Cipher Brief Expert Robert Eatinger has 35 years of experience practicing law in the fields of national security, intelligence, and international law. He is a solo practitioner at Robert J. Eatinger, Jr., PLLC, practicing federal law with a national security and intelligence law focus and the founding Principal of SpyLaw Consulting, LLC. ...

The Cipher Brief continues it's coverage on Russia this week in light of the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.  We tapped Cipher Brief Expert Michael Sulick who served as director of CIA’s National Clandestine Service, for his thoughts on Putin's Playbook for the West.  While at CIA, Sulick also served ...

OPINION -- Taken together, the protests underway in Belarus and the poisoning of Kremlin opponent Alexei Navalny — by what German doctors now say was the nerve agent Novichok — tap into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s desire to avoid more serious challenges to his control and his regime. It is ...

Last week, a former Army Green Beret captain was indicted, accused of providing national defense information to Russia in what appeared to be a spying operation that began in 1996.  Prosecutors say Peter Rafael Dzibinski Debbins was recruited by members of Russia’s military intelligence agency (GRU).  Debbins went on to ...

The Intelligence Community’s job is to brief policymakers on what the US knows, in order to help them make better decisions.  There is a process for what the IC does and even though that process is often the first thing forgotten for the sake of a sexy political story, understanding ...

Ever wonder how a CIA Analyst spots fake news? A new book out today by former CIA Analyst Cindy Otis, True or False:  A CIA Analyst’s Guide to Spotting Fake News takes a crack at sharing the kind of analytical thinking that helps you know what you’re reading online and ...

Counterintelligence in a Time of Crisis Mark Kelton is a former senior Central Intelligence Agency executive who retired in 2015 with 34 years of experience in intelligence operations. Before retiring, he served as CIA’s Deputy Director for Counterintelligence.  “All my little duckies, swimming on the pond…heads deep in the water, ...

Sarah Carlson is the author of a new book, In the Dark of War: A CIA Officer’s Inside Account of the U.S. Evacuation from Libya based in part, on her time working as a Targeting Analyst in CIA's Counterterrorism Center.  Carlson specialized in threats and attack plans directed against the U.S. and ...

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 ...

(Editor’s Note:  Understanding the life of a spy is often difficult, especially understanding the experiences of those who spend much of their careers working undercover. In this rare commencement address delivered to the Valley Forge graduating class of 2020, Former CIA Deputy Director for Counterintelligence Mark Kelton shares fascinating insight ...

Global markets responded on Monday to fears of a second-wave of coronavirus infections and one of the industries feeling the pressure is the gas and oil market.  This comes as Reuters cites multiple sources saying that Saudi Aramco is cutting July crude supplies to at least five buyers in Asia. ...

Cipher Brief Expert Martin Petersen is the former Deputy Executive Director of the CIA. At the time of Tiananmen, he was Deputy Director of the Office of East Asia Analysis. CIPHER BRIEF EXPERT TAKE -- The Chinese leadership’s handling of Tiananmen and the aftermath can give us some idea of ...

CIPHER BRIEF EXPERT VIEW -- Mark Kelton is a retired senior Central Intelligence Agency executive who retired in 2015 with 34 years of experience in intelligence operations. Before retiring, he served as CIA's Deputy Director for Counterintelligence.  He is the Senior Vice President for National Security Solution at DynCorp International; and ...

Emile Nakhleh is a retired CIA Senior Intelligence Service Officer and founding director of the CIA’s Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program Office. He is currently a Research Professor and Director of the Global and National Security Policy Institute at the University of New Mexico. OPINION -- According to Johns Hopkins ...

Marc Polymeropoulos served 26 years at CIA, retiring from the Senior Intelligence Service in 2019.  He served overseas in the Middle East and South Asia, and now lives in Northern Virginia. OPINION -- We all have felt a range of emotions over the last several months, from the understandable fears ...

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 ...

The Cipher Brief Threat Conference has been re-scheduled for September 13-15, 2020.  This special series of national security briefings has been launched to keep our public-private threat conference community together and engaged on the issues that matter until we can safely gather again. Conference speaker Christopher Costa is a former ...

