Last week, the Justice Department brought an indictment against two individuals accused of working with China’s Ministry of State Security to conduct a decade-long cyber intrusion campaign. The Justice Department says the two individuals were targeting the private sector some of which included research institutions working on coronavirus treatments.  But ...

OPINION -- “Black swans” are events that arrive as unwelcome surprises and have significant effects on nations and societies.  They can upend the status quo in politics, economics, or national security. Black swans are even more dangerous when superimposed on other black swans. It’s always worth trying to anticipate potential ...

In part one of Iran and Hezbollah’s Pre-Operational Modus Operandi in the West, authors Mitch Silber and Ioan Pop pulled from court documents and open source reporting to shed light on ways that Iran and its proxy groups have engaged in regional escalations after the killing of Iranian General Qassem ...

NATO, like many of the nations it represents, was caught off guard by the coronavirus pandemic. Concerned about a potential second wave of coronavirus infections, sources told Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine that leaders are working on a new plan to make sure they aren’t caught off guard a second time. ...

The Cipher Brief’s Open Source Trend Line Report utilizes open source data on a quarterly basis to track trends around the world that impact national and global security.  We break the world down by region and provide you with a recent timeline to help understand the pace at which events were developing and ...

Cipher Brief Expert Carmen Medina is a former CIA Deputy Director of Intelligence and a 32-year veteran of the Intelligence Community.  Medina is also author of the book, Rebels at Work: A Handbook for Leading Change from Within. I’ve been wanting to comment on all the examples of bad thinking ...

As of this writing, Johns Hopkins, is reporting more than 432,438 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the US, and nearly 1.5m confirmed cases worldwide.  While the battle to save lives is expected to continue until a vaccine is developed (which experts say could still be 12-18 months out), national security ...

Norman T. Roule served for 34-years in the Central Intelligence Agency, managing numerous programs relating to Iran and the Middle East.   He served as the National Intelligence Manager for Iran (NIM-I) at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence from November 2008 until September 2017.  As NIM-I, he was ...

Angela Lewis, Manager of Global Intelligence and Threat Analysis Team at The Walt Disney Company Angela Lewis is the Manager of the Global Intelligence and Threat Analysis Team at The Walt Disney Company. Prior to joining the private sector, Ms. Lewis served as a Senior Counterterrorism Targeting Officer in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, ...

The Cipher Brief’s Open Source Trend Line Report utilizes open source data on a quarterly basis to track trends around the world that impact national and global security.  We break the world down by region and provide you with a recent timeline to help understand the pace at which events ...

Nine American women and children were killed by suspected drug cartel members in an attack in northern Mexico earlier this month, refocusing attention on the country’s long-standing drug and corruption issues. While hundreds of Mexicans die each year as the result of drug violence, this particular attack gained enormous attention ...

The Cipher Brief’s NEW Open Source Collection Report (OSINT) uses open source data to track trends around the world that impact national and global security. We break the world down by region and provide you with a recent timeline to help understand the pace at which events are developing and ...

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has long relied on a range of technological tools to provide geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) like commercial imaging, remote sensing and human geography to help warfighters, first responders, policymakers and spies navigate the world. Due to its unique mission and vantage point, NGA serves both as an ...

The Cipher Brief is running a special series on disinformation over the next several months.  We’ll introduce you to experts in the field who will share ways to identify disinformation efforts, help you critically think your way through what you see and share tips on what to do when you ...

As protesters filled the streets of Hong Kong calling for democratic rights, agents of influence were operating behind the scenes to affect the way the protests are perceived by different audiences. In Hong Kong, the images reflect a demonstration movement, but in China, the images are tailored to a narrative ...

This Cyber Viewpoint comes from James Van de Velde, Associate Professor at the National Intelligence University as well as Adjunct Faculty at Johns Hopkins and Georgetown University. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy position of the U.S. ...

NSA Director General Paul Nakasone announced last week that he is creating a new cybersecurity directorate that will focus on – among other things – aligning the agency’s resources on both offense and defensive cyber operations. “What I’m trying to get to in a space like cybersecurity is speed, agility ...

