In the Media

Media appearances

BabyBus: Is the TikTok for toddlers gobbling your personal data?
BabyBus: Is the TikTok for toddlers gobbling your personal data?

The Morning Brief podcast, Economic Times | January 18, 2024

“Letting your child play with educational apps while you finish chores seems like a win-win. But what if those ‘fun’ & ‘entertaining’ games were secretly collecting your private information? That’s the unsettling truth behind BabyBus, a popular Chinese app developer among kids, as a recent data privacy report highlighted. BabyBus apps have been labeled as among the most ‘data hungry’ in the world. So, how did they skip the ban list after TikTok? And what exactly is at stake when it comes to data collection, especially by foreign companies?…”


Congress postpones spy tool reforms amid stark disagreements

Scripps News | December 14, 2023

Former National Security Agency general counsel Glenn Gerstell is one of dozens of retired intelligence officials trying to protect Section 702.

“It’s the single most important operational statute for America’s spy agency,” said Gerstell.


FISA 702 at Stake: Congressional Clash Over Surveillance Authority

ABA, National Security Law Today Podcast | December 12, 2023

The clock is ticking fast for reauthorization of FISA Section 702. With several proposed bills on the table and lack of consensus within Congress, the fate of this surveillance tool is at this time unclear. This week, host Elisa is joined by Glenn Gerstell and Adam Hickey to discuss the security value of Section 702, its strengths and weaknesses, and how clashing views behind privacy and data collection are shaping the conversation.


Casino and Hotel Giants Caesars and MGM Hit by Hackers

CNN | September 16, 2023

Glenn discusses the recent hacks of casinos, the risks to their businesses and their customers, and the state of their cybersecurity defenses.


DHS Report: Teens Breached Some of Tech’s Biggest Firms

CNN | August 12, 2023

Glenn discusses the recent hacks of tech firms and the Internet’s vulnerabilities.


What U.S. security risks could the Mar-a-Lago documents have created?

NPR | June 14, 2023

NPR’s Ari Shapiro speaks with former on the security risks of mishandled classified documents and if over-classifying documents puts sensitive intel at greater risk.


Montana Bans Social Media App Over Security Concerns

CNN | May 20, 2023

Glenn and CNN’s Paula Reid discuss Montana’s controversial ban of TikTok, making it the first state to ban the social media application.


FBI: Billing Records for Discord Led to ID of Pentagon Leak Suspect

FOX News | April 16, 2023

Glenn discusses how the classified documents leak by a National Guardsman happened and how it might damage U.S. national security.


Suspect Charged in Case Involving Leaked Classified Military Documents

MSNBC | April 15, 2023

Glenn talks with MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart about the charges against the National Guardsman in the leaked classified documents case.


Friend Says Pentagon Docs Leaker Worked at Military Base

CNN | April 13, 2023

Glenn talks with CNN’s Kate Bolden about the leaked classified documents by a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard.


U.S. Lawmakers Grill TikTok CEO over Privacy Concerns

CNN | March 24, 2023

Glenn talks with CNN’s John Vause about the congressional hearing on TikTok.


TikTok said all the right things but Congress wasn’t listening, think tank says

CNBC | March 24, 2023

Glenn says the congressional hearing “produced lots of fireworks and not a lot of illumination.”


TikTok ban would be bad policy and precedent, says former NSA general counsel

CNBC | March 22, 2023

Glenn joins CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” to discuss upcoming congressional testimony from the TikTok CEO.


U.S. Spending Bill Includes Ban on TikTok for all Federal Devices

CNN | December 31, 2022

Glenn discusses the TikTok ban as it affects government-owned devices of state and federal government employees, the prospects for an outright ban of TikTok in the United States, and security considerations all TikTok users should keep in mind.


Secrets about Iran, China among Mar-a-Lago Docs

MSNBC | October 21, 2022

Glenn talks with Chris Hayes about a Washington Post report on highly sensitive intelligence retrieved by the Department of Justice from former President Trumps’s Florida residence.


What does antitrust legislation mean for security?

