New FBI Director Christopher A. Wray is signaling that he takes the possibility of future Russian meddling in U.S. elections seriously, and he plans to run a bureau of  “integrity and professionalism” to tackle such threats –despite President Donald Trump’s continuing effort to slap the label of “FAKE NEWS” on covert ...

In our continuing drive to spur healthy debate in the national security space, The Cipher Brief is running TCB expert John Sipher’s book review in riposte to our podcast with author Daniel Golden. We also invite you to join in the conversation, posting your point of view for submission at ...

In our continuing drive to spur healthy debate in the national security space, The Cipher Brief is sharing this op-ed from Philip Zelikow, the Former Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, responding to a particular allegation about CIA information sharing with the FBI before the attacks of Sept. 11 on New ...

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, ...

Former FBI Director James Comey says President Donald Trump fired him last month because he did not like the way Comey was handling the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible coordination by the Trump campaign. “It’s my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia ...

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), as Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is his party’s top figure investigating what he considers a critical Russian threat to the United States that has cost Moscow “peanuts.” “We are here,” he said in a statement prepared for Thursday’s hearing with former FBI Director ...

Former FBI Director James Comey is set to testify before Congress on Thursday about his discussions with President Donald Trump related to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. In his opening statement, released by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Comey details his contacts with Trump — ...

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 two of the suspects in London’s Saturday attacks are identified, U.S. law enforcers are working to assess any potential threat here. That includes an assessment of the UK attackers, and examining what’s needed to secure the United States. To explain the procedures in more detail, The Cipher Brief’s Elaine ...

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. ...

In 1990, as a young assistant U.S. attorney, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) slipped into the national security world when he nailed the first FBI agent ever to be accused of espionage – for Moscow. Now he is the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee – a subject he calls ...

The White House is again defending itself against allegations made in news reports, this time concerning the Washington Post’s story on Friday that President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner – who currently serves as the President’s senior adviser – met with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak in December to discuss establishing back channel communications ...

On the night of March 10, 2004, Deputy Attorney General James Comey and FBI Director Robert Mueller sped to George Washington University Hospital and stopped two of President George W. Bush’s aides from getting the signature of Attorney General John Ashcroft, gravely ill, on a legally dubious National Security Agency ...

The fallout from the firing of FBI Director James Comey could be more extensive than the White House bargained for. In early Wednesday morning tweets, President Donald Trump blasted the bipartisan criticism of his move, concluding that “when things calm down, they will be thanking me.” The departure of Comey ...

President Trump’s unexpected firing of FBI Director James Comey came at the same time it became apparent that Bureau and Congressional investigators are focusing seriously on Trump family businesses and their financial dependence on Russian money. Trump has constantly tweeted his opposition to investigating any links between his campaign aides ...

President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey coincides with the ramping up of multiple investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with Trump campaign associates. On Tuesday, Senate investigators on the Senate Intelligence Committee asked the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network ...

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 ...

FBI Director James Comey’s firing is likely to have massive implications for the image of the United States around the world – particularly if, as former National Counterterrorism Center Director Mike Leiter suggests, a special prosecutor is appointed to oversee the investigation of Russian interference in last year’s election. The ...

As the White House sent shockwaves through Washington Tuesday, with the announcement that President Donald Trump had fired FBI Director James Comey, James Clapper –  former Director of National Intelligence and The Cipher Brief network expert— said it was “a huge loss for the nation, the FBI, and the Intelligence ...

Late Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump fired the Director of the FBI, Jim Comey, citing his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server – an investigation concluded in 2016, and one for which Trump praised Comey during the presidential campaign. The suddenness of the ...

As FBI Director, James Comey was not only a pivotal member of the Intelligence Community (IC), but the head of an organization investigating whether Russia interfered in last year’s U.S. elections. To get an IC perspective on Comey’s dismissal by the Trump Administration, The Cipher Brief’s Leone Lakhani talked with ...

FBI Director James Comey said he expects his agency will not "say another peep" about the investigation into possible coordination between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russia until it is completed. But during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, the director did warn that Russia is still actively involved ...

The process of radicalization, by which disaffected members of society are convinced to embrace violent means to pursue the goals of a terrorist ideology, has been intensely studied since the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Since then, the threat of international terrorism has become one of the ...

The Cipher Brief’s Bennett Seftel sat down with Charlie Allen, former Under Secretary for Security and Analysis at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, to discuss the continued threat that individuals who become radicalized pose to U.S. security. According to Allen, several factors drive people toward jihadist ideology including a ...

