The statement by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump dismissing the CIA’s findings that Russia had interfered in the recent election has implications for the Agency, the country, and its allies. Not least affected are the CIA field operatives, whose ability to develop contacts and sources could, argues former CIA Officer Alex ...

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 ...

As the United States and the international community absorbed the news that the CIA believed Russia had interfered in the recent Presidential election to help Donald Trump’s candidacy, President-elect Trump dismissed the assessment out of hand, describing it as a result of partisan politics. As part of The Cipher Brief’s ...

One of President-elect Donald Trump’s first choices for his national security team was Representative Mike Pompeo for Director of the CIA.  A graduate of West Point and a Harvard educated lawyer, Pompeo is a three-term Republican Congressman from Kansas, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, and a strong advocate ...

As the security clearance process comes under the microscope during President-elect Donald Trump’s transition, some experts and former intelligence community members say the system for determining whether people are eligible for access to classified information needs a revamp. Given the challenges of over-classification, insider threats, and today’s security environment, the ...

The U.S. Intelligence Community’s (IC) clandestine human intelligence (HUMINT) services are experiencing an erosion of their core mission and values, with consequences to our current and future collection capability.  As a 31-year career veteran at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), I executed and managed some of the CIA’s sensitive covert ...

Susan Williams’ book, Spies in the Congo, provides a well-researched and detailed history of the efforts of the Office of Strategic Services, America’s first strategic intelligence agency and the forerunner of the CIA, to establish itself in the Congo as well as West Africa.  In telling the OSS story, Dr. ...

Mark Henshaw’s latest spy thriller could have been ripped straight from today’s headlines as tensions between Moscow and Washington continue to mount. The Fall of Moscow Station is the third installment to Henshaw’s Red Cell series and follows the latest adventures of two CIA analysts, Kyra Stryker and Jonathan Burke, ...

With a decline in U.S. global influence since the 2008 financial crisis, China’s emergence as an economic and increasingly political world power, and Russia striving to reassert its might, it's no longer possible to see issues in the black and white tones of the Cold War – grey is a better shade ...

Fifteen years ago, 19 hijackers and four planes shattered American illusions of security. An outside attack seemed remote to most Americans, and there appeared to be no immediate threat to their daily lives.  September 11th quickly dispelled that sense of safety, and as the dust settled and the death toll ...

In the aftermath of 9/11, the American intelligence community (IC) went through one of the most transformative periods in its history. From the creation of the Office of the Director of the National Intelligence (ODNI) to the creation of new agencies like the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. national ...

Reflecting on the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11, Congressman Will Hurd of Texas said that there have been both successes and room for improvement as the U.S. campaign against terrorism continues. The efforts of the U.S. intelligence community “should be credited for why there has not been another foreign-planned terrorist attack ...

In recent years, it’s been increasingly common for former CIA operations officers to write books and Op-Eds.   In an Op-Ed for Fox Business online last week, Bryan Dean Wright called out fundamental management failures at CIA.  And this week, another former ops officer, Doug Laux, published a book, Left of ...

Across the Central Intelligence Agency lobby from the iconic stars memorializing officers killed in the line of duty is a less well-known memorial.  It is an understated relief in honor of those foreign spies who risked and lost their lives to provide secret information to the United States.  It is ...

A Candid Conversation with former Acting Director Michael Morell Michael Morell, the former Deputy Director and twice Acting Director of CIA and the author of the New York Times best selling book “The Great War of Our Time,” agreed to sit down with the Cipher Brief to talk about the ...

Got a secret? Welcome to the Dead Drop. ETHOS SOS. The CIA and George Washington University are joining up to hold a public conference on October 27 titled “Ethos and Profession of Intelligence.”  (Sounds to us like they left a word out of the title – but perhaps the word ...

Carmen Medina is the CIA’s former Deputy Director of Intelligence and a member of The Cipher Brief network of experts. Her unique insights will be featured regularly on TCB. Having started my professional career in 1978, I've seen my fair share of international affairs and bust-ups—everything from the Soviet invasion ...

Do you want an opinion from someone who doesn’t have any relevant information?  Probably not.  However, many journalists and self described experts don’t seem deterred by their ignorance when they write about the U.S. intelligence community.   Normally, a failure to understand a subject would deter someone from writing about ...

Got a secret, can you keep it? Welcome to the The Dead Drop.  Each week we pass along news and gossip from the world of national security and intelligence.  While the rest of The Cipher Brief is deadly serious, stop off at The Dead Drop for information that can be ...

Got a secret, can you keep it? Welcome to the The Dead Drop.  Each week we pass along news and gossip from the world of national security and intelligence.  While the rest of The Cipher Brief is deadly serious, stop off at The Dead Drop for information that can be ...

There’s one group you almost certainly did not hear mentioned as the news media and others on Memorial Day lauded, honored, and remembered our richly deserving military heroes – those who gave their all for our country.  I’m speaking of the CIA officers who have also given that last full ...