Following North Korea’s six nuclear test, reported to be far more powerful than any previous test conducted by the Kim regime, many wonder if denuclearizing North Korea is possible. Ambassador Joseph Detrani, former Special Envoy for the Six Party Talks and Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told the Cipher ...

After another act of defiance by the North Korean regime, all eyes turned to China, seen as the best hope to apply leverage to the regime in Pyongyang. President Trump tweeted “North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying ...

North Korea detonated a nuclear weapon underground early Sunday morning, demonstrating both its destructive power as well as its defiance of the international community. In this, North Korea’s sixth nuclear test, the blast’s power reportedly exceeded – by up to seven times - that of the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima ...

During a primetime address to the nation last Monday, President Donald Trump laid out his vision for the United States in Afghanistan: “our troops will fight to win. We will fight to win.” Standing in front of a large audience of U.S. service members and key members of his Cabinet, ...

Since the inception of satellites and human spaceflight, humanity has come to rely heavily on space, but in so doing, it has also produced particles of trash, which number in the hundreds of thousands and whiz around the Earth at over 17,000 miles per hour. For the moment, tracking and ...

The President will speak to the nation directly Monday night, the White House announced, to discuss his Administration’s strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia writ large. The announcement came just days after Trump held a high-level strategy meeting at Camp David that Secretary of Defense James Mattis told reporters yielded ...

Spanish authorities said Friday the deadly attacks in Barcelona and a seaside town are linked and long-planned by a terrorist cell. While several people have been arrested in connection with the attacks, the driver who plowed through pedestrians on Las Ramblas is still at large and police are searching for other suspects. ...

The U.S.-South Korea joint Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercises begin Monday, after days of bellicose rhetoric between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un – and followed by Defense Secretary James Mattis announcing there will be “strong military consequences” if North Korea “initiates hostilities.” Mattis and Secretary ...

Thursday’s attack in Barcelona - and possibly today’s attack in Finland - are yet more tragic examples of how common objects such as vehicles and knives can be used as weapons by terrorists to generate an overarching sense of fear and inflict mass casualties. Western authorities and intelligence agencies have ...

The U.S. and South Korea will hold joint military exercises beginning on Monday, as tensions on the Korean peninsula are on the rise. U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un engaged in a war of words over the past few weeks, with Trump saying he would release ...

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is well known for his massive Twitter following – roughly 32 million – and obsession with taking selfies at every occasion. But it was his promise to bring the economic success and clean governance of his home state of Gujarat to the rest of India ...

Three days after the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, President Donald Trump said “racism is evil” and called out the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, “and other hate groups” as “criminals and thugs.” A 20-year old Ohio man believed to be a Nazi sympathizer has been charged with second degree murder, ...

The recent flare-up at the Temple Mount, also known Haram Al Sharif, in Jerusalem reminds American foreign policy makers of the sensitivity of the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Israel increased security on the Haram Al Sharif last month after a shooting at the holy site left two Israeli policemen dead, prompting protests ...

Talk of espionage today has focused on Russian spies and the hacking of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. But recent reports of painful and unexplained hearing loss by U.S. diplomats in Cuba have raised questions about both the spy craft that may have caused it as well as the possible ...

Now that Trump Administration has pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and so far failed to move ahead on the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, many of America's closest allies are looking for alternatives. This month, Japan (who was to be included in TPP) and the EU ...

President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced he would nominate Christopher Wray to serve as the next FBI director as Congress prepares to hear from James Comey, who he fired from the job in May. Comey is set to testify before the Senate Intelligence committee on Thursday. In his opening statement, ...

Since roughly 2009, North Korea has been active and noisy in cyberspace. From the hacking of government web sites in South Korea and the United States to the trashing of South Korean bank and media company information systems, the revenge attack on Sony, the infiltration of South Korean infrastructures such ...

