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Three-time Pulitzer Prize winner and National Security Correspondent for The New York Times David E. Sanger writes compelling analyses and investigative articles that explain the complex events of our time. A member of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning team in international reporting, Sanger is one of the nation’s most lucid analysts of geopolitics, globalization and cyber power. A National Security and Political Contributor for CNN, Sanger’s articulate style has made him a frequent guest on Charlie Rose and other PBS shows.
Sanger's national bestseller, Confront and Conceal: Obama's Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power, is a riveting analysis of the Obama administration’s foreign policy, including its covert reliance on cyberwarfare, drones, and special operations forces. The book sent shockwaves around the globe. Foreign Affairs called it an “astonishingly revealing insider’s account.”
His previous bestseller, The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power, is an in-depth examination of American foreign policy successes and failures. TIME called it a "behind-the-scenes account...laced with scoops and secret conversations about a world spinning out of America's control."
A 30-year veteran of The New York Times, Sanger’s coverage of the Iraq and Korea crises took home the Weintal Prize, one of the highest honors for diplomatic reporting. He also won the White House Correspondents’ Association Aldo Beckman prize for his presidential coverage. His years as a foreign correspondent have given him a unique view into the rise of Asia, nuclear proliferation, global competition, and a volatile Middle East.
Early in his career, Sanger covered technology and economics, before turning to foreign policy. Over the years, he has focused on North Korea's nuclear weapons program, the rise and fall of Japan, and China’s increasing power and influence. Later, he covered domestic and foreign policy issues as the Times’ White House correspondent from 1999 to 2006 and the NSA and cybersecurity as the current National Security Correspondent.
He is a featured journalist in Alex Gibney's 2016 docu-thriller, Zero Days, based largely on Sanger’s investigation of the secret American and Israeli cyber program to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Sanger teaches national security policy as a visiting scholar and adjunct professor at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.
The Trump Administration at One Year - What We Have Learned
Presidents try to bend the arc of history, but so do America’s allies and adversaries– and rarely have they greeted a new president with an array of challenges as complex as those that Barack Obama handed off to Donald Trump. From a North Korea that is brandishing a new nuclear arsenal and missiles that will soon be able to reach American shores, to a revanchist Russia, a rising China and a beleaguered Europe, disorder is everywhere. A 15-year-long American experiment in the Middle East has clearly become bogged down. Nuclear and cyber weapons pose challenges we never saw before. And around the world, populist movements seem on the march. The man who wrote The Inheritance and Confront and Conceal in the last presidential cycle, and has reported for 30 years from around the world, offers perspective and analysis on what Americans need to worry about, what needs to stay on their radar, and what they can let others handle.
Cyber Conflict: The New Way Nations Struggle for Power and Influence
Only a few years ago, the idea cyber conflict among nations was the stuff of science fiction. No more. As David Sanger describes in the documentary thriller Zero Days, directed by Alex Gibney, low-level cyberwar is here, and here to stay. It’s a new class of short-of-war competition involving espionage and, increasingly, sabotage. Zero Days, based largely on Sanger’s bestseller, Confront and Conceal, tracks his investigation of the secret American and Israeli program to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, a tale of technological sleuthing that took him into the White House Situation Room, where two American presidents, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, oversaw the covert action. But “Stuxnet,’’ as the attack was later called, was just the beginning. Now we have seen Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and others use cyber as a new kind of weapon that is ushering in a new kind of competition and conflict – changing the world as surely as the airplane and nuclear weapons did. One of America’s premier investigative reporters and experts on cyber conflict takes audiences on a tour of this secret history and a future in which the nation will have to find a way to discuss and control the Pandora’s Box that has now been opened.