FBI Director James Comey was the guest of honor at an Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) Leadership Dinner Wednesday in Alexandria, Virginia. INSA is an intelligence and national security organization representing leaders from the public, private, and academic sectors. Director Comey’s opening remarks focused mainly on the FBI’s cyber ...

FBI Director James Comey confirmed on Monday, for the first time, that the agency is conducting an investigation into whether there was any coordination between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election. Comey told the House Intelligence Committee the investigation into possible Trump-Russia connections ...

Russian tactics to undermine democracies around the world were in the spotlight at a Congressional hearing on Wednesday. “What I’m trying to explain to the American people is the Russian government, in Putin’s hands, has been up to no good in a lot of places for a long time when ...

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, during three Sunday television interview programs, gave different and sometimes confusing stories about what activities led to President Trump’s firing of his National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, and what still may be going on about that situation. The first thing to note was ...

The impact that the Snowden revelations had on private businesses is one of the most overlooked stories in the Snowden saga, particularly the impact on technology and Internet communications companies such as Apple, Google, Verizon, and Cisco.  In my opinion, the Snowden revelations impacted businesses’ willingness to work with the ...

The U.S. Department of Justice has made new changes to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, changing venue provisions for obtaining a search warrant. The Cipher Brief sat down with David O’Neil, a Partner at the firm Debevoise & Plimpton and former acting Assistant Attorney General of ...

On December 1, Congress authorized sweeping new government hacking and surveillance authorities by allowing changes to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure to take effect. Republican leaders stonewalled bipartisan efforts in the Senate and the House to stop or delay the change and it went into effect ...

What if the U.S. government could force entry—in other words, hack—into electronic devices around the world, using only one warrant, even if the owners of those devices were not suspected of any criminal activity - and it would be legal? The U.S. Department of Justice has made new changes to ...

With the growth of cybercrime facilitated by the global nature of the Internet, law enforcement is adapting their toolsets to better tackle the challenges presented by technologies that blur legal jurisdiction. The Cipher Brief spoke with Elaine Lammert, former Deputy General Counsel at the FBI, about the recent changes made ...

Is a future where people can be arrested for crimes they have not yet committed dystopian or utopian? While this scenario remains the fodder of science fiction, new tools are rapidly challenging our libertarian conceptions of innocent until proven guilty. In the last few decades there has been enormous growth ...

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 ...

No matter who wins today’s election, the American democratic system is in trouble. Should Donald Trump win, the country would have a president who has threatened to use his powers against those who disagree with him and has shown no respect for facts or telling the truth. A Hillary Clinton ...

At least twice in the past year, the U.S. was Twappled.  That is, multibillion-dollar U.S. corporations used their significant position in their respective industry to obstruct the U.S. from conducting activities intrinsic to the purpose of government, but which these corporations saw as inconsistent with their own interests and ideals.  ...

Collaborating with the private sector remains “a work in progress” for the U.S. government and intelligence community, but prioritizing that effort is crucial to protecting national security, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Thursday. Reaching out to the private sector is a “daunting task,” the U.S.’s top spy said, ...

The newly released FBI interview reports show that it was a Bureau official who initially suggested he would look into changing the classification of a State Department email that was part of the Hillary Clinton email probe, if Undersecretary Patrick Kennedy would allow an increase of FBI agents in Iraq. ...

The increasing rate of international and domestic terror threats to and in the homeland highlights the importance to our security of the nation’s least understood community: the homeland intelligence enterprise.  Although the homeland intelligence enterprise contains a large and diverse collection of assets from across the Department of Homeland Security ...

The past year has proven to be a contentious and disruptive time for the technology sector. The threat of home grown terrorism combined with the adroit usage of social media by terrorist groups, has forced the tech sector to come into far closer contact with the intelligence community than it ...

How the Terrorist Watchlist Works In the wake of recent domestic terrorist incidents, the spotlight has once again fallen on the terrorist watchlist. What is it, how does the system actually work — and could the watchlist have been a means to prevent the attacks? The gunman in the Orlando ...

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 ...

"If you know the enemy and know yourself," Sun Tzu once wrote, "you need not fear the results of a hundred battles." When it comes to the War on Terrorism, unfortunately, we have a lot to fear. The pace of these attacks has become so frequent that we risk gradually ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

The debate about “Going Dark” has reignited following the tragic attacks in Paris last week. There have been claims the terrorists used encrypted communications to coordinate their attack and avoid detection by intelligence services– creating what is, essentially, the worst case scenario envisioned by advocates for government access to encrypted ...

Our government should not want a backdoor to encrypted messages. The government says it wants to have a special set of keys to decrypt any encrypted data transmitted across the Internet. The computer industry says it isn’t possible.  The government says it is a matter of national security. The industry ...