In the Room with Peter Bergen, the first podcast hosted by Bergen (CNN’s National Security Analyst, widely known for landing the first televised interview with Osama bin Laden in 1997), was created to fill a gap in the news/politics podcast space, presenting current events and trends through a uniquely security-focused lens. Featuring unbiased, nonpartisan conversations with experts and those “in the room” for world events and key policy decisions, each episode is designed to give listeners the information they need on topics like artificial intelligence, conflicts in the Middle East, UFOs, and more, in order to discern which threats they really need to worry about, and which they don’t.
In a media landscape that rewards hyperbole and alarm-setting, In the Room was created to be a source of knowledge, historical context, and expert, level-headed assessment on all things security-related. Each episode is a deeply reported, highly produced and sound-designed experience on a pressing topic — a level of production quality that is unique in the weekly news-podcast landscape.
To achieve its goal of empowering listeners with the information they need to assess the security threats presented by events and decisions of the day, Fresh Produce assembled a team with industry-leading journalistic and investigative experience to work on In the Room. That team is led by Executive Producer Alison Craiglow, Emmy and Peabody Award-winning journalist and former EP of Freakonomics Radio, and includes producers, researchers, and editors who are veterans of ABC News, The Christian Science Monitor, The Intercept, KQED, and WBEZ whose work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Jerusalem Post and The Los Angeles Times.
To best convey the material in each episode, a multi-discussion format was chosen to tap into Bergen’s vast network of sources collected over decades of reporting and to highlight a variety of perspectives and on-the-ground facts. Topics covered through this format have included the Israel-Hamas War, Havana Syndrome, the War in Afghanistan, mass shootings, and pandemics, and guests have included Former UN ambassador John Bolton, Donald Trump’s Former Deputy Assistant Fiona Hill, Breshna Musazai (a female law student who was shot by the Taliban in 2021), and Former Counselor of the Department of State Philip Zelikow.
To stay nimble, occasional one-on-one interviews that require less scripting and fewer editing hours have also been utilized to tackle timely issues. Guests for these special one on ones have included General David Petraeus, the top-ranking cybersecurity official Jen Easterly (Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, CISA), and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (in a special interview conducted about his presidential candidacy).
In the Room with Peter Bergen has been written about extensively in media such as The Guardian, The Hill, Politico, 1440, and more, and its original reporting has been covered by CNN, NPR (segments in Here & Now and 1A), Rolling Stone, The Daily Beast, the New York Daily News, and many more.
Episodes so far have included exclusives such as RFK, Jr., and a special interview-tour through the CIA’s Museum granted to Bergen, as well as on-the-ground reporting (Bergen and team visited and reported directly from Mike Flynn’s ReAwaken Road Show at Trump Doral in Florida, where they had a verbal altercation on-mic), and standard investigation.
The quality of the guests and conversations also serve as proof of concept: additional guests not listed above have included US Navy Malcolm Nance, Historian Andrew Roberts, and American defense official Michael Vickers.
CNN has regularly published written partner pieces on CNN.com.