The Oath with Chuck Rosenberg

By Chuck Rosenberg, NBC News

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Subscribers: 1804
Reviews: 21

 Jan 18, 2021
great podcast!

 Jan 8, 2021

 Aug 14, 2020

Constance LaRussa
 Nov 2, 2019
Chuck Rosenberg/Jeremy Bash: Just listened to this podcast and must tell you how interesting and informatie this podcast is !! Thank you all for this wonderful info. But please - is this the Leon Panetta who is drop dead loyal to Trump??

Thomas Hodson
 Nov 1, 2019
Fascinating stories of career Patriots of character .


Listen in on revealing and thoughtful conversations with fascinating men and women who took an oath to support and defend our Constitution and our nation – leaders in law enforcement, the military, the intelligence community, and many more. What inspired these people? What drew them to this work? How did they overcome adversity and failure? And what are the lessons for our country and our democracy as we move forward? These captivating stories exemplify what is best about our nation: integrity, civility, service, humility, and collective responsibility.

Episode Date
Frank Figliuzzi: The FBI Way

Frank Figliuzzi grew up in southern Connecticut, but with his eyes and ears tuned to the nearby New York City media market and to enthralling stories of mob busting FBI agents. Those amazing tales made a big impression on a young Frank. As an 11-year-old, he wrote a letter to a senior FBI special agent, asking how he could one day join their ranks. To this day, he still has the personal reply that he received, encouraging him to pursue that dream.

Back then, the FBI primarily hired attorneys and accountants to become special agents, and so Frank later went to law school, to polish his resume for the FBI. It worked, and in 1987, after graduating from the FBI Academy, Frank was assigned to the Atlanta field office, where he began a career working – among other things – counterintelligence cases.  

In counterintelligence work, the FBI tries to identify and neutralize threats from foreign intelligence services that seek to steal our military, economic, and trade secrets. Our adversaries also attempt to recruit US persons and to turn them against our own country. In this episode, Frank describes the vital work he did in counterintelligence, including how his recruitment of a double agent from another country to assist the United States, came to a sudden halt when the FBI and the United States was betrayed by one of its own – Robert Hanssen – a disgraced former FBI special agent now serving a life sentence in a federal prison for espionage. It is a fascinating and disturbing story.

Frank’s long and distinguished career in the FBI, took him to many different places – San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Cleveland. Among the most challenging posts he held was in the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility, where he imposed discipline – including dismissal – on men and women who violated the FBI’s strict code of conduct – decisions that were often agonizingly difficult but necessary to preserve the integrity of the organization.

At the end of his FBI career, Frank ran the Counterintelligence Division of the FBI, and instituted important changes to ensure that intelligence analysts and special agents worked more closely together to protect our nation from relentless foreign adversaries.

Frank was a thoughtful and principled leader and has written eloquently about his time at the FBI and about its core principles – such as compassion, credibility, and consistency – in his new book, The FBI Way.

If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at

Find the transcript and all our previous episodes at 

Jan 13, 2021
Matt Olsen: The Line

Matt Olsen held so many important and difficult jobs in federal law enforcement and national security that it is hard to know where to begin.  A son of North Dakota and a graduate of the University of Virginia and Harvard Law School, Matt worked as a civil rights prosecutor, an Assistant United States Attorney, on the staff of FBI Director Bob Mueller, as the Executive Director of the Guantanamo Review Task Force, as the General Counsel of the National Security Agency, and as the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center.

Though we could dedicate an episode to his work in any one of those posts, his work as a civil rights prosecutor – fresh out of a judicial clerkship – was fascinating and vital.  There, he focused on enforcing the Voting Rights Act – a landmark civil rights statute – in several southern states to ensure that minority citizens were not disenfranchised.  

Later, appointed by Attorney General Eric Holder to lead the Guantanamo Review Task Force, Matt found that assignment to be among his most challenging and difficult.  In that role, it was his responsibility to try to meet one of President Obama’s earliest stated objectives – to close the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay within the president’s first year in office.  That, as Matt describes, turned out to be an enormously complex task – a conundrum given the population there and the difficult decisions that had to be made about who should be released, who should be tried – either in a civilian court or in a military commission setting – and who could neither be tried nor released.  The process that Matt and his team built to inform those decisions was serious and thoughtful, but the task was inordinately complex and the headwinds that his task force confronted – political and practical – were fierce.  

Matt also served as the General Counsel for the National Security Agency – the leading signals intelligence agency in the world, and one of the most important sources of information for U.S. national security officials.  That job required striking a balance on uncertain and often shifting legal terrain.  One one hand, Matt was keenly aware of – and devoted to – his duty to the Constitution and to the laws that govern intelligence collection.  He knew his lawyers and NSA operators should never cross “the line” and that it was therefore crucial that they understood where the line was and not get too close to it.  On the other hand, Matt clearly understood the need to confront dangerous and relentless counterterrorism and counterintelligence adversaries because of the harm they could inflict on U.S. persons and our national security interests.  He approached this job – and this balancing act – in a careful, ethical, and deliberate manner. 

Matt Olsen was a thoughtful and principled public servant, a gifted leader, and a true expert on national security.  He is also humble, kind, and deeply thoughtful about the proper role the government should play to secure our nation and protect its citizens while honoring its commitment to civil rights and civil liberties.

If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at

Find the transcript and all our previous episodes at 

Jan 06, 2021
Mike Bush: Kia Ora

Mike Bush, the former Commissioner of the New Zealand Police, served for more than four decades in law enforcement – starting as an 18-year-old constable, serving as a detective, and promoting up through the ranks of this highly professional and respected organization.  