As the United Kingdom faces its fourth terrorist attack in the last three months, the country is grappling with its counterterrorism strategy as authorities face questions over how they can try to stop the violence and protect citizens. A 47-year old man suspected of driving the van that struck a ...

The conflict in Syria saw a series of firsts today, as the Pentagon confirmed that a U.S. fighter jet shot down a Syrian warplane near the city of Raqqa and the Iranian military stated that its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) launched missile strikes at ISIS targets in Syria, in ...

Central America, particularly the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, is notorious for violence and drugs. The region acts as a transit point for drugs going from South America to the United States, and the flow of drugs northward shows no signs of easing as U.S. demand ...

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was on Capitol Hill Tuesday, defending deep cuts to the proposed 2018 State Department budget and explaining how the department is handling expected job losses and slashes to foreign aid. Tillerson told the Senate Foreign Relations committee the Department’s proposed budget of $37.6 billion, a ...

President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced he would nominate Christopher Wray to serve as the next FBI director as Congress prepares to hear from James Comey, who he fired from the job in May. Comey is set to testify before the Senate Intelligence committee on Thursday. In his opening statement, ...

As the investigation into Monday night’s bombing in Manchester continues to unfold and details continue to emerge about the suspect, The Cipher Brief’s Bennett Seftel spoke with Mitch Silber, former Director of Intelligence Analysis at the NYPD, about the terrorist threat facing the UK as well as how to more ...

President Donald Trump said Tuesday he had an "absolute right" to share highly classified information from a U.S. ally about an ISIS terror threat with Russia. Trump's tweets came the morning after top White House national security officials declared the story, which was first reported by the Washington Post, as ...

John Sipher, a former member of the CIA’s senior intelligence service, appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Wednesday morning to discuss U.S. President Donald Trump’s sudden firing of FBI Director James Comey. “The timing is a bit fishy because there really is nothing new here, right? The information that they are ...

In a wide-ranging address to State Department employees Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson laid out his vision for the future of the department, the Trump’s Administration’s “America First” approach to foreign policy, and global issues touching nearly every continent. Tillerson’s speech, his second to department workers since being sworn ...

The National Security Agency (NSA) announced on Friday a change in its intelligence collection under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act (FISA). The move comes under the backdrop of the looming deadline of December 31, 2017 when the authorities granted by 702 will expire if not reauthorized ...

President Donald Trump reorganized his National Security Council (NSC) on Wednesday. In a surprise move, chief strategist Stephen Bannon has been removed from the council, according to a Federal Register. The former roles of top intelligence and defense officials have been restored – including National Intelligence director Dan Coats and ...

In Homeland’s latest episode, the CIA’s Dar Adal tightens the screws further on those struggling to foil his plot. He directly threatens President-elect Keane, conspires with right-wing TV host Bret O’Keefe to release a video on her dead son’s supposed cowardice in battle, and neutralizes Carrie’s efforts to subvert his ...

Another Homeland episode means Dar Adal commits yet another heinous deed. In this episode, Dar allows the Mossad to kidnap top CIA asset Majid Javadi, Chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). Dar has to tie up loose ends. He convinced Javadi to lie to the President-elect and claim Iran was ...

WHO’S YOUR MCMASTER? Politico had a fascinating scoop this week which asserts that President Trump has overruled a decision by his National Security Advisor, General H.R. McMaster, regarding a key NSC staffer. You will recall when the sweepstakes to replace Mike Flynn at the NSC was underway – one of ...

The controversy surrounding alleged Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election shows no sign of waning, dominating the conversation during The Cipher Brief’s Georgetown Salon Series event with former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell on Wednesday night. “I think that the Russian interference in the election is a much bigger ...

The military called it Operation Bumblebee: a secret program to develop a weapon that – like the insect – could take off vertically, change directions instantly, and deliver a painful sting. Born in the years after World War II, the U.S. Navy program aimed to create a missile that could ...

