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

The Open Source Report

Sources say Putin wants ceasefire on current frontlines with Ukraine

China's military conducted second day of war games around Taiwan

Israel's Netanyahu to address U.S. Congress soon, Johnson says

Former Defense Secretary Mattis opposes creation of separate military cyber service

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Cipher Brief Expert Perspectives

On The Cipher Brief’s Digital Channel

A Special Ukraine Briefing: Mobilization, Military Movements, and Morale

Alternative Perspectives

CIA Director William Burns Accepts The Cipher Brief Intelligence & Diplomacy Award

The Cipher Brief honors CIA Director William Burns with the Intelligence & Diplomacy Award

The Cipher Brief honors Oksana Markarova with the Messenger for Freedom Award

Book Reviews

The Dead Drop

Dead Drop

This Week’s Dead Drop: May 24

SPECIAL DELIVERY:  Congressman Glenn Grothman (R, WI) told recently that lots of foreign nationals from China, Iran and Russia and have been caught trying to gain access to U.S. military bases and other sensitive sites. The Daily Mail says that Chinese nationals tried at least 100 times to enter U.S. military bases and related sites last year, often posing as tourists or lost food delivery drivers. Grothman told the news organization that “There have been reports of Russians, there have been reports of Iranians, there have been reports of people from throughout the Middle [...] More

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State Secrets

“Havana Syndrome” - reported by hundreds of U.S. officials, diplomats, CIA Officers, FBI Agents and White House staff - as well as some members of their families – is described as including severe headaches accompanied by loss of balance and often followed by cognitive issues. Some doctors have concluded that the likely source is a directed energy weapon that uses microwave or ultrasound waves to attack the brain and inner ear. In this episode, Cipher Brief Managing Editor Tom Nagorski talks with Christo Grozev, a journalist who served as a lead investigator on Havana Syndrome for a publication called The Insider and Insider Editor Michael Weiss as well as former senior CIA officer and Cipher Brief Expert Marc Polymeropoulos, who says that he himself was struck during a visit to Moscow. Grozev and Weiss also share the findings of their recent investigation conducted in cooperation with 60 Minutes and the German news magazine Der Spiegel that indicates who is behind Havana Syndrome, saying they have uncovered evidence that members of a special Russian military intelligence unit may be to blame. The revelations of their investigation have called into question findings by U.S. intelligence agencies that found – in their own investigations - that the “Anomalous Health Incidents” as they call them - are not the result of a coordinated effort by Russia or anyone else. Full reports of the government’s findings can be found online. This podcast focuses on another side of this continuing story.

Cover Stories: Spies, Books & Entertainment

ABC News journalist George Stephanopoulos joins us to discuss his new book “The Situation Room: The Inside Story of President in Crisis.” As someone who became intimately familiar with the SITROOM during the Clinton administration, Stephanopoulos is our guide with stories about the crisis management center came to be created under JFK and shares dramatic stories of hinge points in history that were seen within the walls of this small but pivotal part of the Executive Mansion.

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.

What the Experts Say

The Cipher Brief has quickly established itself as a go-to site among Washington national security devotees – and those outside the capital as well. Readers have learned that they can quickly catch up on the latest news, take deeper dives into the key issues, and get a peek behind the curtain with Cipher’s unique Dead Drop feature – all on one user friendly spot.

John McLaughlin

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Paul Kolbe

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Admiral James Stavridis