The population of New Zealand is roughly five million people.  About one in six New Zealanders are of Maori descent – an indigenous Polynesian community – and that community has historically been underserved.  Building ties to the Maori community was a priority for Mike, as was recruiting more citizens of Maori descent to the department, so that the New Zealand Police better reflected the diversity of the country.

One of the initiatives Mike developed and promoted as Commissioner was something he called “Prevention First” – to change the focus of policing from a model of locking people up to a model of early intervention, designed to prevent crime in the first place.  Mike knew that gave his officers more of an opportunity to help people and to keep them safe.   

The New Zealand Police have long been leaders in community policing.  More than half a century ago, the New Zealand Police dropped the word “force” from their name and to this day their officers do not routinely carry firearms.  The New Zealand Police have a well-deserved reputation for integrity and decency, and Mike describes their efforts to earn and preserve that reputation and to serve the diverse communities in his country.  

Though violent crime is relatively rare, Mike investigated some of the biggest and most interesting cases in New Zealand history, including the successful recovery of a five-year-old girl who had been kidnapped, and a cold case investigation of a young murdered woman, solved through ingenious forensic work.  

And, while posted overseas for part of his career, Mike was a first responder to the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami that struck Thailand – where he was stationed – and many other south east Asian nations, killing almost one quarter of a million people.  Mike describes how law enforcement officers from around the world responded to that horrific tragedy.

Mike Bush had a fascinating career in the New Zealand Police, ultimately running the service and leading its 13,500 men and women.  He helped transform policing in his nation, and is widely regarded as a visionary law enforcement professional.

If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at

Find the transcript and all our previous episodes at

Dec 30, 2020
Heather Penney: Lucky

Heather Penney was born in Tucson, Arizona, the daughter of a fighter pilot.  Flying was in her blood, and Heather earned her own pilot’s license while studying as an English major at Purdue University.  Heather harbored a dream of being a fighter pilot, like her dad, except that there was one problem: back then, women were not allowed to fly in combat.  

Fortunately for Heather and for the nation, Congress removed the combat exclusion for aviation while she was in graduate school.  Heather immediately applied for one of these highly competitive openings, and secured a slot with the District of Columbia Air National Guard.  That changed her life.

At Air Force pilot training, Heather was the only woman in her class.  She was an excellent student and an excellent pilot but there she struggled with one particular old-school navigational skill – flying fix to fix.  To graduate – to earn her Air Force flight wings – she had to master it.

And so, she practiced and studied – including by sitting in a kitchen chair, staring at a mock cockpit hung in her closet in her apartment, a toilet plunger substituting for her control stick.  “Chair flying,” memorizing every movement, over and over, until she had it down.  With grit and practice she mastered fix to fix navigation and ultimately graduated from flight school as an F-16 pilot - a single engine supersonic fighter aircraft.  

In the late summer of 2001, Heather was a first lieutenant in the 121st Fighter Squadron, D.C. Air National Guard, stationed at Joint Base Andrews.  She had been the only woman in her Air Force flight class, and was now the only woman in her squadron.  And then, in an instant, her life almost changed again. 

On the morning of September 11, 2001, the United States was under attack.  Hijacked commercial planes had been crashed into the North and South towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and another into the Pentagon, in Arlington, Virginia.  Thousands of innocent people were dead.  One hijacked plane was still in the air.  It was headed for Washington, D.C.  

Lieutenant Penney was ordered up that late summer morning; ordered to fly a mission.  It was, she believed, the last mission she would ever fly.  It is a riveting story.  And nobody tells that story better than Heather.

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Find the transcript and all our previous episodes at

Dec 23, 2020
Jon Jarvis: Absolutely American

Jon Jarvis grew up in rural Virginia, in the magnificent Shenandoah Valley. With national forest land in his backyard he learned to love the outdoors, roaming, hunting, and fishing with his father and brother. Shortly after graduating with a degree in biology from the College of William and Mary, Jon began a four-decade career with the National Park Service that culminated in an eight-year tour of duty – from 2009 until 2017 – as its Director.

The great American author and Pulitzer Prize winner, Wallace Stegner, wrote that our “[n]ational parks are the best idea we ever had.  Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best….”   That is certainly true.  But these parks are more than the best idea we ever had.  They are spectacular sanctuaries, and they are beloved.  

From Acadia to Zion, from Yellowstone to Yosemite; from Glacier to Grand Canyon, our national parks offer breathtaking natural landscapes and seascapes.  In all, the National Park Service manages 419 national parks and historical sites that cover 84 million acres and draw 330 million annual visitors.  Jon Jarvis knows these places as well as anyone.  

Jon served in eight national parks, from his days as a ranger, through his turn as the superintendent of Wrangell–St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska – the largest park in our national system.  Wrangells, by itself, covers 13 million acres – roughly the size of six Yellowstones.  It is a place of pristine beauty and utter solitude.

What do park rangers do?  Jon’s resume includes a delightful entry that answers that question: rangers do “ranger things.” Jon fought fires, trapped bears, forded glacial rivers, rappelled off cliffs, rescued lost people, gave tours, patrolled on skis and horses, climbed mountains, hiked, and watched sunsets.  Ranger things.

From 2009 until 2017, Jon served as the Director of the National Park Service, in charge of its 22,000 employees and its 3-billion-dollar annual budget.  He is a passionate advocate for our great national park system, and knows it is both a stunning resource for us to enjoy and a gift to preserve for those who come after us.