Ripped straight from the headlines, there are a number of current, inter-related political and security issues that could have a significant impact on the U.S.’ future security posture, including NATO’s future capabilities, exploration and control of the Arctic, Huawei and a race for dominance in space.   The Cipher Brief ...

The number of monthly apprehensions based on illegal border crossings hovers north of 90,000 people.   According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), more than 53,000 of the people who crossed in March were what part of ‘family units’, which represents an all-time high according to CBP.  The Cipher ...

When DHS was established shortly after 9/11, terrorism was the focus. But in the 16 years since the Agency’s creation, the threat landscape has changed dramatically and cyber now plays a leading role in overall threats. Four months ago, President Trump signed the Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency Act, ...

French philosopher Voltaire claimed that "if God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.” The Kremlin, whenever it wishes to free a convicted Russian spy, twists this concept a bit: “If there's no espionage case, it's necessary to invent one”.  The recent arrest of U.S. citizen Paul ...

As we head into 2019, the U.S. does so as a nation that has become accustomed to active shooters, evidenced by horrific tragedies that occurred in 2018.  On Feb. 14, 2018, 17 people died at Parkland High School. On Nov 8, 2018, at a country music bar in Thousand Oaks, ...

At a recent private D.C. dinner, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen gathered with academics and cyber experts from the private sector to talk candidly about urgent cyber threats and actions that DHS is taking to address them. It was an intimate event, hosted by Atlantic Council President Fred Kempe and ...

U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday to discuss the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).  The meeting follows a statement by U.S. President Donald Trump over the weekend, saying that the U.S. would pull out ...

As the Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, Susan M. Gordon serves as DNI Dan Coats’ number two, helping to manage an Intelligence Community (IC) that includes 17 different agencies and organizations, if you include the ODNI itself. The IC’s central mission is to provide the President with the most ...

Keeping New Jersey safe is by itself a daunting challenge, but its unique proximity to its metropolitan neighbors makes the state a critical component of broader U.S. Homeland Security. Located between two neighboring major metropolitan areas, New York City and Philadelphia, New Jersey is home to significant critical infrastructure including ...

Bottom Line:  The risk posed to U.S. national security by what are believed to be Russian-backed hacking groups, is similar to the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis according to Cipher Brief Experts, but different, in that the U.S. has no clear and obvious deterrent this time around. Recent Developments:  The ...

Six years ago this month, almost to the day, Cipher Brief CEO & Publisher Suzanne Kelly accompanied then- Border Chief Michael J. Fisher to the U.S. Border with Mexico, seeking a better understanding of the complex geography and tactics required to patrol each section of the often treacherous divide.  Back ...

Observers counting potential Senate votes for the nominee to become the next Director of the Central Intelligence Agency say Gina Haspel’s prospects look pretty good.  The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is scheduled to meet on Wednesday morning, May 16, to vote on recommending her nomination to the full Senate.  ...

French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Washington featured both the first state dinner of the Trump presidency as well as an address to Congress. Macron arrived with a clearly stated mission: to convince President Donald Trump of the importance of the Iran nuclear deal and U.S. multilateral engagement in the ...

Washington is reacting to the news that Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster will be replaced by John Bolton – news delivered by a tweet from President Donald Trump – the same way he announced the departure of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Cipher Brief experts weighed in on what this would ...

In a Trump administration shake-up announced by tweet, President Donald Trump declared his intent to nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to lead the State Department to replace the embattled Rex Tillerson, and the CIA’s deputy director, Gina Haspel, to take over for Pompeo at the intelligence agency. If confirmed, Haspel ...

Bottom line: After the mass shooting at the Parkland, Fla., school this week, the Trump administration’s focus on tackling mental health issues may produce legislation that empowers law enforcement to identify troubled would-be attackers. But such action may fail to stem the tide of gun-related mass shootings if not coupled ...

