The investigation into London’s Saturday attack is moving quickly with police arresting at least a dozen people in connection to the incident. It came less than two weeks after a suicide bombing in Manchester left 22 people dead. The Cipher Brief’s Leone Lakhani asked Michael Leiter, former Director of the ...

The weekend’s London attacks is the third in the UK this year and came as the UK was still reeling from a suicide bombing in Manchester on May 22nd that left 22 people dead. In March, four people were killed in London after a man rammed his car into pedestrians on ...

After a multi-faceted attack in London on Saturday evening that saw a van with three assailants drive into pedestrians on London Bridge and then attack victims in the popular Borough Market shopping area nearby, the United Kingdom has now been the victim of terror three times in as many months. ...

Dusko Markovic.  Not a household name.  Neither is Montenegro, the small, stunningly beautiful Balkan country with an Adriatic coastline, where Mr. Markovic is Prime Minister.  Despite having visited a number of times, I still have to squint sometimes when I look at a map to find it.  Montenegrins like to ...

The meeting of NATO heads of state on May 25 in Brussels, dubbed the “little summit,” did not bring any breakthroughs. Still, it was far from just a routine gathering. Symbolically, it introduced the new NATO headquarters, as well as stressed the Alliance’s modernization. It was seen as a demonstration ...

Diplomatic tensions over leaks to the U.S. media about the Manchester terror attack, culminated Thursday with U.S. President Donald Trump calling for the Department of Justice “to launch a complete review of this matter.” In a statement, Trump called the leaks “deeply troubling,” adding that “if appropriate, the culprit should ...

With the UK threat level raised to the highest level of "critical" -- meaning more attacks may be imminent -- military personnel are being deployed to protect key sites. Police are investigating whether the bomber behind a Tuesday attack in Manchester, England acted alone. The attack -- which left at ...

There are many differences between the Balkans and the Middle East, but they have two things in common. Both regions are former pieces of the Ottoman Empire that have not found stability since that empire receded in the late 19th century. Both also have been objects of serial intrusion by ...

As NATO prepares to add another small Balkan country to its ranks – Montenegro is expected to join on June 5 – the region that has long been torn between the East and the West, and plagued with internal ethnic, socioeconomic, and political tensions is once again showing signs of ...

The U.S. Senate last month overwhelmingly voted for Montenegro’s accession into NATO. President Donald Trump signed off on this, writing in a letter to the Senate, “the inclusion of Montenegro in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will not have the effect of increasing the overall percentage share of the ...

As details emerge about an explosion in Manchester, England that left at least 22 people dead and dozens injured, British Prime Minister Theresa May said the incident was being treated as a terrorist attack. The Associated Press reported the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, put out a statement ...

French voters have a choice of two worlds May 7 between the internationalist, centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron and the isolationist, far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen. The election could signal drastic changes to French defense and foreign policy or it could mean more of the same. Le Pen ...

Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron won the French presidency Sunday in a landslide victory over far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen – capturing 66.1 percent of the vote to Le Pen’s 33.9.  President Donald Trump tweeted, “Congratulations to Emmanuel Macron on his big win... I look very much forward to working ...

French voters head to the polls Sunday to choose their next president: centrist Emmanuel Macron or far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen. On the campaign trail, Le Pen has advocated closer relations with Russia and said she wants to pull France out of both the European Union and NATO. ...

Intelligence cooperation within Europe can get messy. There are national intelligence units, European Union (EU) intel structures, and ones within NATO. How all of these different institutions coordinate and share information is vital to securing the continent and has been of heightened focus with the wave of terror attacks in ...

There has been talk for decades of creating an overarching intelligence structure that works to keep the continent secure, but it has taken on new urgency with the recent increase in terror attacks in Europe.   However, doing so is easier said than done. In fact, there are legal impediments to ...

A spike in terrorist attacks in Europe over the past couple of years has reignited the debate over how to improve European intelligence collection and sharing. The ISIS-claimed terror shooting in Paris last week, which left one police officer dead and at least two others wounded, is just the latest ...