R Street Institute | September 30, 2022

Antitrust legislation has had no shortage of attention on Capitol Hill. While the broader policy implications of the two main bills—the American Innovation and Choice Online Act and the Open App Markets Act—have been widely debated, security and related implications have not received as much attention. Specifically, there is a need to focus on the stakes for national security, cybersecurity, privacy and online disinformation. The legislation is not directly related to these topics at every turn, but they still have a serious impact on American security and privacy.


What does antitrust legislation mean for security?

R Street Institute | September 30, 2022

Antitrust legislation has had no shortage of attention on Capitol Hill. While the broader policy implications of the two main bills—the American Innovation and Choice Online Act and the Open App Markets Act—have been widely debated, security and related implications have not received as much attention. Specifically, there is a need to focus on the stakes for national security, cybersecurity, privacy and online disinformation. The legislation is not directly related to these topics at every turn, but they still have a serious impact on American security and privacy.


Trump Team Opposes Disclosing Which Documents Were Classified

CNN | September 20, 2022

As the deadline approaches for former President Trump to respond to the Department of Justice request to keep reviewing material found at his Mar-a-Lago residence, Glenn discusses what to expect next.


The National Security Impact of the Mishandled Documents

MSNBC | September 7, 2022

Glenn and Olivia Troye, Homeland Security advisor to former Vice President Pence, discuss U.S. intelligence community concerns amid revelations of classified material found at former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property.


DOJ Releases Redacted Mar-a-Lago Search Warrant Affidavit

CNN | August 27, 2022

Glenn joins Michael Zeldin, former Special Assistant at the Department of Justice, to discuss details of and implications from the redacted Mar-a-Lago search warrant affidavit.


Key Revelations from Redacted Mar-a-Lago Affidavit

MSNBC | August 26, 2022

Glenn joins Dayna Perry, former Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division of the Southern District of New York, to dissect the redacted Mar-a-Lago search warrant affidavit.


Judge May Release Redacted Mar-a-Lago Search Warrant Affidavit

CNN | August 19, 2022

Glenn joins former federal prosecutor Jennifer Rogers to discuss the the search warrant affidavit at the center of the Department of Justice investigation of materials found at former President Trump’s Florida property.


Trump’s Legal Troubles

WHYY | August 18, 2022

The investigation into Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents is just one of several legal probes he is facing. A district attorney in Georgia is investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, there are criminal and civil inquiries into Trump’s business in New York and the investigation into the January 6th insurrection is ongoing. This hour, the latest on Trump’s legal troubles starting with the Mar-a-Lago search and the jeopardy he could be facing. But first, a former NSA lawyer explains how government secrets are classified and how they are supposed to be handled.


Judge Hears Arguments on Unsealing Mar-a-Lago Affidavit

CNN | August 18, 2022

Glenn joins former Deputy Director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, to discuss the issues around unsealing the affidavit at the center of the Department of Justice investigation of materials found at Mar-a-Lago.


Trump Claims he Declassified Any Docs Removed from Oval

MSNBC “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” | August 15, 2022

Glenn clarifies the facts around the Presidential power to declassify documents as it relates to the Department of Justice investigation of materials found at former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.


The documents the FBI searched in Mar-a-Lago don’t hinge on being classified

NPR | August 15, 2022

As former President Donald Trump’s explanation continues to evolve for why he had classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago home coming up on a year and seven months after he left the White House, so too have the questions evolved about his handling of those documents.


DOJ Removes 11 Sets of Classified Documents from Mar-a-Lago

CNN | August 13, 2022

Glenn and national security analyst Juliette Kayyem discuss the Department of Justice’s investigation into material retrieved from former President Trump’s Florida property, Mar-a-Lago.


TECH& Competition: Conversation with Glenn Gerstell

SIAA | June 28, 2022

SIIA Senior Vice President Global Public Policy Paul Lekas talks with cyber security expert Glenn Gerstell about the impact of the the American Innovation and Choice online Act (S.2992).


A Perspective on Russian Cyberattacks and Disinformation

Wall Street Journal | June 21, 2022

“Glenn Gerstell, a senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and former general counsel of the National Security Agency, was interviewed at a Wall Street Journal event in San Francisco in front of a live audience. The discussion focused on Russian cyberattacks against Ukraine and Russia’s use of disinformation. Highlights of the discussion follow.”