Sea of Fire: The North Korean Nuclear Threat
In the 1980’s, when North Korea secretly began going down the nuclear road, one journalist began writing about the country’s ambitions and its fears of the United States, David Sanger, then a foreign correspondent in Asia for the New York Times. Those early warning signs have now evolved into perhaps the most urgent national security threat facing the United States: A North Korea with a sizable arsenal of nuclear arms and, soon, an ability to reach American cities. Sanger takes you through how we got here, a story that involves three generations of the Kim family, five American presidents, and a long history of miscommunication, missed opportunities, and mutual threats. Today the question is whether there is a way to stop North Korea from achieving its nuclear ambitions, and whether the U.S. will determine if it must confront the country or learn to live with the threat it poses. And beyond the nuclear threat lurks another North Korean capability to wreak havoc: Its growing corps of hackers, who have already attacked American companies, the British health system, and central banks.
Managing this multidimensional challenge is the hardest immediate problem in American foreign policy. David Sanger guides his audience through both the history and the strategic implications.
The Gamble: America, Iran and the Second Nuclear Age
From the reporter who helped reveal the world’s biggest black-market network in nuclear weapons, both in the New York Times and in the documentary Nuclear Jihad, comes an assessment of the Second Nuclear Age, a far more dangerous era than the superpower arms races of decades past. He asks the question: Is it possible, at this late stage, to free the world of nuclear weapons? And if so, what is the path?
Around the World in 60 Minutes
Join David E. Sanger, National Security Correspondent for The New York Times, as he engages in a lively exploration of the hot-spots that pose the biggest challenges to the United States, from the Middle East to East Asia. Sanger explores the question of whether America’s influence is in decline, as other powers rise and old alliances fray on issues ranging from American surveillance to its inward turn, and what it will take to remain the dominant power over the next decades. Sanger offers penetrating analysis based on a keen intellect and deep reporting inside Washington and around the globe.
Freedom of the Press and State Secrets: The Unavoidable Collision
Few reporters delve more deeply into the world of national security – and the most sensitive stories about nuclear threats, cyber threats and global power struggles – than David Sanger. In Freedom of the Press, he argues that the delicate balance between the government’s need to protect national security secrets and the media’s responsibility to keep citizens informed about what the United States is doing around the world has gotten seriously out of whack. Prosecutions of suspected sources have chilled the reporting process. Worse yet, it has begun to restrict that important channel that has allowed news organizations who have obtained sensitive or classified information to hold candid conversations with government officials about what information can truly do harm, and what information, even if classified, can be revealed with little real risk. Sanger argues that some of the most important revelations of the past decade – about the drone program, the American use of cyber weapons against Iran, the government’s decision to conduct warrantless wiretapping of its own citizens – all involved classified material. Yet their revelation sparked critical debates, and sometimes major changes in policy. This is a discussion about how one of the most critical problems in American democracy gets dealt with, day by day, in newspapers, on the air and on the web.
WHERE DOES AMERICA GO FROM HERE?
No journalist has spent more time discussing national security and foreign policy with Donald Trump than David Sanger of the New York Times. With the Trump administration, the burning question around the world is whether America is going to radically change the tenets of the post-World War II order. Will the United States pull back – militarily and diplomatically – from the leadership roll it has assumed since 1945? Or is the new President simply re-negotiating America’s rules of engagement, to fit his “America First” approach– an approach that was first discussed in one of David’s interviews. Sanger will take you deep inside the debates in the Trump inner circle, at a moment when the most fundamental questions of America’s future role in the world are being debated and questioned, from our confrontations with China and North Korea, to our alliances in Europe. Is it time for a revolution in American national security, or just a readjustment? Can we withdraw from key parts of the world and still retain our place at #1 in power and influence around the globe?
China’s Rise: The Hopes and the Fears
At a moment when the rest of the world’s economies appear shaky, China’s growth has never been more important for the rest of the world – or more feared. It’s ascension to the role of the world’s second largest economy, and its growing military might, all in the space of 30 years, make it perhaps the most remarkable story of the 21st century. But America has never been skilled at managing the rise of a competitor, or adjusting to make for one. And the Chinese – caught between a desire for a far greater global role and a recognition that they have many challenges to tend to at home – seems uncertain about how fast it wants to hit the accelerator. Based on his years of experiences as a foreign correspondent in Asia, and then back in Washington as the United States tries to understand whether cooperation with China is possible or confrontation inevitable, David Sanger explores the fascinating tension between two superpowers.