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Behind the Curtain Series: Panel, Cybersecurity, Russian Interference, and the Midterm Elections

Thursday, November 1, 2018 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Reception to follow
Registration is required
Members $20 and Non-members $30

Cybersecurity, Russian Interference, and the Midterm Elections

Robert Mook, Jeff Pegues, Debora Plunkett, and David Sanger

With Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections and the mounting concern over further interference in the 2018 midterm elections, questions of our nation's cybersecurity abound as voters prepare to head to the ballot box. How can we apply intelligence and policy to limit meddling in our elections and our culture at large?  What have we learned from the 2016 elections so far, and what else should we be learning? What is already being done in the field of cybersecurity to defend our digital democracy? Join us for a panel discussion with political strategist Robby Mook, cybersecurity expert Debora Plunkett, and Chief Washington Correspondent for the New York Times David Sanger, moderated by CBS News Justice and Homeland Security Correspondent Jeff Pegues as they address concerns relating to cybersecurity, international relations—specifically those with Russia—and our upcoming midterm elections.

Robby Mook is a nationally recognized political strategist, who has organized winning organizations at the local, state and national level.  Mook served as Campaign Manager for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, where he built a $1 billion, 50-state, 4,500-person organization. He also ran Terry McAuliffe’s winning campaign for Governor of Virginia, U.S. Jeanne Shaheen’s first winning campaign for U.S. Senate, and led the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2012, when Democrats gained 8 seats. Mook is now a senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a CNN contributor.


Jeff Pegues is the author of Black and Blue: Inside the Divide between the Police and Black America and Kompromat: How Russia Undermined American Democracy. He is the justice and homeland security correspondent for CBS News. In this capacity he has participated in closed-door interviews with former FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson. In the aftermath of Michael Brown's death in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, Pegues orchestrated an interview with the chiefs of police representing four major U.S. cities. In 2015, he covered all angles of the Charleston, South Carolina, church killings, beginning with the manhunt for the suspect and culminating with a special report analyzing President Obama's eulogy at the funeral of State Senator Clementa Pinckney. Previous to joining CBS News, Pegues spent ten years at WABC-TV in New York. He is the recipient of three Emmy Awards, numerous Emmy Award nominations, and the Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists.
Debora Plunkett is a cybersecurity leader with over 30 years of experience. A former director of information assurance at the National Security Agency, she is currently principal of Plunkett Associates LLC, a consulting business. She is a senior fellow at Harvard and a professor at the University of Maryland University College. Plunkett is a director on JCPenney’s Corporate Board, a member of the Strategic Advisory Board of Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems and the Advisory Board of the International Consortium for Minority Cybersecurity Professionals. She was on the National Security Council at the White House in two administrations. Plunkett earned an undergraduate degree from Towson University, an MBA from Johns Hopkins University, and an MS from the National War College.

David E. Sanger is the chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times. In twenty-six years at the Times, he has been a member of two teams that won the Pulitzer Prize and has received numerous awards for investigative, national security, and White House reporting. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and two sons.

Combining satire and and hyperbole, political cartoons and their commentary on corruption and social issues are part of our nation’s political fabric. Explore the Athenæum’s digitized collection of these witty lithographic political cartoons.


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