The threat of Russian cyberwar

Today Explained podcast, Vox | April 18, 2022

“Russia is ramping up attacks on Ukraine’s digital infrastructure. The US could be next.”


Assessing the Threat of Cyberwarfare in Ukraine

TaiwanPlus News | March 17, 2022

“As the war in Ukraine unfolds, there are questions on whether Russia is planning a cyberspace attack. TaiwanPlus reporter Yin Khvat speaks to Glenn Gerstell at CSIS, the Center for Strategic International Studies — who was also general counsel of the United States’ National Security Agency — to find out more.”


What Makes New Yorkers Vulnerable to Russia’s Cyber Attacks?

Metrofocus | March 16, 2022

“Last week, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence & Counterterrorism John Miller joined state and city lawmakers in sounding the alarm, telling New Yorkers to be on the lookout for cyberattacks.”


Spy agencies’ leaks of Russian plans point to the future of information warfare, Sen. Warner says

Cyberscoop | March 14, 2022

“The use of information warfare in Ukraine is a harbinger of the future in which conflicts will be shaped by information before a single shot is fired, said Glenn Gerstell, a senior adviser in the international security program at CSIS.”


How worried should we be about Russian cyberattacks?

Popular Science | March 13, 2022

“One way to gauge what potential Russian attacks could look like is to analyze past events. ‘We know from what Russia has done in the past, what they’re capable of,’ says Glenn Gerstell, former General Counsel of the United States National Security Agency from 2015 to 2020. ‘And they’ve used Ukraine as a little bit of their cyber punching bag, so to speak.’”


‘We are not ready’: a cyber expert on US vulnerability to a Russian attack

The Guardian | March 11, 2022

“We spoke with Glenn S Gerstell, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the former general counsel of the National Security Agency, about the likelihood of serious cyber warfare – and whether the US is prepared to respond. ‘If we had approached this correctly 20 years ago, we would be largely invulnerable to cyber-attacks,’ he said. ‘But unfortunately that is not the case.‘”


The FTC Jumps Into Log4j Cleanup With One Foot

Lawfare, The Cyberlaw Podcast |  January 13, 2022

Joining Cyberlaw Podcast host Stewart Baker, and fellow guests Tatyana Bolton and Mark MacCarthey, Glenn Gerstell gives a tour of China’s tech regulatory landscape, and the remarkable decline in the fortunes of consumer tech firms in that country…covers the latest story about security risks and telecom gear from China…explains the charges brought in China against Walmart for breaches of cybersecurity laws…and covers the announcement by Lloyd’s of London that cyber insurance won’t cover cyberattacks attributable to nation-states.


Constitutional Values and the Rule of Law in the AI Era: Confronting a Changing Threat Landscape

The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society | September 24, 2021

This event was part of a three-part symposium on Security, Privacy, and Innovation: Reshaping Law for the AI Era. The second session of the symposium focused on how AI-enabled technologies are changing the threat landscape and consider safeguards needed to protect constitutional values and the rule of law more broadly. An expert legal panel considered issues such as the adequacy of the Fourth Amendment in the AI era; the unique equities and issues raised by government use of AI in the intelligence, law enforcement, and border security contexts; and growing concerns around algorithmic bias, biometric technologies, deep fakes, malign information, and other AI-enabled cyber activities, and the need for regulation to address these challenges.


Allies, Enemies, and the Homefront Part 1: The National Security Implications of Antitrust

National Security Institute | August 26, 2021

The first of a four-part series hosted by the National Security Institute (NSI) examining the national security implications of antitrust challenges at home and abroad. This first event provides an introduction of domestic and international antitrust laws, examine the role of the U.S. tech industry in promoting U.S. national security and economic interests, including providing historical frameworks leading up to the current call by U.S. lawmakers to introduce antitrust lawsuits to protect consumers here in the United States.


Kaseya Ransomeware Attack — a Sign of Things to Come

CNN | July 6, 2021

Glenn Gerstell discusses the Kaseya ransomware attack and its implications.