If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at

Find the transcript and all our previous episodes at

Dec 16, 2020
Anne Milgram: A City Invincible

Anne Milgram grew up in East Brunswick, New Jersey, the daughter of a college professor and an engineer. But other relatives – including her grandfather who was a New Jersey police chief – were in law enforcement, and so Anne thought of law enforcement as the family business. Though she was to spend much of her adult life in that family business, she was not particularly interested in it growing up.  

After attending Rutgers University and New York University Law School, a clerkship with a prominent federal judge in Trenton opened her eyes to life in the courtroom. As Anne will tell you, that experience changed her journey.  

After her clerkship, she worked as a local prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for the legendary Robert Morganthau and then joined the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice, as a federal prosecutor investigating hate crimes and sex trafficking cases.  

At the age of 36, Anne’s career took a remarkable turn when the Governor of New Jersey appointed her to be that state’s Attorney General. That made her the second-youngest Attorney General in the United States, the second-youngest Attorney General in New Jersey history, and the state’s chief law enforcement officer with a staff of more than 9,000 state employees. And, because a prior Attorney General had assumed control of the Camden Police Department, she was also in charge of the police force of what she described as one of the most violent places on earth.   

Anne is a remarkably thoughtful and intelligent woman. The steps she took to reform the Camden police department – something she did with a talented and caring police chief she hired – are a model for enlightened and progressive policing.

Emblazoned on a City Hall wall in Camden is a line from the renowned poet (and Camden resident) Walt Whitman: “In a Dream, I Saw a City Invincible.” And what Camden needed was an Attorney General up to the task – passionate, dedicated, brilliant, and …. invincible. That was what they got, in Anne Milgram.

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Find the transcript and all our previous episodes at

Dec 09, 2020
Robert S. Mueller III: The Director (Part 1)

Robert S. Mueller III – Bob Mueller – is an American hero. Though best known as the sixth Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and as the Special Counsel that led the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, the story of Bob’s public service starts half a century earlier.

Bob was born in Manhattan and raised in Princeton, New Jersey. The oldest of five children, and the only boy, he was a star three sport athlete in high school and excelled in the classroom and on the lacrosse fields of Princeton, where he went to college. Following the death of a Princeton teammate in Vietnam, Bob volunteered for service there.

In 1968, after officer training, including graduation from the rigorous Army Ranger School, the Marines deployed Bob to Vietnam. There, as a young second lieutenant, he led a rifle platoon along the Demilitarized Zone. Bob did not fear death in Vietnam – though death was all around him. He feared failure, which meant he had to do all he could to ensure that the young Marines under his command survived the war and made it home.

A recipient of the Bronze Star (with valor) and the Purple Heart, Bob returned to the United States after his service in Vietnam and graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law. He became a federal prosecutor in San Francisco, and embarked on a career that would take him to the heights of federal law enforcement in this country, and to the helm of the FBI.

My interview with Bob Mueller is in two parts. The first part covers his childhood through his selection as the FBI Director. The second part, which we will publish later this season, picks up where the first interview leaves off – and covers his tenure as Director, guiding the FBI through a difficult and challenging post 9/11 world.

I should add a word about what is not in either episode – any detailed discussion of Bob’s work as Special Counsel leading the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Bob was clear when he testified before Congress about this work and his report, and that the report spoke for itself. He did not opine about his findings and does not do so here, either. One of the things I learned while working for Bob Mueller at the FBI is that you take this decent, honorable, and courageous man at his word. Because he is a man of few words, each word matters a lot and so it is worth listening carefully.

Bob shares with host Chuck Rosenberg in this first part (of a two-part interview) the story of his service in Vietnam, his time as a new federal prosecutor, and his ascent through the Justice Department to become the FBI Director. This interview with Bob Mueller is the only full one he has given since leaving public life, and it may be the only full one he gives.

If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at

Find the transcript and all our previous episodes at and read The Mueller Report at

Dec 02, 2020
Introducing: Season 4

In the Fourth Season of The Oath, Chuck Rosenberg speaks with thoughtful and inspirational men and women from the highest levels of public service – men and women who took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. At a time when our most cherished institutions are being tested, these selfless leaders light the way. This season: FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram, National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush, and Heather “Lucky” Penney, one of the first women to fly an F-16, and many more. Listen to Season Four of The Oath with Chuck Rosenberg – smart, civil, apolitical conversations – starting on December 2.

Nov 25, 2020
Captain "Sully" Sullenberger: My Aircraft

Captain Chesley Burnett Sullenberger, III (Sully) was born in Denison – a small North Texas town on the Oklahoma border.  There, as a teenager, he learned to fly a single engine prop plane off a grass strip.  A serious and talented - but shy and introverted - high school student, Sully was admitted to the highly competitive United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  When he graduated in 1973, he received the Academy’s prestigious Airmanship award as its top flyer.

Sully flew the F-4 Phantom jet fighter in the Air Force, acquiring thousands of hours of flight time, always honing his airmanship.  That ability, that skill to perceive his environment, to be situationally aware, to anticipate issues, and to solve problems – that airmanship – enabled him as a commercial airline pilot, to safely navigate a crippled passenger jet to a dramatic water landing in the Hudson River on a frigid January day in 2009.

That flight - US Airways flight 1549 – lost thrust in both engines shortly after takeoff from New York’s LaGuardia airport when it struck a flock of Canada geese.  Thanks to the remarkable skills of Sully and his co-pilot, Jeff Skiles, everyone aboard that plane survived the harrowing landing.

Sully’s story is moving – humble beginnings, exceptional hard work, exacting dedication to his craft, and a lifetime of experience and knowledge that enabled him – in a moment of unprecedented crisis – to solve one problem after another, step by step, in 208 seconds, to navigate his crippled plane to the river, and to save the lives of its 155 passengers and crew.