Cipher Brief Expert Emile Nakhleh is a retired CIA Senior Intelligence Service Officer and founding director of the CIA’s Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program Office. Nakhleh is currently a Research Professor and Director of the Global and National Security Policy Institute at the University of New Mexico. Since retiring from ...

OPINION -- In the face of a world-altering pandemic, we must take this opportunity to create space for innovation within the Intelligence Community. I left my role as an intelligence analyst at NGA at the start of 2016, when my husband began a new job in Boston. Although I attempted ...

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 ...

In the age of COVID-19, The Cipher Brief reached out to our expert network to ask what they were reading.    Cipher Brief Expert Marc Polymeropoulos served 26 years in the CIA before retiring from the Senior Intelligence Service in June 2019.  His positions included field and headquarters operational assignments covering ...

In the latest edition of our State Secrets podcast, Cipher Brief COO Brad Christian talks with  Brian Raymond who works for Primer, one of our partners at The Cipher Brief’s Open Source Collection, featured in our M-F daily newsletter. At Primer, Brian helps lead their national security vertical, in other ...

Cipher Brief Expert Emile Nakhleh is a retired CIA Senior Intelligence Service Officer and founding director of the CIA’s Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program Office. Nakhleh is currently a Research Professor and Director of the Global and National Security Policy Institute at the University of New Mexico. OPINION -- Mohammed ...

Learning and teaching have quickly gone virtual due to coronavirus: schools, universities, museums, libraries, even zoos and gyms are delivering virtual learning experiences.  The need for virtual (and fast) applies to foreign language learning programs as well.  Out of necessity, we are all caught up in quickly finding solutions now ...

Sean Roche is former Associate Deputy Director of CIA for Digital Innovation. The Directorate of Digital Innovation (DDI) was created to accelerate the integration of advanced digital capability across all of CIA’s mission areas and is responsible for a wide range of espionage missions including cyber intelligence, open source collection, secure global communications, ...

Ambassador Joseph DeTrani is former Special envoy for Six Party Talks with North Korea and the U.S. Representative to the Korea Energy Development Organization (KEDO), as well as former CIA director of East Asia Operations. He later served as the Associate Director of National Intelligence and Mission Manager for North ...

Cipher Brief Expert John McLaughlin is a distinguished practitioner in residence at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.  He served as the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2000-2004 and Acting Director of the CIA in 2004. The new coronavirus brings us smack up against the modern ...

OPINION -- If intelligence officers wanted one person to model themselves after, from the perspective of the Intelligence Community’s commitment to objectivity, they could find no one better than Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. A leading principle, if not “the” leading ...

Cipher Brief Expert Sean Roche served as the Associate Deputy Director of CIA for Digital Innovation serving as the second-in-command of CIA’s first new directorate in more than 50 years. OPINION -- An Analogy:  We've all been there, during an uneventful flight there is suddenly a jolt of significant turbulence.  Our ...

Cipher Brief Expert John McLaughlin is a distinguished practitioner in residence at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.  He served as the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2000-2004 and Acting Director of the CIA in 2004. Eight years of war in Syria have come down ...

The Listening Post is a new Cipher Brief column specifically highlighting the experiences of women in the national security space, in both the public and private sectors. This new weekly column is a collection of stories, interviews, and profiles of women who have pioneered change and have inspired others along ...

Cipher Brief Expert John McLaughlin is a distinguished practitioner in residence at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.  He served as the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2000-2004 and Acting Director of the CIA in 2004. OPINION -- I recently returned from the annual Munich ...

Ambassador Joseph DeTrani is former Special envoy for Six Party Talks with North Korea, as well as former CIA director of East Asia Operations. He served as the Associate Director of National Intelligence and Mission Manager for North Korea and the Director of the National Counter Proliferation Center, and also ...

BOOK REVIEW: The Russia Trap: How Our Shadow War with Russia Could Spiral into Nuclear Catastrophe By George Beebe Reviewed by Michael Sulick Cipher Brief Expert Michael Sulick served as director of CIA’s National Clandestine Service and is currently a consultant on counterintelligence and global risk assessment. While at CIA, Sulick also ...

