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

The Open Source Report

Netanyahu addresses joint session of Congress, Dems stay away in droves

Kyiv says China won't supply weapons to Russia, supports Ukraine’s territorial integrity

Biden makes national address, vows to try to 'stop Putin' in last 6 months of term

CrowdStrike cites validation tool failure for global software update outage

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The Experts

Cipher Brief Experts bring context to today’s global events

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Featured Viewing

Former CIA Senior Executive Service Officer discusses Israel and Lebanon


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Nico Lange talks Ukraine, NATO

Former US Ambassador to NATO talks upcoming Summit

Former US Ambassador to Ukraine talks NATO Summit

Book Reviews

Dead Drop

This Week’s Dead Drop: July 19

NOT SO ‘SPOOKY’ NEIGHBORS: The CBS Saturday Morning show recently featured video of a home in northern Virginia that was purchased by Margaret Scattergood and Florence Thomas in 1933. A couple decades later, the U.S. government wanted to acquire the house along with the adjacent grounds to build a new headquarters for the Central Intelligence Agency. The two women struck a savvy deal.  They sold their home and grounds to the government for $55,000 with the understanding that they would be allowed to live in the home for the rest of their lives. [...] More

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State Secrets

Christine Abizaid, who has served as director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) for the past three years, sits down with State Secrets Podcast host Suzanne Kelly to talk about how the threat of terrorism has changed dramatically over the years and why the threat to Americans is still very real.

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.

What the Experts Say

For privileged insights into the events of the day which shape the world of tomorrow, there is no better source than The Cipher Brief. Independent, fact-based, and infused with the hard-earned perspectives of its experts, The Cipher Brief stands apart and above.
Paul Kolbe

The Cipher Brief offers insights from a large number of deeply experienced national security experts. Their articles are the result of decades of immersion in the critical issues facing the world today as well as the public and private sector decision making associated with these problems. There is no other source with such a network of expertise.

Norm Roule

Congratulations to The Cipher Brief for actively promoting a national conversation – through conferences, analysis, and webinars at the highest level – on our country’s national security, intelligence capabilities, and challenges in confronting adversaries and competitors alike.

Emile Nakhleh

Since retiring from CIA in 2017, I’ve been honored to be a part of the exceptional Cipher Brief team providing expert assessment – whether it’s nuclear proliferation, transnational terrorism, and climate change or hard targets like Iran, North Korea, China, and Russia – The Cipher Brief delivers without the predisposed ideological bias so often prevalent in today’s discourse.

Daniel Hoffman

“The Cipher Brief is my daily ‘must read’ for insightful coverage and analysis of national security events.  I find the Open Source Report to be a key tool in assessing global geopolitical risk, and illuminating national security challenges in just the right amount of depth.  It’s the perfect balance.  I can read it quickly, but step away feeling I have a solid grasp of the issues and implications.  Thanks to the brilliant Cipher Brief Team! “

Lt. Gen. Michael Groen (Ret.)