The two remaining candidates in the French presidential race, independent centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen, offer voters stark, opposing choices for the future of their country, as well as its security and defense. Macron, who ran on a pro-Europe platform, topped Sunday’s first round vote, followed ...

French citizens head to the voting stations Sunday to narrow the field of candidates for the nation’s next president. The top two winners in the first round of voting will go head-to-head in a second round of voting on May 7, if neither wins more than half the votes, which ...

Thursday’s deadly attack on Paris police jolted the first round of France’s upcoming Presidential election, with several of the leading candidates canceling campaign events and issuing last-minute statements regarding terrorism and national security. The attack, which occurred on the Champs Elysees around 9pm local time, left one police officer dead ...

Round one of the French presidential elections, on April 23, looks as if it’s going to set up a battle of non-traditional parties. Polls predict Emmanuel Macron, the centrist candidate who recently created his own party, versus Marine Le Pen, leader of the far right National Front party. Now, some ...

As the French presidential election gets underway, the candidates positions toward the EU, Washington, and Moscow vary significantly. Depending on who comes out on top, relations with these different power centers could change. The Cipher Brief’s Kaitlin Lavinder spoke with Charles Kupchan, former special assistant to the president and senior ...

France’s upcoming presidential election is perhaps the most important in the nearly 60-year history of the Fifth Republic. The election’s first round on Sunday comes at a time of an increasingly divided France, stemming from years of corrupt politicians, economic malaise, high unemployment, and terror. France has been in a ...

Estonia, both a European Union and NATO member, shares an entire eastern border with Russia but remains firmly embedded in the Western defense alliance. Mariin Ratnik, the head of security policy and transatlantic relations in Estonia’s Foreign Ministry, was recently in Washington for meetings with the Trump administration. The Cipher ...

The metro bombing in St. Petersburg Monday and White House comments that the U.S. will do what it can to help Russia get to the bottom of the incident raise the question of future Russia-U.S. counterterrorism cooperation. The Cipher Brief’s Kaitlin Lavinder spoke with Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a senior fellow at ...

At a time of increasing global uncertainty, the Norwegian government is in the process of upgrading its Armed Forces – across the various services – as outlined in a Ministry of Defense white paper, The Long Term Plan, or LTP, which was released in June 2016. The LTP builds on ...

With just a few weeks left until French voters head to the polls, far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen made her way to Moscow for a surprise meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.   As Putin stood last Friday beside his open admirer — Le Pen supports lifting Russian sanctions, ...

British Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon today (March 29), formally notifying the European Union of the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the bloc and embarking on two years of negotiations with the other 27 EU members. “This is an historic moment from ...

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been vocal about her desire to call a second referendum on Scotland’s independence from the United Kingdom. The devolved government of Northern Ireland, on the other hand, was relatively quiet until earlier this month, when nationalist party Sinn Fein called for an independence referendum ...

British Prime Minister Theresa May trigger of Article 50 of the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty, formally launches two years of negotiations that will determine the future of EU-UK relations after the United Kingdom has left the bloc. However, as talks approach, May faces a divided country at home. Last Tuesday, ...

Turkey’s damaging crisis with Europe is self-generated in large part – a tactic sometimes used by Ankara to create a problem and then hold the other party responsible. Acting the victim also deflects domestic attention from the government’s own accountability and justifies revenge. Turkey is stirring a crisis with the ...

Relations between Turkey and Europe have been tense for decades. Turkey first applied to the European Economic Community – the European Union’s precursor – in 1987. Turkey has been an associate member since 1963, but the EU still has not offered it full membership, despite the country’s membership in NATO ...

Relations between Europe and Turkey are tense. In the past weeks, Turkey has called the Netherlands “the capital of fascism” and accused Germany of “fascist actions” reminiscent of the Nazi period, after Germany cancelled political rallies aimed at gathering support for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his referendum on ...

The man who carried out a deadly terrorist attack in London was British-born and had been previously known to authorities, UK Prime Minister Theresa May said on Thursday. Police named Khalid Masood, 52, as the Westminster attacker, who mowed down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before stabbing a police officer inside ...

U.S. President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met face to face for the first time Friday during Merkel’s visit to Washington. In a joint press conference following the meeting, Merkel said she always maintained it is better to talk with each other than about each other, and “I ...