Cipher Brief Expert and former CIA Deputy Director for Counterintelligence, Mark Kelton wrote for The Cipher Brief back in 2017 that, The Man in the Kremlin Must be Smiling, saying that “Vladimir Putin is smiling because he thrives on chaos, particularly in the camp of the “Main Enemy,” a term the ...

Douglas London is a retired senior CIA Operations Officer and Adjunct Associate Professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies. Mr. London served 34 years in the CIA’s Clandestine Service that included several Chief of Station assignments and executive Headquarters management positions.  Since retiring from the CIA’s Clandestine service a ...

Cipher Brief Expert Robert Eatinger is former Deputy General Counsel and Acting General Counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency and retired Captain from the Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s Corp with a combined 30 years of active duty and reserve service. EXPERT OPINION -- China seeks to challenge US technological supremacy ...

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 U.S. is considering whether it will expel more than a dozen Saudi Arabian military students after a shooting at a naval base in Pensacola, Florida last month that killed three people and injured eight others. In the aftermath of the shooting, the Pentagon ordered a review of how DoD ...

The killing of Iranian Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani has drawn sharp condemnation from Iran. American politicians – while agreeing that Soleimani was a threat to Americans - are divided over the wisdom of killing him and over the longer-range consequences. OZY caught up with senior contributor, former CIA Deputy ...

OPINION -- As the Middle East bids farewell to 2019 and welcomes the new year, the peoples of the region have precious little to celebrate. Young and old — Arabs, Iranians, Turks, Kurds, and Israelis — view the coming year with trepidation, growing uncertainty, and a deepening mistrust of their ...

BOOK REVIEW: Agents of Influence: A British Campaign, a Canadian Spy, and the Secret Plot to Bring America into World War II By Henry Hemming  Reviewed by Jason U. Manosevitz The reviewer is an Intelligence Community officer with 16 years of experience analyzing military and political issues in East Asia ...

OPINION -- It has been several years since I thought deeply about Syria. And that is a shame, given my long time affection for the Syrian people, whom I grew to know and love after several decades working on Near Eastern issues at CIA. Syria came crashing back for me ...

BOOK REVIEW: Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA  By Amaryllis Fox Reviewed by Suzanne Kelly Suzanne Kelly is CEO & Publisher of The Cipher Brief. She previously served as an Intelligence Correspondent and Executive Producer for CNN. Prior to that, she was a freelance anchor for CNN International ...

As street protests continue unabated in Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Algeria, and other Middle Eastern countries, regimes have used the social media platforms and traditional media to track, control, and repress their citizens. Iran has shut down the Internet and other digital platforms. Since traditional media and journalism outlets, especially newspapers ...

TV SERIES REVIEW: The SPY A Netflix Miniseries Reviewed by Paul Kolbe Paul Kolbe is Director of The Intelligence Project at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.  Kolbe also led BP’s global Intelligence and Analysis team supporting threat warning, risk mitigation, and crisis response.  Prior to that, ...

OPINION -- It is common for the leadership of the Intelligence Community to send notes to the workforce. The leaderships’ thoughts on all sorts of issues – from intelligence successes and failures to key personnel assignments and critical budget decisions and, yes, sometimes when the IC appears in the media ...

OPINION -- Traveling in Greece on personal business during late October, it was remarkable to hear from a variety of Greeks, their unvarnished views of the Trump administration as well as their overall opinion of where America sits in the current world order. It was a unique experience for me, ...

The Cipher Brief’s Expert Take column highlights the thinking of our experts based on their areas of expertise.  Emile Nakhleh is a former member of the CIA’s Senior Intelligence Service. Lebanon’s largely peaceful “Arab Spring” is a model in civic activism for the greater Middle East. Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s ...

The killings of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his possible deputy by U.S. special operations forces are major losses for the extremists, ones that are likely to usher in a period of chaos and improvisation among ISIS fighters. But it would be a fatal mistake to assume that the deaths have destroyed ...