Fmr. NSA General Counsel: Cyberattacks are a ‘huge problem’

MSNBC Andrea Mitchell Reports | June 7, 2021

Former NSA general counsel Glenn Gerstell joins Andrea Mitchell to discuss the wave of recent cyberattacks, and what the U.S. should do to combat them.


USAID Hack: Former NSA Official Calls U.S. Cyber Insecurity A ‘Chronic Disease’

NPR | May 30, 2021

“NPR’s Michel Martin speaks with Glenn Gerstell, the former general counsel for the National Security Agency, about the recent cyberattack that Microsoft says targeted government agencies.”


The Cybersecurity 202: The Defense Department isn’t armed to combat the growing threat of information warfare, experts warn

Washington Post | April 30, 2021

“National security experts will warn Congress today that the U.S. government isn’t doing enough to fight back against the growing national security threat of information warfare aimed at sowing distrust in the U.S. government at home and abroad”…read more


After A Major Hack, U.S. Looks To Fix A Cyber ‘Blind Spot’

NPR Morning Edition | April 6, 2021

“No one had reason to be suspicious, or the legal authority to monitor, as that software update was sent out electronically from SolarWinds to 18,000 organizations, including nine U.S. government agencies…”


The Tech Threat Matrix: Disinformation, Cybersecurity, and Geopolitics with Glenn Gerstell, former NSA General Counsel

The Burn Bag Podcast | April 5, 2021

“We begin the conversation by getting Glenn’s thoughts on why he believes that online disinformation is a national security threat, why cyber-propelled disinformation is very different from the spread of ‘old-fashioned’ propaganda, and whether the 2020 Election’s disinformation was primarily bolstered by Russia or domestic actors…”


Fmr. top NSA lawyer on how to fight the national security threat of disinformation online

MSNBC | February 18, 2021

“Glenn Gerstell, the National Security Agency’s former general counsel joins Andrea Mitchell to talk about actions that need to be taken to stop the spread of misinformation online, including about vaccines. ‘For many, many years anti-vaccination websites have enjoyed a field day on Facebook for quite some time, fueling their falsehoods about the efficacy of vaccines,’ he says…”


Gerstell talks with CNN New Day’s Christi Paul about election security and disinformation two days before the November 3 general election.
Former NSA General Counsel: “America’s Elections are More Secure than you Think”

CNN New Day | November 1, 2020

Gerstell talks with CNN New Day’s Christi Paul about election security and disinformation two days before the November 3 general election…

Articles by Glenn

Glenn Gerstell on “Avoiding the Worst Intelligence Failure of our Time: The Reauthorization of FISA Section 702

Lawfire | September 14, 2023

“It’s hard to imagine another occasion when a senior group of national security experts has made so sweeping a statement about a failure to act. More alarming is that the prospect of such a failure is so real. This is exactly the situation Congress and the national security establishment are facing with the year-end expiration of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The statute, considered indispensable to the US Intelligence Community, allows the surveillance of foreign intelligence targets located overseas who use American email and other communications systems. Notwithstanding its crucial importance, the law is the subject of complex controversy – both old and new, and technical and political. Understanding that controversy requires a brief explanation of the statute…”


What Does the Future of National Intelligence Hold?

The Cipher Brief | August 22, 2023

Book review of The Future of National Intelligence, by Shay Hershkovitz/Rowman & Littlefield

“Over the past century, America has been warned that it was inadequately prepared for world wars, on the verge of losing the space race with the launch of Sputnik, woefully ill-equipped after the 9/11 attacks to thwart international terrorism, and more recently, moving too sluggishly to deal with technological innovation affecting many aspects of our national wellbeing. Yet if history is any guide, we’ve mostly been able to catch up and address impending threats.… Is it different this time? The technological advances relevant to the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) are now so different in scale, speed and scope that they threaten to overwhelm, if not render partly irrelevant, our foreign intelligence system. That’s the premise of The Future of National Intelligence, by Dr. Shay Hershkovitz, a respected commentator and academic who has focused on innovation and intelligence…”


How FBI Querying Under FISA Section 702 Works

Lawfare | July 10, 2023

“Since its enactment in 2008, the electronic surveillance program established under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) has been controversial, in large part because Americans who happen to be in contact with a foreign surveillance target might have their communications picked up by the U.S. Intelligence Community. This ‘incidental collection’ of Americans’ communications is seen as an inevitable byproduct of the program. But the subsequent searching for Americans’ names or email addresses in the information acquired under Section 702—even for well-intentioned and legitimate purposes—has drawn criticism…”


How Safe Would We Be Without Section 702?

