The Cipher Brief: National Security news, analysis and expert commentary.

The Open Source Report

Friday, July 12

Many Gaza city residents ignore Israel’s mass evacuation order.

Zelensky says to win the war, US needs to lift limits on striking targets inside Russia. 

Biden fails to quiet calls to step aside in 2024 race

U.S. intelligence foils Russian assassination plot on leader of Germany’s Rheinmetall.

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The Experts

Cipher Brief Experts bring context to today’s global events

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Featured Viewing

Nico Lange talks Ukraine, NATO


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Former US Ambassador to NATO talks upcoming Summit

Former US Ambassador to Ukraine talks NATO Summit

Former NATO Chief talks Upcoming Summit & Alliance Unity

Book Reviews

Dead Drop

This Week’s Dead Drop: July 12

MORALITY AND ETHICS?  HAH!  The Russian investigative publication known as The Insider, working with the German magazine Der Spiegel, has somehow gotten their hands on a series of correspondence between Russian foreign intelligence agency (SVR) officers. The documents appear to be several versions of a briefing produced over a period of a couple years, about an operation called “Project Kylo.” It amounts to a plan authored by SVR officer Mikhail Kolesov, to overhaul the way Russia conducts information operations. Kolesov was reportedly dismissive of the effectiveness of some of the old tools, like the media [...] More

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State Secrets

Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges (Ret.) Former Commanding General of the U.S. Army Europe, talks to State Secrets host Suzanne Kelly about this week’s NATO Summit in Washington DC, what Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky wants, what Europe needs to ensure its own future security and why Hodges thinks that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s greatest weapon is his ability to scare the west when it comes to taking more aggressive action to win the war in Ukraine.

Cover Stories: Spies, Books & Entertainment

David Ignatius is an award-winning columnist for the Washington Post, a frequent national security commentator on cable TV, and the author of New York Times bestselling novels. His twelfth novel, Phantom Orbit, like all the previous ones - reveals a deep understanding of the way governments and espionage agencies work. Many of his novels have presciently foreshadowed real-world threats. We’ll talk to him about what his latest page-turner reveals about the vulnerability of the satellites that the world relies so heavily on. We’ll also discuss his process for writing books which are consistently praised for their fidelity to the real world of espionage and how he balances his journalistic duties with that of his second-calling as a novelist. After listening to the podcast, be sure to check out the review of Phantom Orbit in The Cipher Brief by former National Reconnaissance Office Director Jeffrey Harris.

The Fight

There are few who understand this war better than Nataliya Bugayova. She lived and worked in Ukraine for years. Her present focus – as a non-resident fellow and the former Russia team lead at The Institute for the Study of War, is on the analysis of the Kremlin’s operations and on what’s happening in Ukraine today. She also serves as Director of Strategic Intelligence at a company called Vertical Knowledge.

Bugayova was part of a visiting delegation with The Cipher Brief that was led by General David Petraeus last fall. We sat down shortly afterward, to get her perspective on how this war is ‘really’ going and how she sees it ending.

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