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 ...

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

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 ...

(The Cipher Brief 2020 Threat Conference will host an interactive session on this topic during The Cipher Brief Threat Conference September 13-15. Find details in the conference agenda.) Western governments have accused the Russian Federation of attempting, abetting, and orchestrating the assassinations of political enemies since the mid-1990s, the most ...

BOOK REVIEW:  Dead Doubles: The Extraordinary Worldwide Hunt for One of the Cold War’s Most Notorious Spy Rings by Trevor Barnes Reviewed by Nick Fishwick Nick Fishwick CMG retired in 2012 after nearly thirty years in the British Foreign Service. He did postings in Lagos, Istanbul and Kabul. His responsibilities in ...

This Academic Incubator column is part of a partnership with the Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology, presenting regular expert commentary on global security-related issues by faculty, fellows, and students. This piece was submitted by Matthew O’Shaughnessy, a Ph.D. student in the School of Electrical ...

Eric Shiraev, Political Psychologist, George Mason University Dr. Eric Shiraev is a political psychologist from George Mason University, USA, where he heads a lab on reputational politics. He is author of more than twenty books including International Relations (Oxford), Russian Government and Politics (Macmillan), and Character Assassination Throughout the Ages. Dr. Holger ...

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is in a coma after doctors at the German hospital where he is being treated say he was poisoned.  Last week, a former Army Green Beret captain was accused of spying for Russia in a relationship that allegedly began decades ago.  The Cipher Brief tapped ...

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 -- The normalization ...

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. As a ...

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 Proliferation Center, and ...

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 the Middle East, Europe, Eurasia and Counterterrorism  The Cipher Brief: What was your initial reaction to news that Israel and ...

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 Trump’s Twitter announcement ...

Jorhena Thomas is a Clinical Instructor and Lecturer in the Crime, Justice, and Security Studies program at the University of the District of Columbia; in the Applied Intelligence Program at the Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies; and in the American University School of International Service and School of Public ...

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 -- The horrific and totally ...

British Air Vice-Marshal Sean Corbett CB MBE MA RAF 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 spent in Washington DC as the first non-US Deputy Director of a major US Intelligence Agency.  ...

OPINION -- As the House and Senate versions of the fiscal 2021 Defense Authorization Bill are put together in conference, new offensive and defensive cyber operations are major topics in both versions of the legislation. Many of the proposals follow recommendations made last March by the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, which ...

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 ...

John McLaughlin served as the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2000-2004 and Acting Director of the CIA in 2004.  He is a distinguished practitioner in residence at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.   OPINION -- In the world of intelligence — my former profession ...

The US State Department recently named career diplomat James DeHart as the US’ first coordinator for the Arctic region.  DeHart’s job is to coordinate US efforts in the region, which includes “repelling China’s advances and capitalizing on commercial opportunities,” according to the Wall Street Journal.  What exactly are China’s ambitions ...

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 - During August of each ...

The author  of this piece, Adam L. Silverman, PhD is a senior subject matter expert and consultant at Helios Global, Inc specializing in low intensity warfare and cultural considerations for strategy, policy, and operations. He served as a Senior Fellow in the Center for Special Operations Studies and Research at ...

Robin Dreeke is a US Naval Academy graduate and veteran Marine Corps Officer. He spent twenty-one years as an FBI Special Agent specializing in counterintelligence and was chief of the Counterintelligence Behavioral Analysis Program. OPINION -- Having led the Counterintelligence Behavioral Analysis program at FBI, I have experience with millions ...

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 -- Washington’s ...

The Cipher Brief spoke with former Special Assistant to President Obama and Cyber Security Coordinator on the National Security Council, Michael Daniel about the need for a new National Cyber Director. Daniel makes the case that the role he once held wouldn’t be enough to address today’s needs and that ...

Last week, the Justice Department brought an indictment against two individuals accused of working with China’s Ministry of State Security to conduct a decade-long cyber intrusion campaign. The Justice Department says the two individuals were targeting the private sector some of which included research institutions working on coronavirus treatments.  But ...

Cipher Brief Expert Doug 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. J.R. Seeger ...