Sully shares with host Chuck Rosenberg fascinating insights about his childhood, his education at the United States Air Force Academy, his passion for flight, and his dedication to his craft.

Sully is also the author of two books:

Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters, with Jeffrey Zaslow (2010), and

Making a Difference: Stories of Vision and Courage from America's Leaders, with Douglas Century (2013)

If you have thoughtful feedback or questions, please email us at

Aug 06, 2020
Mike Leiter: Intelligence

Mike Leiter grew up in Englewood, New Jersey, where his extraordinary public service career began early – in high school – when he worked as an Emergency Medical Technician.  After graduating from Columbia University, Mike served as a Naval Flight Officer before attending Harvard Law School, where he was one of only four military veterans in his class of more than 500 students.  At Harvard, Mike was elected President of the prestigious Harvard Law Review – a job once held by Barack Obama.

After clerking on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit for Judge Michael Boudin and then on the United States Supreme Court for Justice Stephen Breyer, Mike worked as a federal prosecutor.  He left that job to become a key staffer on the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Commission - which examined substantial US Intelligence Community failures in the lead up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Ultimately, Mike directed the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) under Presidents Bush and Obama – the organization responsible for analyzing terrorism threats against the United States and its interests, at home and abroad.

Mike shares with host Chuck Rosenberg fascinating insights on the US intelligence community, as someone who studied it on the WMD commission and as someone who ran a vital part of it at NCTC.  You can find a link to the final report of the WMD Commission here:

And you can read Mike's Washington Post Op Ed here:

If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at

Jul 29, 2020
Amy Hess: Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity

Amy Hess dreamed – as a child – of being an astronaut.  A star student and athlete in high school, she studied aeronautical and astronautical engineering at Purdue – though poor eyesight dashed her NASA dreams.  Instead, Amy got her start in the FBI as a special agent in Kansas City, working violent crime.  She rose quickly through FBI ranks to run the Memphis and Louisville field offices, and to run two large FBI divisions at headquarters, where she oversaw FBI technology in one job and the FBI’s criminal and cyber work, in another.  Those jobs made her the highest-ranking woman in FBI history.  Today, Amy is back home as the Chief of Public Safety for Louisville, Kentucky – across the Ohio River from the small Indiana town in which she grew up.

Following the tragic March 13 shooting of Breonna Taylor in Louisville this year, and after we recorded this episode, Amy was named to lead police reform efforts in that city – to reduce use of force incidents, to review police policies and training, and to make recommendations on police disciplinary matters by establishing an Independent Civilian Review Board.

Amy shares with host Chuck Rosenberg fascinating stories of her work as an FBI special agent, including at the site of the horrific 1995 domestic terrorism attack at the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at

Jul 22, 2020
Fiona Hill: Fortitude

Fiona Hill is the former Senior Director for Russia and Eurasia on the National Security Council.  A highly respected scholar on Russian history and culture, Fiona was born and raised in the industrial northeast of England.  She comes from a long line of coal miners – uncles, cousins – families, like hers, that persistently struggled with poverty.  Fiona’s father, Alfred, joined his own brother in the coal mines at the age of 14.  Her mother, June, who still lives in Bishop Auckland – was a midwife.  And though money was always tight, Fiona grew up in a loving and supportive family that strongly embraced both her desire to go to college and, ultimately, to emigrate to the United States – a place her father loved and admired and always hoped one day might be his own home.

Guided by a series of dedicated mentors and teachers, Fiona graduated from the University of Saint Andrew’s in Scotland, and then earned her Ph.D. at Harvard.  Along the way, she studied Russian history and culture and became fluent in its language.

Fiona became a naturalized American citizen in 2002 – a country that gave her opportunities that she would not have enjoyed in the UK, where the fact that she grew up poor and with a distinct working-class accent, she believes, would likely have held her back.

She served at the highest levels within the US government, on both the National Intelligence Council under Presidents Bush and Obama and, ultimately, on the National Security Council under President Trump.  Fiona is deeply respected for her expertise on Russia and Eurasia and widely admired for her honesty, courage, intellect, and fortitude.

Fiona testified in the 2019 House impeachment hearings of President Trump, and you can find a link to her written testimony here.

Fiona is also the author or co-author of three books about Russia and Vladimir Putin:

·    The Siberian Curse: How Communist Planners Left Russia Out in the Cold, with Clifford Gaddy (2003)

·    Energy Empire: Oil, Gas and Russia's Revival (2004)

·    Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin, with Clifford Gaddy (2015).

Fiona shares with host Chuck Rosenberg reflections on her extraordinary public service career and her work at the highest levels of the National Security Council.  If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at

Jul 15, 2020
Jim Miller: Hawkeye

Jim Miller is the former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy.  In that vital role – the number three position in DOD – Jim was at the forefront of some of the nation’s most important and most difficult national security issues.  As a key adviser to three Secretaries of Defense – Bob Gates, Leon Panetta, and Chuck Hagel – Jim guided reviews of nuclear weapons policy and ballistic missile defense policy, and led the formulation of national defense strategies for space and cyberspace.

Jim’s path to the Pentagon began in the middle.  As the only boy in a household of five children, Jim was raised in a middle-class family in the middle of the country – in Waterloo, Iowa.  A brilliant student and a superb athlete, Jim made his way to Stanford where a mentor inspired him and guided him into public service.

