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 ...

James Van de Velde, Ph.D., is an Adjunct Faculty Member at Johns Hopkins University. He can be reached at [email protected] OPINION -- High technology has transformed communications but has done (strangely) far less to advance personal security. Many police reform proposals have advocated for police body cams. But why not ...

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 ...

OPINION -- US Government officials, civilian and military, alike may be facing unusual tests in the next four months: Does their loyalty rest with the oath they took to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, or to President Trump? Maybe those ...

Cipher Brief Expert Jim Danoy is a retired defense intelligence executive and served as the National Intelligence Manager for Europe and NATO and a President’s Daily Brief (PDB) briefer to the 44th President of the United States. The COVID-19 pandemic, as with previous cataclysmic events will likely result in the ...

Brigham Bechtel is a former CIA Chief of Station. He now works for Coverent and serves at Navigators Global as a Senior Strategist -Security, Defense, & Space. He is also the founder of Pelorus Consulting, LLC. OPINION -- America’s promise of equal justice before the law for its citizens always ...

(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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Farah Pandith, Former Special Representative to Muslim Communities, US Department of State Farah Pandith served as a political appointee under Presidents George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, and most recently she was the first-ever Special Representative to Muslim Communities, serving both Secretaries Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. ...

Ambassador Joseph DeTrani is a fluent Mandarin Chinese speaker who served over two decades with the Central Intelligence Agency as a member of the Senior Intelligence Service. He also served as former Special envoy for Six Party Talks with North Korea and was the U.S. Representative to the Korea Energy ...

OPINION -- Today, American institutions are front and center as we simultaneously confront the triple threat of an active pandemic, civil unrest spurred by racial injustice, and an economic crisis. Resolving these crises will require a coordinated effort from all our democratic institutions: the three branches of our federal government, ...

OPINION -- On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on an authorization for Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to issue subpoenas to 53 individuals, most of them connected to the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation. Among other things, Graham’s panel will look into how the FBI got into its probe ...

OPINION -- During a roundtable at the State Department last week, Attorney General William Barr emphasized how “our national security and the flourishing of our democratic values” depend on winning the competition with China over 5G wireless.  5G mobile networks with ultra fast data speed are critical because they support ...

“Lessons adopted” is a much more important concept than “lessons learned.”  Lessons adopted requires the learning of lessons, but it also requires a more important and more difficult step – the application of the lessons.  As we wrote in a recent Washington Post op-ed, the coronavirus pandemic has retaught us ...

Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, US Army (Ret) was the Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs from 2008-2009. Prior to that, he was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle East Affairs from 2006-2008. These positions followed a 30-year career in the military with service as Deputy Director for ...

A whirlwind of actions and statements regarding Hong Kong over the past week has increased tensions between the US and China.  Even before Beijing passed legislation last week to move in the direction of imposing new national security restrictions on Hong Kong, the US was contemplating a bold response.   It's ...

BOOK REVIEW:  Chinese Communist Espionage: An Intelligence Primer by Peter Mattis and Matthew Brazil Reviewed by Martin Petersen Martin Petersen is a Cipher Brief Expert and former Director of the Office of East Asian Analysis and the Office of Asian Pacific and Latin American Analysis in the CIA’s Directorate of Intelligence.  ...

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 ...

Well before COVID-19 there was a “hardening of expert and public opinion in America on the seriousness of the Chinese threat,” according to Cipher Brief Expert and former Acting Director of the CIA, John McLaughlin, who says the path forward requires deterrence based not just on military strength but on ...

As the world focuses on the immediate threat of the coronavirus pandemic, China is exercising its muscle over territorial claims.  As The New York Times reports, “In recent weeks, the Chinese have sunk a Vietnamese fishing boat in the South China Sea; swarmed a Malaysian offshore oil rig; menaced Taiwan; ...

Lauren Bean Buitta is the founder and CEO of Girl Security, and Erin Connolly is the organization’s Associate Director of Programming. Girl Security is a nonpartisan, citizen sector non-profit closing the gender gap in national security by building a pipeline for girls in national security through learning, training, and mentoring support. OPINION -- In ...

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 ...

BOOK REVIEW:  Burn-In: A Novel of the Real Robotic Revolution by Peter W. Singer and August Cole Reviewed by Niloofar Razi Howe  Niloofar Razi Howe is a cybersecurity and technology executive, investor and board member. She currently serves as Sr. Operating Partner at Energy Impact Partners, Sr. Fellow at New America, ...