The shooting incident at the entrance to the National Security Agency had nothing to do with targeting the intelligence center, and there were no fatalities, a former U.S. official briefed on the incident tells The Cipher Brief. Up to three suspects in an SUV were being chased by police, and ...

Cipher Brief experts found President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union speech light on detail and substance. Trump promised to defeat ISIS, keep pressure on North Korea, and keep Guantanamo Bay open, among a grab bag of briefly mentioned national security issues – ideas which most of our experts ...

Former CIA director and retired Adm. Stansfield Turner passed away last week at 94. Former CIA Acting Director John McLaughlin offered this remembrance. Stansfield Turner arrived at CIA in March 1977 at a tumultuous time -- the nation was still shaking off Watergate and the Nixon resignation, and it had an ...

The recent discussion of whether North Korean leader Kim Jong Un or President Donald Trump has the bigger “nuclear button” raises the question again of procedures, policies and circumstances surrounding the use of nuclear weapons. U.S. military officers who would be in a position to receive an order for a ...

At it again. This week’s government shutdown is an all-too-familiar refrain for those of us with lengthy government service. Shutdowns – and the impact of the supposedly temporary sequestration deal of 2013 – are annoying, diverting of precious time and attention from the national security missions of the United States, ...

Cipher Brief expert and former DHS official Todd Rosenblum says the Trump administration used incomplete and cherry-picked statistics in a new report that says three out of four individuals convicted of international terrorism-related charges since the 9/11 attacks were “foreign-born,” as opposed to born U.S. citizens. The report from the ...

The framers of the U.S. Constitution decided 230 years ago to divide the nation’s war powers between the president and the Congress, making the president the commander in chief of the armed forces and giving the lawmakers the exclusive power to declare war. Yet, as 2018 gets underway, the executive ...

The United States owes its existence as an independent nation partly to objections over excessive searches by British colonial authorities. Yet today, it is possible for an individual to go to prison as a result of evidence the U.S. government has deliberately kept hidden and that it may have gathered ...

With the winding down of the war against ISIS in Syria, many Caribbean governments worry about the possible impact that returning fighters could have on domestic and regional security. It’s been on the mind of President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, for some time. He was a Marine ...

Donald Trump’s ascendency to the presidency has led to a flurry of interest in not only his mental health, but more generally, in the mental health of world leaders. This past week’s commentary regarding Trump’s state of mind highlights the perils and challenges – both ethical and methodological – of ...

President Donald Trump’s new national security strategy foreshadows a more muscular projection of U.S. interests abroad and defense of its people, businesses and borders at home, through a strengthened U.S. military and more aggressive trade negotiations, diplomatic outreach and military maneuvering. Its hawkish approach signals a switch to “gray zone” ...

As the U.S. public-health system struggles to alleviate the scourge of opioid addiction that killed more than 50,000 Americans in 2016, a variation on the theme is the ramifications of this class of drugs as chemical weapons. Among the drugs at the forefront of the health crisis are the highly ...

Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance act is set to expire in five weeks, and to hear current and former intelligence officials tell it, changing a single word in this statute will result in no less than the loss of American lives. This hyperbole is obscuring the nature of ...

The car ramming attack that occurred in New York City on Oct. 31 killed eight people and reignited debate over what constitutes domestic and international terrorism. Terrorism has remained at the forefront of American national security concerns ever since the September 11 attacks. And as globalization continues to extend its ...

President Donald Trump is currently on his first trip to China and East Asia. The visit comes at a time when America's allies in the region are increasingly anxious about their security—which should rightfully be a major focus of the trip. But it is critical that our economic future with ...

The Department of Homeland Security announced Thursday an updated version of the National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin. The move comes in the aftermath of the Halloween vehicle attack in New York City that left eight dead. By updating the terror alert system, DHS signaled the threat to the United States ...

A gunman shot dead 26 people at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday, before taking his own life, authorities said. Police said the attack was spurred by a domestic dispute between the suspect and his ex-wife’s family – not terrorism, according to Freeman Martin, regional director ...