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The Oath with Chuck Rosenberg

Author: Chuck Rosenberg, NBC News

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Listen in on revealing conversations with fascinating men and women who took an oath to serve our nation – military and law enforcement leaders, medical professionals, an astronaut, a judge, and more. Who and what shaped them? What drew them to this work? How did they overcome adversity and failure? These captivating stories exemplify what is best about our country: integrity, civility, service, humility, and collective responsibility.

29 Episodes
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Carol Lam: Her Honor

Carol Lam: Her Honor

2020-07-0101:18:002

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 theoathpodcast@gmail.com.
Kathy Sullivan: Spacewalker

Kathy Sullivan: Spacewalker

2020-06-2401:10:281

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 theoathpodcast@gmail.com.
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 theoathpodcast@gmail.com.
Maya Wiley: Racial Justice

Maya Wiley: Racial Justice

2020-06-1001:17:188

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 theoathpodcast@gmail.com.
Leon Panetta: Worthy Fights

Leon Panetta: Worthy Fights

2020-06-0301:19:049

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 theoathpodcast@gmail.com.
A brief message from Chuck Rosenberg about the upcoming third season of The Oath, and a heartfelt thank you to our listeners.
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 theoathpodcast@gmail.com.
John Pistole: Full Circle

John Pistole: Full Circle

2019-11-0601:09:46

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 theoathpodcast@gmail.com
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 theoathpodcast@gmail.com
Bob Paulson: The Mountie

Bob Paulson: The Mountie

2019-10-2301:12:59

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 theoathpodcast@gmail.com.
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 theoathpodcast@gmail.com.
Anthony Williams: The Mayor

Anthony Williams: The Mayor

2019-10-0901:04:19

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 theoathpodcast@gmail.com.
Joyce Vance: Sweet Home

Joyce Vance: Sweet Home

2019-10-0201:00:54

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 theoathpodcast@gmail.com.
Kathy Ruemmler: The Counsel

Kathy Ruemmler: The Counsel

2019-09-2501:04:50

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 theoathpodcast@gmail.com.
William McRaven: Send Me

William McRaven: Send Me

2019-09-1801:01:371

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 theoathpodcast@gmail.com.
Rob Spencer: Remember

Rob Spencer: Remember

2019-09-1001:03:35

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 https://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report.pdf As always, email us with any thoughtful feedback or comments at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.
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 theoathpodcast@gmail.com.
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 schoolofhopekenya.org. As always, email us with any thoughtful feedback or comments at theoathpodcast@gmail.com.
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 TheOathPodcast@gmail.com.
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 theoathpodcast@gmail.com
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Comments (202)

Stephen J

That was a awesome interview, Chuck is a Master at getting compelling stories from his guest. So sad to hear about Maya's dad and having her and her brother see something so horrific happen. Very inspired listening to Maya!!!!

Jun 28th
Reply

Allan McNichol

Amazing episode that everyone should listen to!

Jun 24th
Reply

Deborah Gibson

Maya Wiley is one of my most favorite people in the world and it was so wonderful to learn more about her and the life experiences that inform her perspective on so many important current events. Thank you for doing this podcast!!

Jun 18th
Reply

Iain Robb

great episode this week. moving x

Jun 17th
Reply

Steve Smith

Mr Rosenberg. Very nice to have you back. While listening to your podcasts I am struck by the vast deficit in national leadership. Your guests certainly help to reaffirm my belief in our country and provide hope as I look to our shared future. Thank you !

Jun 13th
Reply

Kenneth Sloboda

Durham's investigation is going to end with your season 1 headliner going to prison...

Jun 11th
Reply

Debra Dukes

Chuck Absolutely amazing Podcasts and they say to watch out for the quiet one's and that's what comes to mind when I Listened to Lisa truly enjoyed Also Admire, And many come to mind, But there is one that was not so quiet and loved watching was Donna Brazile who I read her book truly amazing Women. And I also realize many that have been around when Barack Obama's Term. I loved every Podcast I have listened to so far very impressed. I like whoever Recommended your Podcast to me. Especially the amazing Ladies.Thanks so much for sharing Deb✌

Jun 10th
Reply

Debra Dukes

Truly amazing Podcast anyone who lived through these days in 911 will never forget and be the same can't imagine dealing with additional terrorist attacks after that.Thanks so much for sharing and much Respect.And Appreciation for your hard work Deb.✌

Jun 10th
Reply

Debra Dukes

Chuck and Preet absolutely enjoyed this podcast and Preet is right there are some who are Victims of other people Consequences.We need many more people like Preet in the world. I so need to catch up on your Podcasts as well.What a truly great Podcast.Look forward to reading your Book too.Thanks for sharing both, Deb.❤👌👍🏼✌

Jun 10th
Reply

Barbara Walker

Excellent!! I am so glad you are continuing to do your Podcasts. I look forward to each one, to learn about people, and hear their stories. One sees these people on TV or read about them and they are just people doing important jobs. You have the ability and talent to make seem approachable. As veteran, I really appreciate the stories of our Military leaders. Thank you for what you are doing Barbara Walker

Jun 6th
Reply

Phillip Harkin

I'm so happy that this podcast is back

Jun 3rd
Reply

Pete Jackson King

I am sorry Mr. Poneta. There is NEVER an excuse for torture. No matter how many times you call it "inhansed interrogation"!!

Jun 3rd
Reply (1)

Debra Dukes

Very interesting Thanks so much for sharing Deb👍🏼✌

Jun 3rd
Reply

Pete Jackson King

One more day :)

Jun 2nd
Reply

Polmateer

I just got very excited when i saw there was a new episode...darn just a preview. But silver lining i guess, at least there is a new season!

Jun 1st
Reply

Pete Jackson King

YAAAAAAAAY!! Thank you!

May 29th
Reply

Stephen J

I cant wait, I emailed the show and Chuck replied I was so surprised. Such touching and inspiring back stories of great Americans!!

May 11th
Reply (1)

bobbyparagon

great to hear that you're coming back. I appreciate the unique nature of your podcasts.

May 8th
Reply

Christine Peterman

looking forward to a third season.

Apr 25th
Reply

Yasmine C

Looking forward to the third season!

Apr 23rd
Reply
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