About Us

The Cipher Brief is a digital, security-based conversation platform that connects the private sector with the world’s leading security experts. We deliver a relevant analysis of news and events that helps readers accurately anticipate and safely navigate the complex, unstable, global security environment. The Cipher Brief was founded by former CNN Intelligence Correspondent Suzanne Kelly on the belief that reporting on the latest security breaches or global security issues alone won’t always help find solutions to the bigger problems. Engaging the private sector in a solutions-based conversation is what moves the ball down the field.

The Staff


Suzanne Kelly

CEO and Publisher

Suzanne Kelly is CEO & Publisher of The Cipher Brief and most recently served as CNN’s Intelligence Correspondent before spending two years in the private sector.  She also worked as an Executive Producer for CNN and as a news anchor at CNN International based in Berlin and Atlanta.  In Berlin, she anchored a morning news program that was broadcast live in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and from Atlanta, she anchored a number of world news programs.  She covered the NATO campaign in 1999 from Kosovo and Macedonia.  

Callie Wang

Vice President Analysis

Callie Wang is the Vice President of Analysis at The Cipher Brief.  Prior to joining TCB, she was a Presidential Management Fellow with the Department of Defense and spent two years working in the private sector. During her time with DoD, she worked for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Policy), Special Operations Command-South and the Department of the Navy. She is a graduate of Georgetown University and the University of Michigan.

Brad Christian

Vice President Operations

Brad Christian is Vice President of Operations at The Cipher Brief. Prior to joining TCB he spent over a decade in the private sector. He has executive leadership experience in operations management, sales, training and business development.  Previously he served in numerous overseas posts providing critical support to USG operations as a member of an elite protective unit.  Prior to entering the private sector, he served for 10 years in the US Military including service with the Rangers and Special Forces. He is a graduate of Georgia State University.

Walter Pincus


Walter Pincus is a Columnist and the Senior National Security Reporter at The Cipher Brief. He spent forty years at The Washington Post, writing on topics from nuclear weapons to politics.  In 2002, he and a team of Post reporters won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.  He also won an Emmy in 1981 and the 2010 Arthur Ross Award from the American Academy for Diplomacy.

Pam Benson

Managing Editor for News

Pam Benson is the Managing Editor for News and Senior Correspondent for The Cipher Brief. She produced award-winning television and internet coverage of national and international stories for CNN, starting at the network’s inception. As CNN’s senior producer for national security, she reported extensively on terrorism, the intelligence community and key foreign policy issues. During the course of her work, she reported from more than 50 countries around the world.

Julia DiBenedetto

Director of Operations

Julia DiBenedetto is the Director of Operations at The Cipher Brief. Prior to joining The Cipher Brief, she worked in New York’s financial sector as an internal sales director for specialized mutual funds and other investment products.  Julia is a Syracuse University graduate and received a B.S. in Communications and Rhetorical Studies with a minor in Writing and Rhetoric. Julia is from Southampton, New York.

Bennett Seftel

Deputy Director of Editorial

Bennett Seftel is the Deputy Director of Editorial at The Cipher Brief. He previously worked for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs. Bennett received his BA in Arabic Language and International Studies from Washington University in St. Louis and his MA in International Law and Global Security from Georgetown University.

Leone Lakhani

Executive Producer and Reporter

As a journalist for the BBC and CNN International in London and Abu Dhabi, Leone has nearly two decades of experience reporting, writing and producing long and short-format stories, covering world events like the government crackdown in Bahrain, the first Egyptian elections post-Mubarak, the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and the death of Osama Bin Laden, among many others. She also hosted a number of feature shows on CNN International like CNN Inside the Middle East, a program that showed a different side to the region from the peoples’ perspectives.

Mackenzie Weinger

National Security Reporter

Mackenzie Weinger is a National Security Reporter at The Cipher Brief. She previously reported on politics and media at POLITICO and served as a Marjorie Deane fellow at the Financial Times in London. Mackenzie graduated with an M.A. in War Studies from King’s College London and a B.A. in history from UC Santa Barbara. 

Kaitlin Lavinder


Kaitlin Lavinder is a National Security Reporter at The Cipher Brief. Previously, she worked as a TV news producer at NewsChannel 8 in Washington D.C., where she was responsible for the morning broadcasts and POLITICO international affairs segments. She also spent time at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin working in the Press Section. Kaitlin received her M.A. in International Economics and European Studies from The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and her BA in Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Mass Media from Temple University. 

Fritz Lodge

International Producer

Fritz Lodge is an International Producer at The Cipher Brief focused on Global Economics and the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region. He holds a Masters Degree in International Relations & Economics with a concentration in Strategic Studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Prior to his studies, Fritz worked in Cairo for three years at the American University in Cairo and as a reporter for The Cairo Review of Global Affairs. His articles have been published in The Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, and The Cairo Review, amongst others. 

Will Edwards

International Producer

Will Edwards is an International Producer for the Asia-Pacific region. His research topics of interest include security cooperation in Northeast and Southeast Asia, the North Korean nuclear program, and military innovation. Previously, he lived and worked in South Korea for three years. Will holds a Masters Degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in International Relations with a concentration in Strategic Studies. He earned a B.A. degree in history from the University of Colorado. He is originally from Charlotte, Vermont.

Levi Maxey

Cyber and Technology Producer

Levi Maxey is the Cyber and Technology Producer at The Cipher Brief. He previously worked at the Stimson Center’s Managing Across Boundaries initiative in Washington D.C. as well as the Global Governance Institute’s Peace and Security Section in Brussels. Levi holds a Masters Degree from the Department of War Studies at Kings College London, focusing on international security in the digital age. He received a B.A. in International Studies from Roosevelt University in Chicago and studied European Peace and Security at Vesalius College in Brussels.

Brian Garrett-Glaser

Content Manager

Brian Garrett-Glaser is the Content Manager at The Cipher Brief. Prior to joining the company, he worked as a Public Affairs Specialist at Schatz Publishing and received a B.A. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University.

Rogan Richer

Events and Marketing Coordinator

Rogan Richer is the Event and Marketing Coordinator for The Cipher Brief. Prior to joining The Cipher Brief, he worked in an administrative role at an outpatient mental health facility as well as a business development associate at a Maryland based hazardous protection company.  Rogan is an Old Dominion University graduate and received a B.A in Political Science concentrating in Terrorism and Counterterrorism with a minor in Military Leadership. Rogan was born in Amman, Jordan.