The Washington Post report on a secret CIA assessment concluding that Russia intervened in the U.S. Presidential election with the intention of helping President-elect Donald Trump win is only part of a deeply concerning and incredibly significant risk to national security.  It would be bad enough if the Russians were ...

The recent election of a new President and Vice President of the United States marks the beginning of another transition period at the White House. In the weeks leading up to January’s Presidential Inauguration, numerous preparations will be made to ensure a smooth changeover of administrations. One critical component of ...

Most Americans agree that the 2016 presidential election is one of the strangest in their history – and that feeling extends beyond U.S. borders. Governments worldwide want to know who will be at the helm of the world’s largest economy and most powerful military, and they are learning all they ...

Calls for more funding to fight the Zika virus have intensified in the last week as concerns over the implications of a potential crisis in the United States mount among health security experts. With no sign of members of Congress returning from recess to tackle the issue, the Obama administration ...

Now that the Presidential candidates will soon be getting classified intelligence briefings, critics on both sides have raised questions about whether either candidate is fit to receive them.   On the one hand, Republican nominee Donald Trump has been criticized for unsubstantiated claims he has made and controversial national security positions ...

The Republican National Convention ended Thursday night with nominee Donald Trump vowing to be the “law and order candidate.” His speech was peppered with national security pronouncements, from criticizing Democratic president candidate Hillary Clinton’s legacy as Secretary of State to declaring that under his plan the United States will destroy ...

So, why America’s apparent turn toward nationalism, nativism, and even isolationism? How could the nation most responsible for leading this great and grand strategy to move mankind out of insularity to such unprecedented prosperity now wish to effectively take a wrecking ball to the whole lot? Former U.S. Treasury Secretary, ...

After the San Bernardino terrorist attack there were the usual cries “to do something” to better protect the nation. We will surely again hear similar concerns in the face of the brutal massacre in Orlando.  To this point, however, not much, if anything, has happened.  However, another domestic terrorist attack—especially ...

When the Cipher Brief asked me to write an article assessing how well the FBI has done since 9/11 in protecting our country from terrorism threats and whether there was a need for a separate domestic intelligence agency, I agreed without hesitation.  On 9/11, I had been in the FBI ...

In the years since 9/11, the FBI has refocused its efforts beyond law enforcement to include, and even prioritize, intelligence gathering and counterterrorism operations.  As the United States’ official domestic security agency, the FBI’s responsibilities have become quite expansive. “Today’s FBI is a threat-focused, intelligence-driven organization,” stated FBI Director James ...

The Department of Homeland Security launched a pilot project on Monday to place employees into private sector companies for training stints of up to six months. The public-private initiative is an effort to boost information sharing and workforce development in areas such as cybersecurity and engineering, DHS leaders said during ...

Five years after the Arab Spring, enough dust has settled to allow for a clear analysis of U.S. policy in Libya at the time of the Libyan revolution. The United States, and the international community as a whole, made a number of major mistakes as the revolution unfolded in 2011, ...

North Korea held its Seventh Workers’ Party Congress last week. The primary focus of the Congress was to consolidate Kim Jong-un’s domestic power base and clarify the policy direction for the country’s future development.  Based on the statements released from the Congress, North Korea continues to seek nuclear power status, ...

North Korea’s first Party Congress in three decades, a grand spectacle at which Kim Jong-un’s greatest achievement seems to have been giving himself the newly-created title of the chairman of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), cannot have given the long-suffering citizens of North Korea much hope for a ...

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s online magazine “Inspire” is once again calling for assassinations of U.S. business leaders and economic figures. The English-language magazine published by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Yemen-based al Qaeda franchise, released its newest issue over the weekend, pushing for lone actor—often referred ...

The tech sector is known for its rapid innovation, but that quality is often believed to be absent from the federal government. However, that may not really be the case, as federal research programs often result in innovative products for commercial consumers. The Cipher Brief spoke to Linda Burger, director ...