Unveiling the Private Sector’s Impact on National Security, Geopolitics, and the Fight Against Disinformation

As a former CNN Intelligence Correspondent and Executive Producer, Suzanne Kelly knows better than to trust every headline that she reads online. However, with the rise of AI-generated images and disinformation, it’s critical to take an informed approach to what we read – taking into account where it comes from and why it’s being shared. 

The Cipher Brief addresses this threat by bringing together the expertise of the public and private sectors to provide stronger national security for all. Founded by Kelly in 2015, it is a national security-focused media organization that takes a firm stance on providing clear, accurate, and trusted information. Kelly is also the founder of The Cyber Initiatives Group and produces The Cipher Brief’s Annual Threat Conference

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Key topics of Kelly’s discussion with host Chuck Randolph include:

  • Why the private sector has shifted over time to take on a pivotal role in geopolitics, shape the way information is shared, and influence the speed of innovation.
  • The rising threat of misinformation and disinformation and what security leaders can do to encourage sharing informed, accurate information and avoid chasing down false threats.
  • Why Kelly is driven to bring insights to the forefront and help people solve geopolitical problems impacting their business.

Key takeaways:

03:43: Suzanne Kelly – I felt like the private sector was not only impacted by what was happening around the world but serves as the backbone of the US economy which is really a humongous component of national security. 

I’ve been really interested since February 2022 and the months preceding the Russian invasion of Ukraine — looking at the private sector’s role there as well as the significant shift in how the world is dealing with geopolitical events like this war. Watching how the private sector came into that arena and started sharing technologies in ways that didn’t always go through layers of government bureaucracy has spoken to the speed of innovation in the private sector.

09:56: Chuck – How should leaders think about misinformation and disinformation?  Our job is to enable decision-makers, so how do we critically look at the news that’s coming to us today and make sure that our bosses aren’t succumbing to bias or false information?

10:40: Suzanne Kelly – Disinformation and misinformation is an incredibly risky threat to the United States. Obviously, it spreads beyond the borders but just what we’ve seen with elections and rhetoric and emotion and how outside entities can take a single bit of truth from something and then weave a web of lies around it. And then drop that into social media feeds and other places where Americans are so conditioned to get information at their fingertips to make snap decisions to reshare things. We need to become a nation of critical thinkers that quickly discern where a source is coming from if it’s a credible place and if the organization that they’re reading from names sources or if they’re anonymous – why? I think having a country that is full of critical thinkers is going to be a lot better for our future than having a country of people inclined to believe a headline.