Recently, and after my interview with Jim was recorded, he resigned his position on the prestigious Defense Science Board.  In an open letter to the current Secretary of Defense, Jim noted that peaceful protesters exercising their First Amendment rights outside of the White House were dispersed “using tear gas and rubber bullets — not for the sake of safety, but to clear a path for a presidential photo op.”  Jim also wrote that though the Defense Secretary “may not have been able to stop … this appalling use of force, you could have chosen to oppose it. Instead, you visibly supported it.”  You can read Jim’s letter here: Open Letter to the Secretary of Defense, June 2, 2020

Jim is a deeply principled and talented man and he shares with host Chuck Rosenberg reflections on his extraordinary public service career and his work at the highest levels of the Pentagon.  If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at

Jul 08, 2020
Carol Lam: Her Honor

Carol Lam grew up in New Jersey, and was educated at Yale and Stanford Law School.  Soon after law school, she found a job she loved in the Justice Department – as a federal prosecutor in San Diego – where she handled complex health care fraud cases.  Though she enjoyed the work, she accepted an appointment to the California Superior Court bench from Governor Gray Davis.  Carol envisioned a long tenure as a judge – a difficult and vital job – but that changed when she became the presidentially appointed United States Attorney for the Southern District of California – the office in which she started as a prosecutor. Today, Carol plays flute with the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus, serves as a member of the Stanford University Board of Trustees, and works as an MSNBC legal analyst.

Carol shares with host Chuck Rosenberg fascinating stories of her work as a judge and a federal prosecutor and reflects on the role of prosecutors in the criminal justice system.  If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at

Jul 01, 2020
Kathy Sullivan: Spacewalker

Kathy Sullivan is an explorer and a pioneer, an oceanographer and a scientist, an astronaut and an American hero. Selected as one of the first female astronauts in NASA history, Kathy flew three missions on the space shuttle and became – in 1984 – the first American woman to walk in space. Kathy also flew on the space shuttle mission in 1990 that deployed the Hubble Space Telescope – one of the most advanced and important scientific achievements in the history of NASA. After leaving NASA, Kathy ran the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – a crucial part of the Department of Commerce – that houses, among other agencies, the National Weather Service.

In June 2020, after this episode was recorded, Kathy became the first woman to descend to the deepest spot in the ocean – a nearly seven-mile journey to the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, in the western Pacific Ocean. That makes Kathy the only person to walk in space and to dive to the ocean’s deepest known point.

Kathy is the author of a book that describes her extraordinary NASA career – Handprints on Hubble – An Astronaut’s Story of Invention.

Kathy shares with host Chuck Rosenberg fascinating stories of her work as an astronaut, the thrill of venturing into space, and the dedicated and brilliant team of men and women who make spaceflight possible. If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at

Jun 24, 2020
Vivek Murthy: The Nation’s Doctor

Vivek Murthy is a doctor and an author - a deeply thoughtful, interesting, kind, caring, and reflective medical professional - who served as the Surgeon General of the United States.  As Surgeon General, Vivek was also a Vice-Admiral in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.   In that role, and after an exhaustive listening tour throughout the country at the beginning of his tenure as the “Nation’s Doctor,” Vivek realized that loneliness is a pervasive medical issue in the United States, and that it is both a cause of – and a consequence of – chronic illness.  In his powerful and illuminating new book, Together, he explores the role of loneliness in society and its relationship to chronic illness, and prescribes ways that we can identify it, think about it, and counter it.  Vivek was born in England and raised in Miami, and is a graduate of Harvard University and Yale Medical School.  

Vivek shares with host Chuck Rosenberg reflections on his work as the Surgeon General of the United States – the “Nation’s Doctor” – and important insights into his research on the connection between loneliness and chronic illness.  If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at

Jun 17, 2020
Maya Wiley: Racial Justice

Maya Wiley is a brilliant and powerful woman who has spent her professional life at the intersection of law, education, and policy. Born into both privilege and poverty – the child of two prominent civil rights activists, Maya grew up in a loving and intact home and, yet, in a broken educational system. And if that seems contradictory, Maya explains why it is not.  

Educated at Dartmouth and Columbia, Maya served in city government and in the federal government, at the United States Department of Justice. Her most recent turn in public service put her in charge of the Civilian Complaint Review Board – the independent oversight agency of the New York City Police Department – the largest police force in the nation. This gave Maya a unique perspective on policing in America – particularly, what we need to do as a nation to address police misconduct, to improve policing, and to build bridges between police and the communities they are sworn to serve. Maya’s moving story is one of struggle and success, of love and tragedy, of friends and mentors and, always, of the pursuit of justice, dignity, and equality for all. 

Maya shares with host Chuck Rosenberg reflections on her extraordinary public service career and her work at the forefront of the civil rights movement. If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at

Jun 10, 2020
Leon Panetta: Worthy Fights

Leon Panetta is one of the most distinguished and most accomplished public servants in American history.  Leon was born and raised in Monterey, California, the place where his father – an Italian immigrant and the youngest of 13 children – ultimately settled.  Carmelo Panetta could not have dreamed that his son, Leon, would serve eight terms in the Congress of the United States, as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, as the White House Chief of Staff, as the Director of the CIA, and as the Secretary of Defense.  It has been a remarkable career and a remarkable life for Leon Panetta – a kind, humble, thoughtful, intelligent, and considerate man.  I had the chance to interview Leon in his office at the Panetta Institute, on the campus of Cal State University – Monterey Bay – with his dog Bubba and his dog-in-law Copper, by his side.  

Leon shares with host Chuck Rosenberg reflections on his extraordinary and distinguished career in public service.  He is also the author of the book, Worthy Fights.  If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at

Jun 03, 2020
Introducing: Season 3

An oath is a solemn promise to serve a purpose greater than oneself. Now, that promise is more important than ever. In the third season of The Oath, Chuck Rosenberg speaks with people from many walks of life who served at the highest levels of public service. This season: Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, NASA astronaut Kathryn Sullivan, and former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. Listen to season 3 of The Oath starting on June 3.

