture, Fiona was born and raised in the industrial northeast of England. She comes from a long line of coal miners – uncles, cousins – families, like hers, that persistently struggled with poverty. Fiona’s father, Alfred, joined his own brother in the coal mines at the age of 14. Her mother, June, who still lives in Bishop Auckland – was a midwife. And though money was always tight, Fiona grew up in a loving and supportive family that strongly embraced both her desire to go to college and, ultimately, to emigrate to the United States – a place her father loved and admired and always hoped one day might be his own home.

    Guided by a series of dedicated mentors and teachers, Fiona graduated from the University of Saint Andrew’s in Scotland, and then earned her Ph.D. at Harvard. Along the way, she studied Russian history and culture and became fluent in its language.

    Fiona became a naturalized American citizen in 2002 – a country that gave her opportunities that she would not have enjoyed in the UK, where the fact that she grew up poor and with a distinct working-class accent, she believes, would likely have held her back.

    She served at the highest levels within the US government, on both the National Intelligence Council under Presidents Bush and Obama and, ultimately, on the National Security Council under President Trump. Fiona is deeply respected for her expertise on Russia and Eurasia and widely admired for her honesty, courage, intellect, and fortitude.

    Fiona testified in the 2019 House impeachment hearings of President Trump, and you can find a link to her written testimony here.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry/read-full-text-fiona-hill-s-opening-statement-public-impeachment-n1088351

    Fiona is also the author or co-author of three books about Russia and Vladimir Putin:

    · The Siberian Curse: How Communist Planners Left Russia Out in the Cold, with Clifford Gaddy (2003)

    · Energy Empire: Oil, Gas and Russia's Revival (2004)

    · Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin, with Clifford Gaddy (2015).

    Fiona shares with host Chuck Rosenberg reflections on her extraordinary public service career and her work at the highest levels of the National Security Council. If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.

  • Jim Miller is the former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy. In that vital role – the number three position in DOD – Jim was at the forefront of some of the nation’s most important and most difficult national security issues. As a key adviser to three Secretaries of Defense – Bob Gates, Leon Panetta, and Chuck Hagel – Jim guided reviews of nuclear weapons policy and ballistic missile defense policy, and led the formulation of national defense strategies for space and cyberspace.

    Jim’s path to the Pentagon began in the middle. As the only boy in a household of five children, Jim was raised in a middle-class family in the middle of the country – in Waterloo, Iowa. A brilliant student and a superb athlete, Jim made his way to Stanford where a mentor inspired him and guided him into public service.

    Recently, and after my interview with Jim was recorded, he resigned his position on the prestigious Defense Science Board. In an open letter to the current Secretary of Defense, Jim noted that peaceful protesters exercising their First Amendment rights outside of the White House were dispersed “using tear gas and rubber bullets — not for the sake of safety, but to clear a path for a presidential photo op.” Jim also wrote that though the Defense Secretary “may not have been able to stop … this appalling use of force, you could have chosen to oppose it. Instead, you visibly supported it.” You can read Jim’s letter here: Open Letter to the Secretary of Defense, June 2, 2020

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/06/02/secretary-esper-you-violated-your-oath-aiding-trumps-photo-op-thats-why-im-resigning/?arc404=true

    Jim is a deeply principled and talented man and he shares with host Chuck Rosenberg reflections on his extraordinary public service career and his work at the highest levels of the Pentagon. If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.

  • Carol Lam grew up in New Jersey, and was educated at Yale and Stanford Law School. Soon after law school, she found a job she loved in the Justice Department – as a federal prosecutor in San Diego – where she handled complex health care fraud cases. Though she enjoyed the work, she accepted an appointment to the California Superior Court bench from Governor Gray Davis. Carol envisioned a long tenure as a judge – a difficult and vital job – but that changed when she became the presidentially appointed United States Attorney for the Southern District of California – the office in which she started as a prosecutor. Today, Carol plays flute with the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus, serves as a member of the Stanford University Board of Trustees, and works as an MSNBC legal analyst.

    Carol shares with host Chuck Rosenberg fascinating stories of her work as a judge and a federal prosecutor and reflects on the role of prosecutors in the criminal justice system. If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.

  • Kathy Sullivan is an explorer and a pioneer, an oceanographer and a scientist, an astronaut and an American hero. Selected as one of the first female astronauts in NASA history, Kathy flew three missions on the space shuttle and became – in 1984 – the first American woman to walk in space. Kathy also flew on the space shuttle mission in 1990 that deployed the Hubble Space Telescope – one of the most advanced and important scientific achievements in the history of NASA. After leaving NASA, Kathy ran the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – a crucial part of the Department of Commerce – that houses, among other agencies, the National Weather Service.

    In June 2020, after this episode was recorded, Kathy became the first woman to descend to the deepest spot in the ocean – a nearly seven-mile journey to the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, in the western Pacific Ocean. That makes Kathy the only person to walk in space and to dive to the ocean’s deepest known point.

    Kathy is the author of a book that describes her extraordinary NASA career – Handprints on Hubble – An Astronaut’s Story of Invention.

    Kathy shares with host Chuck Rosenberg fascinating stories of her work as an astronaut, the thrill of venturing into space, and the dedicated and brilliant team of men and women who make spaceflight possible. If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.

  • Vivek Murthy is a doctor and an author - a deeply thoughtful, interesting, kind, caring, and reflective medical professional - who served as the Surgeon General of the United States. As Surgeon General, Vivek was also a Vice-Admiral in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. In that role, and after an exhaustive listening tour throughout the country at the beginning of his tenure as the “Nation’s Doctor,” Vivek realized that loneliness is a pervasive medical issue in the United States, and that it is both a cause of – and a consequence of – chronic illness. In his powerful and illuminating new book, Together, he explores the role of loneliness in society and its relationship to chronic illness, and prescribes ways that we can identify it, think about it, and counter it. Vivek was born in England and raised in Miami, and is a graduate of Harvard University and Yale Medical School.

    Vivek shares with host Chuck Rosenberg reflections on his work as the Surgeon General of the United States – the “Nation’s Doctor” – and important insights into his research on the connection between loneliness and chronic illness. If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.

  • Maya Wiley is a brilliant and powerful woman who has spent her professional life at the intersection of law, education, and policy. Born into both privilege and poverty – the child of two prominent civil rights activists, Maya grew up in a loving and intact home and, yet, in a broken educational system. And if that seems contradictory, Maya explains why it is not.

    Educated at Dartmouth and Columbia, Maya served in city government and in the federal government, at the United States Department of Justice. Her most recent turn in public service put her in charge of the Civilian Complaint Review Board – the independent oversight agency of the New York City Police Department – the largest police force in the nation. This gave Maya a unique perspective on policing in America – particularly, what we need to do as a nation to address police misconduct, to improve policing, and to build bridges between police and the communities they are sworn to serve. Maya’s moving story is one of struggle and success, of love and tragedy, of friends and mentors and, always, of the pursuit of justice, dignity, and equality for all.

    Maya shares with host Chuck Rosenberg reflections on her extraordinary public service career and her work at the forefront of the civil rights movement. If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.