David Sanger of The New York Times sat down with Charlie Rose this week for a conversation about his latest book Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power. In the interview, Sanger paints a portrait of Obama unlike anything you have ever seen before which brilliantly conveys the true scale, gravity, and danger of the biggest threats to the stability of our world which are causing the White House administration to lose sleep at night. Sanger gained unprecedented access to the administration, and discussed these and other head-spinning stories with Charlie from his latest book:
☞ Immediately prior to Obama’s inauguration, President Bush pulled him aside and told him about two top secret programs that were the ultimate priorities of the Bush administration: 1) the drone program, and 2) the cyberweaponry program being used to bring down Iran’s nuclear program (Obama not only embraced these two priorities, he “doubled down” on them as well).
☞ After the fall of Mubarak, top U.S. officials had a meeting with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to discuss the future of the country. When the meeting wrapped up, one of the Egyptian representatives let it slip that the same room they were in that day had been filled with Chinese officials the week prior. He revealed to White House officials that the Chinese were initiating a top-to-bottom rebuild of all ports in the Suez Canal, one of the world’s most highly valued oil shipping lanes. The White House had NO CLUE about this until this man happened to mention it off the cuff.
☞ There was a period of several months a while back when the U.S. led the White House to believe that the Taliban had successfully obtained a nuclear bomb. Sanger believes the misunderstanding sprung from one of the following possibilities: 1) there was an error made in translation by intelligence officials, or 2) the Taliban was duped by an unknown group of people who sold them a dummy bomb.
☞ The fascinating story of how the top secret U.S. Stuxnet Virus (used to cripple the Iranian nuclear program) was let out of the bag by an Iranian nuclear scientist who happened to plug his laptop into the centrifuge’s main computer, thereby releasing the virus into the Internet at large.
And this is just the beginning, folks. The entire interview is riveting from beginning to end, and there were moments when my jaw had dropped wide open at some of the information Sanger had revealed. If this interview is a glimpse of what to expect from his latest book, I will most definitely be reading this as soon as possible. You can purchase your own copy of David Sanger’s Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power via Random House. David Sanger is the Chief Washington Correspondent for The New York Times. A 1982 magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College’s Department of Government, Sanger has been writing for the Times for 30 years covering foreign policy, globalization, nuclear proliferation, and the presidency. He has been a member of two teams that won the Pulitzer Prize, and has been awarded numerous honors for national security and foreign policy coverage. His first book The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power was published in 2009 and was a best-seller. For all of Sanger’s columns and essays be sure to visit his archive at The New York Times.