The world, and Europeans in particular, watched Wednesday’s Dutch parliamentary election as a litmus test for the populist movement across Europe and what it might foretell about upcoming elections in France and Germany. Populist candidate Geert Wilders, who espouses anti-immigrant and anti-EU rhetoric, faired worse than expected, with his PVV ...

Russia and NATO countries are going tit for tat in the Black Sea region. In 2014, Russia invaded eastern Ukraine and annexed the Crimean Peninsula, on the northern coast of the Black Sea. Over the past three years, Russia has militarized the area, modernizing its Black Sea Fleet at Sevastopol, ...

Black Sea security has become a top NATO concern since Russia’s incursion in eastern Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. A lot of Russia’s ships and aircraft being used in Syria come out of the Black Sea, Magnus Nordenman, a director of the Transatlantic Security Initiative with the Brent Scowcroft Center ...

The Romanian government has announced it will soon spend two percent of its GDP on defense, a goal set for all NATO members. Last year, NATO allies agreed to enhance defense in Romania and Bulgaria with a tailored forward presence. The Cipher Brief asked Romanian Defense Minister Gabriel-Beniamin Leş what ...

As new questions arise about the Trump Administration’s contacts with Russian officials, one man has been caught in the political maelstrom: Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak. The most recent allegations surround Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is said to have met with Kislyak last year —in July ...

This year’s Munich Security Conference (February 17-19) brought together leaders from all over the world to discuss the current state of global affairs and the transatlantic defense partnership. Julianne Smith, Director of the Strategy and Statecraft Program at the Center for a New American Security, attended the conference. She spoke ...

Europe faced a wave of ISIS-inspired terrorist attacks last year, from Brussels to Nice to Berlin. As ISIS-occupied territories in Iraq and Syria continue to shrink under the bombardment of U.S. and coalition forces, former CIA Acting Director John McLaughlin told The Cipher Brief, “I would anticipate the greatest post-caliphate ...

European-wide defense is based on two elements: the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union. Understanding how each institution may develop in the coming years and coordinate together on defense is vital to assessing the future of European and transatlantic security. The Cipher Brief spoke with the United Kingdom’s ...

A proliferation of external threats, including terrorism and cyber attacks, combined with a fractious European Union places Europe in a vulnerable position at the start of the new year. The Cipher Brief’s Kaitlin Lavinder sat down with former Deputy Secretary General of NATO (2012-2016) Ambassador Alexander Vershbow to discuss the ...

The U.S. this year deployed 330 Marines to Norway. The concept is nothing new; it dates back to the 2005 Oslo-Washington agreement called Marine Corps Prepositioning Program-Norway (MCPP-N). However, Karsten Friis, head of the Research Group on Security and Defence at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, notes it is ...

It is not clear whether a group of Russians arrested on charges of treason for helping U.S. intelligence, involve CIA assets, despite a claim to the contrary, two former CIA Russia specialists said Wednesday. The three people arrested were identified by lawyer Ivan Pavlov as Sergei Mikhailov and Dmitry Dokuchayev, ...

President Donald Trump sat down with British Prime Minister Theresa May today (Jan. 27), in his first meeting with a major world leader since taking office. Trade, a key concern for May following her nation’s vote to leave the European Union, the future of NATO, and Russia highlighted the agenda. ...

The Baltics are standing at attention when it comes to defense. By 2018, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are all set to spend at least 2 percent of GDP on defense – the NATO defense spending goal agreed to by all members as requisite for equal and sufficient contribution to the ...

The Baltic countries – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – are increasing their defense spending. Estonia already spends 2 percent of its GDP on defense – the NATO spending goal. Latvia and Lithuania plan to hit 2 percent in the coming years. The Cipher Brief’s Kaitlin Lavinder spoke with Lithuanian Ambassador ...

Latvia – like neighbors Estonia and Lithuania – is increasing defense spending and working to build a coordinated defense. This year, NATO member states, including the U.S., are deploying troops to be stationed in each of the Baltic nations, as a deterrence to Russia. Latvia’s State Secretary at the Ministry ...