In a letter obtained by The Cipher Brief this week, former CIA Directors and Acting Directors, including former Director Gina Haspel, endorsed CIA Director Bill Burns in his new role as DCIA. The letter (below) was originally submitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee, which oversaw Burns' confirmation hearing last week, in ...

Walter Pincus is a contributing senior national security columnist for The Cipher Brief. He spent forty years at The Washington Post, writing on topics from nuclear weapons to politics.  In 2002, he and a team of Post reporters won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.  OPINION -- Reflecting on his ...

Kristin Wood, Sr. Climate Editor, The Cipher Brief Kristin Wood is the Senior Climate Editor for The Cipher Brief, a Cipher Brief expert, a non-resident fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs’ Intelligence Project, and a former senior CIA officer with 20 years of ...

Javed Ali is a Towsley Policymaker in Residence at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and served in senior roles at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and National Security Council.  OPINION -- Events over the past year, including ...

In the summer of 2016, then-Director of National Intelligence Lt. Gen. James Clapper began to detect a worrisome trend.  It was an election year, and he was starting to see an uptick in Russian activity around misinformation and disinformation that went well beyond the usual playbook.  Russia had been known ...

OPINION -- The Biden administration is reviewing not just the February 2020, Trump administration agreement with the Taliban that calls for all U.S. forces to be out of Afghanistan by May 1, but also the impact of Trump’s surprise, pre-election, October tweet to cut current troop levels to 2,500 from ...

Cipher Brief Expert Daniel N. Hoffman is a retired clandestine services officer and former Chief of Station with the Central Intelligence Agency. His combined 30 years of government service included high-level overseas and domestic positions at the CIA.  Hoff man is an advisor to Vaillance Group. Shawnee Delaney was a clandestine officer and former Detachment Chief ...

Zachery Tyson Brown is an intelligence and national security futurist interested in the many ways in which intelligence, strategy, organizational design, and disruptive technologies intersect. A veteran military intelligence analyst who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, Zach is now a National Security Fellow at the Truman National Security Project, ...

OPINION -- “Americans have not yet seriously grappled with how profoundly the AI (Artificial Intelligence) revolution will impact society, the economy, and national security,” is one of the opening sentences of the draft final report from the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence that is now being publicly circulated for ...

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 the ...

Walter Pincus is a contributing senior national security columnist for The Cipher Brief. He spent forty years at The Washington Post, writing on topics from nuclear weapons to politics. In 2002, he and a team of Post reporters won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. OPINION -- The worldwide cyber war ...

Doowan Lee is a strategic advisor to the Institute for Security and Technology and adjunct professor of politics at the Univ. of San Francisco.   Phil W. Reynolds is a visiting scholar at the Center for Futures Studies at the University of Hawaii and is the author of Ouroboros: Understanding ...

Cipher Brief Expert 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 ...

Walter Pincus is a contributing senior national security columnist for The Cipher Brief. He spent forty years at The Washington Post, writing on topics from nuclear weapons to politics.  In 2002, he and a team of Post reporters won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. OPINION -- “Terrorism is an ...

Rob Knake is the Whitney Shepardson Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Knake served from 2011 to 2015 as director for cybersecurity policy at the National Security Council. In this role, he was responsible for the development of presidential policy on cybersecurity and built and managed federal processes for cyber ...

Cipher Brief Expert Sean Corbett retired from the Royal Air Force in September 2018 after a 30-year career as a professional intelligence officer. His last appointment in the military was a two-year rotation in Washington DC where he served as the first non-US Deputy Director of a major US Intelligence ...

Walter Pincus is a contributing senior national security columnist for The Cipher Brief. He spent forty years at The Washington Post, writing on topics from nuclear weapons to politics.  In 2002, he and a team of Post reporters won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. OPINION -- Newly-installed Director of ...

Cipher Brief Expert John E. McLaughlin is the Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).  He served as Acting Director of Central Intelligence from July to September 2004 and as Deputy Director of Central Intelligence from October 2000 to July 2004. EXPERT TAKE ...

CLIMATE -- One of President Biden’s first areas of focus after taking office on Wednesday was on the climate, reinstating a commitment that the US will rejoin the Paris climate accord. The Biden Administration is also pledging a review of more than 100 other climate or environment-related regulations and the ...

Walter Pincus is a contributing senior national security columnist for The Cipher Brief. He spent forty years at The Washington Post, writing on topics from nuclear weapons to politics.  In 2002, he and a team of Post reporters won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. OPINION -- The Senate Armed ...

(Photo caption:  Full-size dummy LCTs, codenamed BIGBOB, moored in South East England before the Normandy invasion (British Imperial War Museums, photograph H 42527, public domain).  This article was adapted from a nonfiction postscript in Christopher Turner’s Lieutenant Barnaby’s Inflatable Air Force. Christopher Turner had a 25-year career in the Central Intelligence Agency’s Directorate ...

Javed Ali is a Towsley Policymaker in Residence at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and had over 20 years professional experience in Washington, DC on national security issues, to include senior roles at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Office of the Director of National ...

OPINION -- Within today’s online environment, we’ve seen a billowing public awareness of “fake news,” the uncontrolled spread of disinformation (and its very real impacts), public acts of violence, and a national—and often heated—conversation about structural racism. More and more, “hate speech,” “extremism,” and “toxic rhetoric” are mentioned in the ...

The Cipher Brief asked our experts to weigh in on how they saw Wednesday’s storming of the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump protesters and how allies and adversaries are likely viewing the events of the day. Nick Fishwick CMG retired in 2012 after nearly thirty years in the British Foreign Service. ...

Lauren Zabierek is the Executive Director of the Cyber Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center. She previously served as an intelligence officer in the United States Air Force and as a civilian intelligence analyst with the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA). Paul Kolbe is Director of The Intelligence Project ...