May 27, 2020
A Message from Chuck Rosenberg

A brief message from Chuck Rosenberg about the upcoming third season of The Oath, and a heartfelt thank you to our listeners.

Apr 23, 2020
Roberta Jacobson: The Ambassador
Roberta Jacobson was the United States Ambassador to Mexico from 2016 through 2018.   A graduate of Brown University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Roberta became an expert on the Americas and particularly on Mexico during her more than three decades of public service at the State Department. She enjoyed postings in Argentina and Peru, served as the Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, and led the US delegation that reestablished formal diplomatic ties with Cuba, at the behest of President Obama, in 2016.   But Mexico was her focus. She was deeply respected on both sides of the border for her integrity, intellect, diligence, and brought a passion for Mexico and its history and people to her post.    In this episode, Roberta talks to Chuck Rosenberg about the role of the State Department in foreign policy and international affairs and the vital work of the men and women dedicated to this crucial mission. She also discusses our relationship with Mexico and the challenges faced by both sides as we move forward.   As usual, if you have thoughtful feedback or criticism please email us at 
Nov 13, 2019
John Pistole: Full Circle
John Pistole’s remarkable life has come full circle. A career FBI special agent who rose through the ranks to become the Deputy Director (the second highest official in the Bureau), John held that crucial and sensitive position longer than anyone in the history of the FBI and, in his case, under iconic Director Robert Mueller. Though John imagined that would be his last job in public service, President Obama tapped him in 2010 to serve as the head of the Transportation Security Administration - an agency John led for almost five years and through significant change. Raised in Anderson, Indiana, on the campus of Anderson University - where his father and sister both taught - John has since returned to his alma mater to serve as the President of Anderson University. Indeed, his life has come full circle. On The Oath, John shares fascinating stories of his work as an FBI special agent, of working with and for Bob Mueller after 9/11, and of reforming the TSA, including the use of intelligence assessments and risk mitigation strategies to drive TSA operations. If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at
Nov 06, 2019
Jeremy Bash: Central Intelligence
MSNBC national security analyst, Jeremy Bash has an extensive background in intelligence and national security affairs at the highest levels of the United States Government. After graduating from Georgetown University and Harvard Law School, he clerked for a federal judge before serving on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He then served as Chief-of-Staff to Leon Panetta, both at the Central Intelligence Agency (where Panetta served as the Director) and at the Department of Defense (where Panetta served as the Secretary of Defense). Jeremy tells host Chuck Rosenberg some fascinating stories of time in the CIA, including the tragic 2009 murder of seven CIA personnel at Camp Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan, and the riveting account of the operation to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at
Oct 30, 2019
Bob Paulson: The Mountie
After a remarkable career in law enforcement, Bob Paulson retired as the 23rd Commissioner of the iconic Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Bob explains the RCMP, also known as The Mounties, and its unique mandate as national, provincial, and municipal law enforcement in Canada. It's also responsible for three territories, eight provinces, more than 150 municipalities, and more than 600 Indigenous communities. On The Oath, Bob discusses his stalled career as a Royal Canadian Air Force pilot and his transition to policing. Bob rose quickly through the enlisted and officer ranks of The Mounties, where he stood out as a thoughtful, intelligent, and selfless leader. As host Chuck Rosenberg’s first international guest on The Oath, Bob discusses the RCMP’s shameful past in connection with Canada’s notorious residential schools and the painful reconciliation that took place in Canada and within the RCMP many years later. If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at
Oct 23, 2019
James Stavridis: Fair Winds and Following Seas
James Stavridis retired from the United States Navy as a four-star admiral and Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, the only Navy Admiral ever to serve in that crucial role. His retelling of his work in NATO, including its special design, challenges, and impact, is essential for anyone interested in global affairs. Jim also tells host Chuck Rosenberg some fascinating tales of his time in the Navy. During his service, Jim rotated through some of the most difficult and sensitive jobs in the military. In one recounting of mistakes made and lessons learned at sea, Jim remembers almost running a destroyer aground in the Suez Canal as a young officer. The result is a remarkable study in humility and leadership. A graduate of the United States Naval Academy and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Jim is the acclaimed author of four books: The Accidental Admiral, Sea Power, Destroyer Captain, The Leader’s Bookshelf (with R. Manning Ancell) and most recently, Sailing True North. If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, email us at
Oct 16, 2019
Anthony Williams: The Mayor
Anthony Williams's path to becoming the fifth mayor of Washington, D.C. was circuitous. During the Vietnam years, Williams left college to join the Air Force, ultimately leaving the service as a conscientious objector. He was given an honorable discharge in 1974 and went on to graduate magna cum laude with a BA in Political Science from Yale College. Williams then earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a Master’s in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Anthony served in local and state governments in Boston, St. Louis, and Connecticut, before President Clinton appointed him as the first Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Anthony became the CFO for the District of Columbia, before becoming mayor of the District and rescuing the city from the brink of financial ruin. If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at 
Oct 09, 2019
Joyce Vance: Sweet Home
Joyce Vance was an Assistant United States Attorney in Alabama for many years. Rising through the ranks in Birmingham, she was confirmed by the Senate as United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. She handled a wide variety of fascinating cases, including one in which the police preyed on vulnerable immigrants in a small Alabama town.  Her path to public service was borne partly of tragedy. In 1989, her father-in-law and federal appellate judge Robert Vance, was murdered by a mail bomb. That event set Joyce Vance on her path to federal prosecutor in her adopted home of Birmingham.  Joyce is also an avid knitter and a well-known contributor of legal analysis to MSNBC.  Email us any thoughtful feedback at 
