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Garrett M. Graff

Political history is much more than trivia. It explains where we’ve been and where we’re headed.

Journalist | Director of the Aspen Institute’s Cybersecurity & Technology Program | Author of The Only Plane in the Sky (September 2019)

Contact Garrett For Booking
Garrett M. Graff | Journalist | Director of the Aspen Institute’s Cybersecurity & Technology Program | Author of The Only Plane in the Sky (September 2019)
Lavin Exclusive Speaker

One of America’s most distinguished journalists, Garrett M. Graff is a voice of reason within the clamor of hysterical pundits and pollsters. Invited into some of the most intimate and high-stakes political rooms in Washington and beyond, Graff provides eye-opening insights into the zeitgeist, from Russian hackers to the headline-dominating Mueller Report. Graff’s unparalleled instinct for truth makes him the speaker for audiences looking to understand how politics impact business and commerce, from the changing domains of cybersecurity, to the social and economic events that shape our technology. You will leave Graff’s talks ready to make smarter decisions in light of political change. 

As an award-winning journalist, author, and historian, Garrett M. Graff has spent more than a dozen years covering politics, technology, and national security. Today, he serves as the director of the Aspen Institute’s cybersecurity and technology program, and is a frequent contributor to Wired, Longreads, and CNN. He’s written for publications from Esquire to Rolling Stone to the New York Times, edited two of Washington’s most prestigious magazines, Washingtonian and POLITICO Magazine, and has had his reporting featured on shows like The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. As in his writing, Graff’s talks leverage his instinct for hard fact with his imaginative consideration of the history that underpins our present—and future. When it comes to understanding the real-world ramifications of the Mueller Report, Graff is the journalist, with firsthand access to all the power players involved. When Graff speaks, nothing his says is speculative. It comes straight from the horse’s mouth.    


Graff is the author of multiple books, including The Threat Matrix: Inside Robert Mueller’s FBI. His most recent, Raven Rock, about the government’s Cold War Doomsday plans, was published in May 2017. This fall, he co-wrote with former Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, Dawn of the Code War: America’s Battles Against Russia, China, and the Rising Global Cyber Threat. His next book, The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11, will be published in September 2019; based on his blockbuster POLITICO Magazine article about being aboard Air Force One on September 11th, an article that became the most read article ever published by POLITICO, his new book pulls together 500 oral histories from Americans across the country as the attacks unfolded. 

Speech Topics

Politics & Society
Democracy Under Attack American Politics Today, At Home and Abroad

In this rousing and inspiring talk, Garrett M. Graff—who has spent a dozen years covering Washington, D.C., including the last two years covering Robert Mueller’s investigation into President Trump and who wrote the only existing biography of the special counsel—breaks down the state of American politics heading into the 2020 election.


Grounded in American history and on-the-ground experience covering politics from the White House to the FBI to the State Department—Graff connects the musical Hamilton, Russia’s attack on the 2016 election, the opioid epidemic, and the new, swirling questions around presidential impeachment to bring audiences an up-to-the-moment understanding of the American political landscape, Donald Trump’s impact on Washington, and how to think about the 2020 presidential campaign. He explains, in clear terms, what unfolded in Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, the realities of what the special counsel concluded and why, how Democrats and Republicans have reacted, and what America needs to do to secure its democratic process going forward.

Understanding the “Code War”
As co-author of the definitive book, Dawn of the Code War, the founding director of The Aspen Institute’s cybersecurity and technology program, and a contributing editor at WIRED Magazine, Garrett M. Graff is uniquely positioned to explain to audiences—both technical and non—how to understand the rise of cyber threats to organizations of all sizes, from multinational companies to local governments to consumers sitting at home.
He explains the big strategic picture—how America’s leading adversaries, Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea all differ in their online tactics and goals—and the small, the tactical “what” and “how” of the concrete steps audiences can take right now to secure their lives online, as well as how today’s threats will evolve with tomorrow’s technology, from autonomous vehicles to internet-connected refrigerators. In a fun, engaging, and educational talk, he ranges from a leopard-print pajama-wearing Russian hacker and ISIL’s most dangerous online terrorist to the little-known story of Iran’s first attack on the United States—a casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania—and the inside story of how China’s economic rise has been powered by stealing American ideas.
Audiences will come away from his talk knowing the lingo—from ransomware to Advanced Persistent Threats (ATPs)—and be able to understand the daily headlines around cyber threats in a new way and how online life will change in the years ahead.