The Cipher Brief | June 1, 2023

“A provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that has generated controversy around fears of the potential for abuse has proven to be crucial for America’s intelligence community in uncovering a web of fraudulent North Korean activity, which had been generating revenue for its nuclear program, according to a top State Department official…”


Biden’s New Cyber Strategy Will Acknowledge an Essential Truth: Market Forces Aren’t Enough

Barron’s | February 6, 2023

“For many of the things we depend on, government regulations keep us safe where market forces alone are insufficient. We feel confident pulling a box of pills off the shelf at the drugstore because we know the government is watching the pharmaceutical industry closely. We don’t even stop to think about it, and that’s true for many other critical products and services. But there is one major exception: the cyber and digital technology we rely on every day. That’s about to change…”


The Problem with Taking TikTok Away From Americans

New York Times | February 1, 2023

“A ban of TikTok throughout the United States, if it could actually be enacted, would immediately solve our national security concerns about the wildly popular Chinese-owned video app. But such a ban might ultimately put our national security at greater risk. Moreover, it would sidestep a broader problem…”


The Mar-a-Lago case is about national security, not politics

The Washington Post | August 31, 2022

“…the intense, politically charged focus on criminality deflects attention from a far more pernicious danger — that we fail to appreciate the national security risks posed by casually tossing government documents into moving boxes.”


Before we regulate Big Tech, let’s make sure we don’t hurt national security

The Hill | May 19, 2022

“With the laudable goals of promoting competition and outlawing unfair tactics in the online world, Congress is considering antitrust bills that would regulate how companies such as Apple, Amazon, Facebook (Meta), Google (Alphabet) and Microsoft treat other businesses that use their digital platforms. Regardless of the extent of regulation, everyone recognizes that the platforms must be kept free from malware and spyware. But some of the provisions in the bills might inadvertently undercut the ability to do that…”


I’ve Dealt With Foreign Cyberattacks. America Isn’t Ready for What’s Coming.

New York Times | March 4, 2022

“As Russian missiles rain on Ukraine, there’s another battle brewing — in the cybersphere. Destructive malware has flooded hundreds of Ukrainian websites and computers since Vladimir Putin announced his invasion. It would be a mistake to assume such attacks will remain limited to Ukrainian targets…”


Pushing Putin Won’t Solve America’s Ransomware Problem

Barron’s | July 13, 2021

“President Joe Biden has taken forceful and public efforts to address the ever-worsening scourge of Russian-based ransomware attacks. By taking ownership of the issue, however, he inadvertently reduces the pressure on the two groups that can fix the problem: Congress and the private sector…”


China Is the Elephant in the Room as Europe Targets American Tech

Barron’s | June 7, 2021

“Managing competition with an ever more assertive China isn’t expressly on the agenda for President Biden’s meetings this week with European leaders. But the issue of how best to counter China will nonetheless percolate through their deliberations, surely influencing the expected American agreement to Europe’s proposal for a new EU-U.S. Trade and Technology Council…”


There’s a Big Gap in Our Cyber Defenses. Here’s How to Close It.

Politico | April 19, 2021

“Foreign adversaries who use U.S. servers are hiding in plain sight, but we can unveil them without violating the Constitution…”


We Can Take Advantage of the Russian Hack. Here’s How.