Oct 02, 2019
Kathy Ruemmler: The Counsel
Kathy Ruemmler served for three years as White House Counsel to President Barack Obama. She advised the President on numerous complex issues and helped usher the Affordable Care Act into law. A graduate of the University of Washington and Georgetown Law School, Ruemmler was a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and one of the Enron Task Force lead prosecutors. In one of the most complicated and brazen cases in US history, Ruemmler convicted former Enron executives Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling of corporate fraud. In this episode, Kathy Ruemmler talks about her distinguished work in public service and return to private practice. As always, if you have thoughtful feedback, please email us at 
Sep 25, 2019
William McRaven: Send Me
In this episode, Chuck Rosenberg interviews William McRaven, the former Commander of the United States Special Operations Command. McRaven retired from the US Navy as the longest serving Navy SEAL in American history. A Four-Star Admiral, McRaven played a crucial role in some of the most difficult special operations in US military history: the capture of Saddam Hussein and the killing of Osama bin Laden. McRaven is also the author of three books – Spec Ops, Make Your Bed (based on his famous graduation speech at the University of Texas which you may watch here) and Sea Stories. McRaven's personal story of courage, humility, and second chances is a deeply moving one. As always, email us with any thoughtful feedback at
Sep 18, 2019
Rob Spencer: Remember
On September 11, 2001, Assistant United States Attorney Rob Spencer sat in his Alexandria, Virginia office – five miles from the Pentagon – waiting to meet an FBI agent about a new extortion case. The al Qaeda attacks that day changed his life, as it changed the lives of so many people in this country.  Rob, a career federal prosecutor with deep experience in national security cases, was tasked to lead the team of extraordinary prosecutors and agents from New York and Virginia who teamed up in the case against 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person ever charged and convicted in a US courtroom for his role in those horrific attacks.  Rob describes the investigation and prosecution of that remarkable, complex, and emotional case. Rob also discusses the prodigious efforts to reach out to victim families to give them a voice in the proceedings, and helps us to remember those we lost – and those we continue to lose – as a result of the 9/11 attacks.  For more, please read the 9/11 Commission Report at As always, email us with any thoughtful feedback or comments at
Sep 10, 2019
Preview: Season 2
An oath is a promise to faithfully serve our country and our fellow citizens. This season: Rob Spencer, the former federal prosecutor who led the 9/11 case; Four-star Admiral William McRaven – a Navy SEAL for 37 years and the Commander of the US Joint Special Operations Command; Kathy Ruemmler, Enron prosecutor and White House Counsel to President Barack Obama; Joyce Vance, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama; Retired four-star Admiral Jim Stavridis, the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO …and many more honorable men and women who faithfully serve our country. Listen to season 2 of The Oath on September 10th.
Sep 09, 2019
James Comey: Upward Sloping Line
James Comey discusses his return to public service as a federal prosecutor in Richmond, Virginia, his approach to violent crime and public corruption in that city, and how the prosecution of a Richmond minister later informed his decision in the Martha Stewart case. James also describes a deeply personal and tragic loss, and the remarkable insights he gleaned working for and with three presidents: Bush, Obama, and Trump. He also discusses his Hard Truths speech, which you can find a transcript of here. James, the former Director of the FBI and United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, is back on The Oath for the second half of our conversation – and the last episode in our first season. James is also the author of the best-selling book, A Higher Loyalty. As always, we appreciate your thoughtful feedback. Write to us at
Jun 26, 2019
Patrick Fitzgerald: The Right Thing
Former colleagues routinely describe Pat Fitzgerald as the finest federal prosecutor they have ever known. Humble, honest, and brilliant, Pat served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Manhattan for more than a decade, before becoming the United States Attorney–the chief federal prosecutor–in Chicago. Pat discusses with Chuck Rosenberg the fascinating cutting edge work of FBI agents and prosecutors in New York on pre 9/11 terrorism cases, including the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, the 1998 East Africa embassy bombings, and the first Al Qaeda operative to turn on that organization and to cooperate with law enforcement. Pat also shares riveting stories of New York Mafia prosecutions and reflects on the violent crime and gang issues that continue to afflict Chicago. Pat’s connections to the victims of the embassy bombing in Kenya continue to this day, through his work on the School of Hope Foundation. To get involved or make a donation visit As always, email us with any thoughtful feedback or comments at
Jun 19, 2019
Barbara McQuade: Greed and Power
Barbara McQuade served as a federal prosecutor in Detroit for nearly two decades, first as an Assistant United States Attorney and then as the Senate confirmed United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. On The Oath, Barb discusses some of the most important and interesting cases she handled, including the horrific story of Dr. Farid Fata, an oncologist, who deceived hundreds of his patients by falsely diagnosing them with cancer and then treating them with expensive and unnecessary chemotherapy. Barb also discusses her prosecution of three Iraqi spies, an incorrigibly corrupt mayor, and a scheme that enabled Volkswagen to brazenly cheat on emissions tests, using deliberately rigged software to undermine the testing process. Barb currently teaches law at her alma mater, the University of Michigan, and is a popular legal analyst on MSNBC. You can follow Barb on Twitter at @BarbMcQuade, If you have thoughtful feedback, email us at 
Jun 12, 2019
Nicolle Wallace: Lottery Tickets
