Cipher Brief Expert John E. McLaughlin 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.  He is currently the Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). OPINION ...

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 also a Research Professor and Director of the Global and National Security Policy Institute at the University of New Mexico. OPINION -- Several small groups of ...

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 ...

North Korea’s party Congress, held earlier this month, offered some insight into what Leader Kim Jong Un is thinking when it comes to the country’s nuclear ambitions with a Biden Administration now in office. Kim told the Eighth Congress of the Korean Workers’ Party (KWP), that no matter who takes ...

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 ...

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 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 ...

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 ...

CONVERSATION STARTER -- Few would argue that the January 3 drone strike that killed Iranian General and Quds Force Commander General Qassem Soleimani was a bold move.  The overt nature by which the strike was carried out seemed to offer a clear sign that the US is ready to openly ...

Patrick Duddy served as the U.S. ambassador to Venezuela from 2007 to 2010.  He is now teaches at Duke University where he is also the director of Duke’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Affairs. As 2019 comes to a close, it is clear the U.S needs to up its ...

The Cipher Brief is bringing you a range of expert perspectives on Syria this week.  General Jack Keane (Ret.), the chairman of the Institute for the Study of War, spelled out The Limits of U.S. Influence in Syria on Monday with a solid assessment of U.S., Iranian and Russian influence in ...

OPINION -- As we digest the Trump administration’s unorthodox style of governing in the foreign affairs arena, it is worth focusing on a key aspect of our bilateral relationships that does not get much press, the effect of President Trump on our foreign intelligence service liaison partners.  How they approach ...

“This idea may be formulated as follows. The situation is better now than it was ten years ago; therefore ten years from now it will be better still. I will attempt to show here why I disagree with this notion.”          Andre Amalryk In 1968, Andrei Amalrik wrote “Will the ...

Oil prices spiked Monday after a drone attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities over the weekend.  The attacks impacted more than half of Saudi Arabia’s daily exports, which is equivalent to about 5% of global crude oil production.  Experts believe it could take weeks for the kingdom to restore full ...

As tensions between the U.S. and Iran continue to rise, Cipher Brief expert Norm Roule answered subscriber’s questions in a Cipher Brief Members-Only webcast. What follows is a slightly edited (for length and clarity) transcript of that webcast. For more opportunities to engage directly with the experts on pressing national ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The announced U.S. withdrawal from Syria is compelling Israel to recalibrate its strategy to prevent Iran from further expanding its influence. Israel views Iran’s presence in Syria as an unacceptable threat that must be confronted, despite the risks of doing so. Israeli leaders have secured ...