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. Since retiring from the government in ...

Walter Pincus is a contributing senior national security columnist for The Cipher Brief. He spent forty years at The Washington Post, writing on topics from nuclear weapons to politics.  In 2002, he and a team of Post reporters won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. OPINION -- On the eve ...

Cipher Brief Expert John McLaughlin is former Acting Director of the CIA, former Deputy CIA Director and is the Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) OPINION -- President-elect Joe Biden faces a longer and more complex set of foreign policy challenges than ...

President-Elect Joe Biden’s incoming national security adviser Jake Sullivan told NPR this week that the Defense Department hasn't granted a meeting to the Biden transition team since Dec. 18.  That – Sullivan tells NPR - is complicating the ability of the incoming administration of being read-in on the current administration’s ...

Weeks after a massive cyber breach of U.S. government agencies and private sector companies was publicly announced, there is still not a clear response from the administration on who is responsible and what will be done about it.  While the government has yet to officially name the nation-state that is ...

OPINION -- President-elect Joe Biden’s campaign slogan, “Diplomacy is back,” will get an instant test after January 20, when his incoming team has just 16 days to find a way to extend the 2010, New START nuclear agreement with President Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Otherwise, it will expire on February 5, ...

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 -- As the Biden administration ...

Walter Pincus is a contributing senior national security columnist for The Cipher Brief. He spent forty years at The Washington Post, writing on topics from nuclear weapons to politics.  In 2002, he and a team of Post reporters won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. OPINION -- The fiscal 2021 ...

As Washington continues to investigate the true depth of what experts are describing as one of the most damaging cyberattacks in U.S. history, both government and private sector leaders are considering not only the aftermath, but the shifting dynamics of global espionage. The hack was first publicly reported by FireEye ...

Cipher Brief Expert 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 also served as the Associate Director of National Intelligence and Mission Manager for North Korea and the Director of the National Counter ...

Gary Grappo is a former U.S. ambassador who held senior positions including Minister Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad; U.S. Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman; and Charge d’Affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He’s currently ...

(The Cipher Brief is an amazon affiliate and may make a small commission on books purchased via The Cipher Brief. ) UnderCover Senior Book Editor Bill Harlow served on active duty in the US Navy for 25 years and served as Assistant White House Press Secretary and spokesman for the Secretary ...

OPINION -- Was the November 27, assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh - Iran’s top nuclear scientist - the beginning or the end of attempts to sabotage President-elect Joe Biden’s plans for the United States to return to the 2015, multilateral Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)? My guess is that there ...

Views expressed in The Cipher Brief are individual views and do not represent all experts. Gregory Sims served in the CIA’s Clandestine Service for over thirty years, including multiple field tours as Chief and Deputy Chief of CIA stations.  He is currently retired. OPINION -- As a retired CIA officer ...

Taiwanese factories produce much of the world’s computer chip and semi-conductor supplies that are used in a variety of products from smartphones to medical equipment. Taken without context, that may not seem cause for concern, but when you consider Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent push for his country to make ...

Just over a week ago, Iran’s top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed by what Iranian authorities describe as a remote-controlled weapon as his car made its way through the streets of Tehran. It was the latest in a series of high-profile killings that included al Qaeda’s second in command ...

The Listening Post tells the stories of women in the national security space by sharing experiences, interviews, and profiles of women who are ushering in the new era of national security.  Amy Chaput is a former Acting Chief Technology Officer for the Directorate of Science & Technology at CIA, where ...

OPINION -- "There will not be another foot of [Trump’s border] wall constructed on my administration, No. 1," President-elect Joe Biden pledged on August 4, during an interview on National Public Radio. "End. Stop. Done. Over. Not going to do it. Withdraw the lawsuits. We're out. We're not going to ...

Douglas H. Wise served as Deputy Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from August 2014 until August 2016. Following 20 years of active duty in the Army where he served as an infantry and special operations officer, he spent the remainder of his career at CIA. He graduated from the ...

Even though national security did not play a significant role during the U.S. presidential campaign, President-elect Joe Biden is set to inherent a world in crisis when he takes the oath of office in January. Among the national security challenges facing the U.S. in 2021 are those posed by a ...

Dr. Kenneth Dekleva served as a Regional Medical Officer/Psychiatrist (including 5 years at the U.S. Embassy Moscow, Russian Federation) with the U.S. Dept. of State during 2002-2016, and is currently Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director, Psychiatry-Medicine Integration, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX.  OPINION -- President-elect Joe Biden has ...

OPINION -- Last Wednesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci used the metaphor, “the cavalry is on the way,” referring to two COVID-19 vaccines that are expected to be approved for initial distribution next month, with one additional vaccine still in the testing phase. It’s an apt metaphor for distribution because leading that ...

BOOK REVIEW: Law and Leviathan: Redeeming the Administrative State by Cass R. Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule / Belknap Press Reviewed by Terence Check Terence Check is an attorney in the federal government, and works on data privacy, biometrics, counterterrorism, criminal law, cybersecurity, information-sharing and technology-related matters. All opinions and statements are his own. ...

Eldad Shavit, Sr. Researcher, INSS Eldad Shavit is a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) and previously served in senior roles in Israeli Defense Intelligence and the Prime Minister’s Office. Dr. Raz Zimmt, Research Fellow, INSS Dr. Raz Zimmt is a research fellow at the Institute ...

Philip Reitinger is the President and CEO of the Global Cyber Alliance. You can follow him on Twitter @CarpeDiemCyber OPINION -- “Black Tuesday” for cybersecurity came on November 17, when the President of the United States fired Chris Krebs, Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Mr. Krebs had the temerity to do ...