Edward Bozeman is a Marine Corps veteran of the Iraq and Afghan wars and has a combined 16 years of experience in the Military and as a consultant in the Intelligence Community. Mr. Bozeman is working on his graduate practicum at American University's School of International Service which is focused ...

Col. Roman Vitkovitsky is the Director of Cyberspace Operations for the United States Marine Corps. He was previously the DARPA Service Chief Fellow and the Chief Strategist for DISA. The views presented here are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the Department of Defense and its components. ...

Ted McConnell is Senior Policy Advisor for CivXNow Coalition, and Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, is former General Counsel at CIA and NSA and is a member of the executive board of the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law. @CivXNow OPINION -- These are confounding and painful times. In recent months, ...

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, ...

Kurt Sanger is a Judge Advocate with the United States Marine Corps. He received an LLM from Georgetown University Law Center and a JD from the Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University. The views presented are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the US ...

Alison Bouwmeester spent 28 years working as a CIA case officer.  When she retired and went to work in the private sector, she found that many of her former colleagues reached out to her for advice.  It turns out the private sector looked a little different than the government that ...

Iran and China are reportedly moving forward with an economic and security agreement that could pose a significant challenge to US efforts to isolate and sanction Tehran over its nuclear program.  The proposed agreement, reported last week by The New York Times “would vastly expand Chinese presence in banking, telecommunication, ...

Dr. Leo Blanken is an Associate Professor of Defense Analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School. He is the author of Rational Empires: Institutional Incentives and Imperial Expansion and co-editor of Assessing War: The Challenge of Measuring Success and Failure.  The COVID19 crisis comes at a time when the existing structure ...

BOOK REVIEW:  Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare by Thomas Rid Reviewed by Rick Ledgett Cipher Brief Expert Rick Ledgett served as the Deputy Director of the National Security Agency from January 2014 until his retirement in April 2017, culminating a nearly 40 year career in cryptology at ...

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called out China’s claims in the South China Sea this week, saying they are “completely unlawful.”   It was a distinctive public show of US support for a 2016 ruling by The Hague that found China’s actions in the South China Sea were in violation of ...

OPINION -- On the morning of Tuesday, July 7, FBI Director Christopher Wray told a Hudson Institute audience, “The greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality, is the counterintelligence and economic espionage threat from China.” To support his point, Wray said he ...

Earlier this Spring, an oil tanker from Iran arrived in Venezuela with a much-needed delivery, despite the fact that both nations are under US sanctions.  It was a signal of a strengthening relationship between two authoritarian regimes.  A spokeswoman for the US State Department criticized the move but stopped short ...

The House Foreign Affairs Committee is focusing on reported intelligence that Russia placed bounties on the lives of US troops in Afghanistan. The committee is expected to hold a hearing on Thursday titled, “Russian Bounties on U.S. Troops: Why Hasn’t the Administration Responded?”  On Friday, the committee will address the ...

Kyle Sullivan is China Practice Lead at Martin + Crumpton Group, a global risk intelligence advisory firm based in Arlington, Va. He previously spent 12 years in China, including at the U.S.-China Business Council and APCO Worldwide, advising multinational corporations on market entry, reputational due diligence and government affairs. The most ...

OPINION -- On July 1, one month before his scheduled retirement, Air Force Chief of Staff General David L. Goldfein gave a vivid description of Pentagon planning to deter great power warfare after 2030 or, if that failed, to fight and win against China, Russia or any other country. During ...

The Cipher Brief’s Academic Incubator program partners with colleges and Universities across the country to highlight the voices of the next generation of national security leaders. Karina MacLean is a senior B.A. student in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, studying Government & International Politics ...

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 Lauren Buitta, founder and CEO of Girl Security, an organization ...

An attempted cyberattack on Israel’s water system in late April, just months after the global pandemic hit, prompted fears that cyber adversaries are getting even more bold in their efforts to cause harm. Israel’s national cyber chief, Yigal Unna, officially acknowledged the plot, calling it a ‘synchronized and organized attack’ ...

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 ...

BOOK REVIEW:  China’s Western Horizon: Beijing and the New Geopolitics of Eurasia  by Daniel S. Markey Reviewed by Ambassador Joseph DeTrani 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 ...

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 ...