Politico | December 22, 2020

“It’s unrealistic to think we’ll be able to detect and stop every future attack; yet there are bolder steps the government can take now that will make a big difference in protecting its vital information and systems and aiding the private sector…”


The National-Security Case for Fixing Social Media

The New Yorker | November 13, 2020

“On Wednesday, July 15th, shortly after 3 p.m., the Twitter accounts of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Warren Buffett, Michael Bloomberg, Kanye West, and other politicians and celebrities began behaving strangely…”


Among the Election Winners: Disinformation, By a Landslide

Barron’s | November 3, 2020

“The Election Day results aren’t all in, but already there are three clear winners: disinformation by a landslide, early voting by a clear majority, and governmental security steps by a significant margin…”


America’s Elections Are More Secure Than You Think

Barron’s | October 30, 2020

“Chances are we will soon look back on the 2020 elections as the most secure in our history. There will probably be delays, disputes, and disinformation. But actual large-scale chicanery with the balloting or tabulation won’t be among the problems…”


To Prevent the Next Pandemic, Global Spy Agencies Must Join Forces With the WHO

Newsweek | June 8, 2020 (co-authored with Jamie Metzl)

“To prevent this type of total systems failure from happening again, we need a better way to stop deadly pathogenic outbreaks in their tracks at the earliest moment. The bad news is that we can’t do that under the current global health system. The good news is that the solution is within our grasp…”


Public Surveillance to Keep Us Healthy and Protect Our Privacy

Center for Strategic and International Studies | April 16, 2020

“If the Black Death in 1348 and the Spanish Flu in 1918 accelerated existing but nascent societal trends, what developments will the Covid-19 pandemic jump-start? While some developments will be revealed only retrospectively, one is immediately manifest: public health requirements will force us to decide just how much technology-fueled surveillance we really want…”


Four ways U.S. intelligence efforts should change in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic

The Washington Post | April 7, 2020

“While intelligence professionals must continue working as usual during the coronavirus crisis, their jobs must change post-crisis in four fundamental ways: The scope of mission must be broadened; public information relied on much more; taxpayer dollars used with greater effectiveness; and our battle against foreign disinformation intensified…”


I Work for the N.S.A. We Cannot Afford to Lose the Digital Revolution

The New York Times | September 10, 2019

“The threats of cyberattack and hypersonic missiles are two examples of easily foreseeable challenges to our national security posed by rapidly developing technology. It is by no means certain that we will be able to cope with those two threats, let alone the even more complicated and unknown challenges presented by the general onrush of technology — the digital revolution or so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution — that will be our future for the next few decades…”

Profiles of Glenn

What Does it Take to Lead NSA’s Legal Team?

ADD Docket | July 29, 2020

“It is an organization both respected and feared: the US National Security Agency (NSA). From its humble beginnings as a US Army unit charged with decrypting enemy codes during World War I, today’s NSA stands at the forefront of technology, privacy, and national security issues. It has played crucial roles in protecting the United States from foreign threats. But the NSA’s mass surveillance programs, as authorized by statutes such as the US Patriot Act, have also spawned great alarm. In an agency subject to increasing public scrutiny, what does it take to lead the NSA’s Office of General Counsel?”…read more


The Cybersecurity 202: Government may be too slow to tackle cyberthreats, outgoing NSA attorney warns

The Washington Post | February 3, 2020

“New forms of ‘unconventional’ thinking are critical when it comes to the risks of hacking threats from China and other U.S. adversaries on American systems. The speed at which technology advances cannot be underestimated, nor can the threat that hacks pose to American national privacy and security. 30 year old laws and regulations on cybersecurity and tech firms will need to be updated soon, before technology fully outpaces legislation…” read more


NSA’s top lawyer on surveillance and new challenges coming with 5G network

CBS News | April 3, 2019

“The inherent legal, ethical, and societal implications implicit in the advent of 5G networks and other rapid technological changes are immense, and new rounds of privacy definitions and considerations must follow with due diligence if the US is to keep up with the changes. Gerstell also explains the NSA’s new take on transparency in the era of agencies and corporations being held accountable by audiences across the globe, and how they plan to navigate the space between keeping information safe and secure, and align sure the American public’s constitutional rights remain protected…” read more


Transcript: Glenn Gerstell talks with Michael Morell on “Intelligence Matters”

CBS News | Intelligence Matters podcast, April 3, 2019

A discussion with Michael Morell, former Acting Director of the C.I.A.…read more


Lawyer Limelight: Glenn Gerstell

Lawdragon | November 2, 2016

Interview with Glenn Gerstell…read more