Nicolle Wallace has had a fascinating career at the intersection of journalism, politics, and public service. The popular host of MSNBC’s Deadline White House, Nicolle talks about her first jobs as a reporter for television stations in Fargo, North Dakota and Chico, California, her work in Florida politics for Governor Jeb Bush, and her two stints working for President George W. Bush in the White House. From her perspective as Communications Director for President Bush, she discusses her deep affection for the Bush family, the extraordinary women that helped shape the Bush 43 presidency, and the many challenges the president faced during his two terms in office, including in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. As she does each day on television, Nicolle brings her wisdom, wit, and insight to The Oath. Nicolle is the author of three best-selling novels that draw on her experiences working in the White House: Eighteen Acres, Madam President, and It’s Classified. Questions? Comments? Thoughtful feedback? Email the show at
Jun 05, 2019
Sally Yates: Decisions
Sally Yates rose through the ranks of the Justice Department over the course of a 27-year career to serve as the Deputy Attorney General of the United States–the second highest ranking position in DOJ. Through a series of deeply personal and fascinating stories, Sally shares her journey from young lawyer representing an indigent African American woman in a land dispute, to line federal prosecutor responsible for the prosecution of Atlanta Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph, to United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. On The Oath, Sally also discusses her role as Deputy Attorney General and her remarkable ten-day tenure as the Acting Attorney General of the United States, during which she commanded the Justice Department to refrain from enforcing a travel ban ordered by President Trump, directed at individuals from predominantly Muslim countries. Sally’s principled stance led the president to fire her for insubordination.  Email the show at
May 29, 2019
James Baker: Going Dark
Jim Baker ran the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review at the Justice Department both before and after 9/11 – the office responsible for handling extraordinarily sensitive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications. On The Oath, Jim discusses the FISA process and the ethical obligations of lawyers in that important unit that appear before federal judges ex parte (without opposing counsel) to obtain court-ordered authorization to conduct surveillance in crucial national security cases. Jim also talks about his work as the General Counsel of the FBI and several fascinating issues that arose during his tenure, including the debate over encryption following the San Bernardino terrorist attack, the “Going Dark” problem, and how the FBI addressed a difficult issue that affected the work of the storied FBI Laboratory. Jim is the Director of National Security and Cybersecurity at the R Street Institute and teaches at Harvard Law School. Email the show at
May 22, 2019
Lisa Monaco: Dr. Doom
Lisa Monaco’s last job in public service was as the Homeland Security Adviser to President Barack Obama – a position that exposed her to some of the most difficult and perplexing issues in the nation, though she has held many fascinating and important jobs in government. A graduate of Harvard College and the University of Chicago School of Law, Lisa worked on the staff of Attorney General Janet Reno, as a federal prosecutor in the District of Columbia, on the Enron Task Force, as the FBI Chief of Staff under Director Bob Mueller, and as the head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. Lisa discusses on The Oath the duties and responsibilities of federal prosecutors, the work of the FBI, the qualities of good leaders and the value of good mentors, and the privilege of working in the White House for President Obama. Lisa is a legal analyst for CNN and a professor at the NYU School of Law.  Email the show at
May 15, 2019
Andrew McCabe: Crisis Response
Andrew McCabe served as the Deputy Director – and briefly the Acting Director – of the FBI at the end of a fascinating career in federal law enforcement. A graduate of Duke University and the Washington University School of Law, Andrew shares his experience as a new agent at the FBI Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia and his early work fighting Russian organized crime on the streets of New York City. After 9/11, Andy’s focus – and the focus of the FBI – shifted to counterterrorism. On The Oath, Andrew examines that shift, including how then FBI Director Bob Mueller led the work of the FBI, the difference between “muscling” and “targeting,” and the Bureau’s successful rapport-building approach to interviews. As the Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division in 2013, he also describes the FBI’s remarkable hunt to catch the killers responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing. Andy is the author of the best-selling book, The Threat.  Email the show at
May 08, 2019
Preet Bharara: Doing Justice
Preet Bharara served as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, a storied office with a reputation for prosecuting some of the biggest and most interesting cases in the country. In that role, Preet led numerous high-profile financial fraud and public corruption investigations. A graduate of Harvard College and Columbia Law School, Preet also worked as an Assistant United States Attorney – a line prosecutor – in that same office.  His new book, Doing Justice, is a thoughtful and compelling reflection on his time in the Justice Department, the victims he helped, the agents and prosecutors with whom he worked, and the difficult judgment calls and dilemmas they tackled as they endeavored to do justice.  Today he’s the host of “Stay Tuned with Preet,” a weekly podcast featuring interviews with people from the world of law, politics, and journalism. On today’s episode, we discuss the rule of law, public conceptions – and misconceptions – about criminal justice, fascinating cases, and the way that good agents and prosecutors strive to meet their obligations.  Email the show at
Apr 30, 2019
James Comey: Mobsters and Monsters
James Comey served as the Director of the FBI (until he was fired by President Trump), the Deputy Attorney General of the United States, and the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York – at the very highest levels of the Justice Department.  A Yonkers, New York native, James discusses on The Oath his police chief grandfather, being bullied as a child, a harrowing experience as a crime victim, and how those experiences propelled him into a career in federal law enforcement, including as a mob prosecutor in Manhattan.  James is the author of the best-selling book, A Higher Loyalty. Thoughtful criticism? Feedback? Questions? Email us at
Apr 30, 2019
Introducing: The Oath with Chuck Rosenberg
The Oath with Chuck Rosenberg, is a series of revealing, one-on-one conversations with thoughtful former American public officials from the highest levels of government service shaping this pivotal moment in American history. Led by MSNBC Contributor and former U.S. Attorney and senior FBI official Chuck Rosenberg, the discussions explore the experiences that shaped these leaders, what drew them to public service, the dilemmas they’ve encountered throughout their careers, and what keeps them up at night.
Apr 25, 2019