Cipher Brief Expert Mitch Silber and Ioan Pop have pulled from court documents and open source reporting to compile a modus operandi of Iran and Hezbollah and their efforts to attack the west. Mitchell D. Silber, Former Director of Intelligence, NYPD In January 2020, Mitchell D. Silber was named the ...

We know that corporate boards can no longer afford to leave cyber to the IT team. In the future, (which is now) they need to be actively engaged in cybersecurity and they need to know how to do it from a strategic level. Particularly in a time when many companies ...

The Listening Post focuses on the experiences of women in the national security space. This new column is a collection of stories, interviews, and profiles of women who have pioneered change, exhibited strength and inspired others. We recently spoke with INSA Chair and former Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, ...

The Listening Post is a new Cipher Brief column specifically highlighting the experiences of women in the national security space. This new column is a collection of stories, interviews, and profiles of women who have pioneered change, exhibited strength and inspired others along the way. For this one edition, Cipher Brief ...

The Cipher Brief is honored to share the latest report from our friends at Business Executives for National Security (BENS) on Talent Management: A Strategy for Great Power Competition.   BENS is a nonpartisan group of private sector professionals who work to help identify best practices and help find solutions ...

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, law enforcement has kept a close eye on the impact the virus might have on drug cartels.  Supply chains of all sorts around the world have been impacted by the spread of COVID, but so have supply chains that provide necessary chemicals for ...

The Cipher Brief recently hosted General Joseph Votel (Ret.) for a member’s briefing on lessons learned from SOF to Silicon Valley and how the US needs to pull together to be ready for the next crisis. General Votel joined Business Executives for National Security (BENS) as their CEO and president ...

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 also served as the Associate Director of National Intelligence and Mission Manager for North ...

This column is part of our new series, ‘From the C-Suite’, focused on bringing you perspectives on threats as they see them from leaders in the private sector.  Eric Hipkins is the founder and CEO of R9B, a provider of cybersecurity training, products and services for the U.S. Department of ...

The global pandemic caused by COVID-19 has added a significant layer of uncertainty to an already complicated situation in the Middle East.  The Cipher Brief turned recently to our expert Norm Roule to put this in perspective for us. Roule served for 34 years in the Central Intelligence Agency, managing ...

OPINION -- This past March and April, US Naval Forces attached to Central Command carried out live fire exercises in the North Persian Gulf’s international waters near Iran, using Army Apache helicopters and AC-130 gunships to practice defense against threats from swarming Iranian speedboats. Such a US exercise was underway ...

The Unexpected Spy: From the CIA to the FBI, My Secret Life Taking Down Some of the World’s Most Notorious Terrorists By Tracy Walder | @tracy_walder Tracy Walder is a former Staff Operations Officer (SOO) at the CIA's Counterterrorism Center and a former Special Agent at the FBI's Los Angeles Field ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

OPINION -- Defense Department senior officials last week described plans to increase testing for Covid-19 over the next few months, prioritizing higher risk forces but eventually covering all [DoD] personnel in a process that could set an example for the country as a whole. “We're continuing to develop our testing ...

Cipher Brief Expert Ambassador Joseph DeTrani was the former Special Envoy for Negotiations with North Korea.  He is currently a Fellow at the Institute of Korean-American Studies.  The views are the author’s and not any government agency or department. OPINION -- On April 27, 2018, South Korea’s President, Moon Jae-in, ...

This column is part of our new series, ‘From the C-Suite’, focused on how leaders from the private sector - in their own words - are driving change and innovation in the national security space. We’ll bring you insights on the threats as they see them and notes on their ...

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 ...

OPINION -- The Defense Department has gone to war against the coronavirus, employing some 50,000 troops on both offense and defense. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen, Mark A. Milley announced during a Pentagon press conference April. 14, “We are, in fact, at war against a virus. We are a supporting organization.” ...

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. Thinking in the Time of Coronavirus - Part One  discussed three important thinking ...

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 ...

Yahoo News national security and investigations reporter Jenna McLaughlin published a story last week, under the headline ‘Intelligence officials weigh possibility coronavirus escaped from a Chinese lab’, reporting that “Although the U.S. intelligence community early on dismissed the notion that the coronavirus is a synthesized bioweapon, it is still weighing ...