Twitter is releasing a trove of known accounts and posts that it says were used to meddle in U.S. elections dating back to 2016.  According to the company, the data includes more than 4,600 accounts and more than 10 million tweets, photos, GIFs and broadcasts linked to Russia and Iran.  ...

Bottom Line Up Front As the details continue to emerge, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi appears to be a political assassination, potentially orchestrated by the Saudi government. There are reports, given credence by President Trump, that the royal family will seek to blame ‘rogue elements’ for Khashoggi’s murder, however implausible ...

Bottom Line Up Front Although it receives less attention than the so-called Islamic State or IS franchise groups in places like Libya and Afghanistan, the IS affiliate in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula poses a major threat to regional stability. Despite boasting the Arab world’s largest conventional ground force, the Egyptian military ...

Bill Evanina is the Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) - a part of the U.S. Intelligence Community that leads and supports the government’s counterintelligence and security efforts.    The NCSC tackles that mission in a number of ways, but a large part of their task is ...

Bottom Line Up Front Russia continues to attack the data and computer networks of Western countries and organizations. Moscow will target any organization that seeks to report the truth on the Kremlin’s criminal activities, from the downing of flight MH-17 to more banal Russian actions like sports doping. On October ...

U.S. and UK officials are taking a more aggressive approach toward Russian cyber crime by publicly naming and shaming Russian Military Intelligence (GRU) for destructive and undermining criminal actions in cyber space.    The U.S. Department of Justice announced the indictment of seven GRU-related individuals for cyber-crimes that included hacking, ...

The Department of Justice on Thursday announced that a grand jury in the Western District of Pennsylvania has indicted seven individuals from the Russian military intelligence agency (GRU), for cyber-crimes including hacking, wire fraud, identity theft and money laundering.   According to the indictment, beginning in late 2014 and continuing ...

Bottom Line Up Front The United States is alienating its European allies by insisting that they comply with U.S. sanctions against Iran. Iran is attracting international support by remaining, at least for now, in the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal. The European Union (EU) countries are establishing a ‘special purpose vehicle’ ...

Maj. Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin served as chief of Israeli military intelligence from 2006-2010.  He is now director of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS).  Ari Heistein is special assistant to the Director. OPINION -- That Iran seeks to diffuse advanced weaponry to its proxies in Syria and Lebanon ...

“The concept of plausible denial had an undeniable flavor of wishful thinking about it”, wrote CIA veteran William Hood in his book on Soviet military intelligence (GRU)[1] officer and CIA spy, Pyotr S. Popov. Hood might just as well have been commenting on the risk calculus of Russian President Vladimir ...

Bottom Line Up Front: On September 17, Syrian air defenses shot down a Russian Ilyushin Il-20 reconnaissance plane over the Mediterranean Sea. The Syrians were targeting four Israeli F-16 fighters that had just struck a Syrian military site in Latakia, but hit the Russian plane by mistake, killing 15. Russia ...

For those who knew him, it is no surprise that the late Senator John McCain approached the national and global security threats posed by Russia with a confident clarity in what he felt needed to be done.  As with all things, when it came to Russia, he did not hold ...

The world’s malicious cyber actors -- Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea – have spoiled cyber’s original, idealistic vision and instead use cyberspace to advance competitive interests to undermine Western laws and norms and pursue a clandestine means (cyber theft) to catch up with the West in technology, political influence, ...

'The Homeland' is part of a dedicated series of Cipher Brief columns focused on examining the full range of threats to U.S. national security. The United States is reawakening to the Russia threat. Indeed, it would be hard to sleep through Vladimir Putin’s brazen tactics. Although American media has shined ...

Ten years ago this month, war erupted between Russia and Georgia after Georgian troops attacked South Ossetia and shelled the town of Tskhinvali, in response to alleged Russian provocations. Russia justified its military action based on countering Georgia's aggression- President Medvedev's called the attack an attempted "genocide" against innocent civilians.  ...

In a press conference on Monday, President Donald Trump reiterated his view that meeting with other world leaders is important, and again characterized his recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin as “great”.  While details of that meeting still haven’t been widely shared, the President noted four areas where he ...

U.S. counterintelligence and law enforcement agencies in 2010 scored an impressive victory when they identified, arrested, and expelled ten “illegal” officers of the Russian foreign intelligence agency, the SVR. Posing as ordinary American citizens, these Russian spies were tasked with spotting, assessing, and ultimately recruiting industrialists, scientists, political figures, and ...

OPINION -- President Trump’s repeated message that Russia’s possession of nuclear weapons requires him to have better relations with Vladimir Putin, should encourage China to sharply increase the size of its strategic nuclear forces. That’s the message in an article entitled, “China can learn from Trump’s Russia stance,” carried in ...

As most of the President’s men and women in senior roles re-iterated and even provided more detail about the Russian threat to U.S. national security in the days following the Helsinki summit, the President tasked his national security advisor to extend an invitation to Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit ...

In the four days since the Trump-Putin summit, we’ve seen a parade of justified emotion as Republicans joined the chorus of critics speaking out against the President’s performance at the Helsinki press conference. But as prominent members of his own party began to find their voice, and the President tried, ...

The Trump Administration is increasing pressure on Iran since withdrawing from the JCPOA in May.  Last month, the U.S. began pressuring other countries to halt imports of  Iranian oil.  The Cipher Brief revisits the complicated relationship between Iran and Russia, on the heels of the Helsinki summit. Bottom Line: Russia ...

Cipher Brief Expert and former CIA Station Chief Dan Hoffman was in Helsinki filing question and answer dispatches for Cipher Brief members. Here’s a look at his post-summit brief: The Cipher Brief: Presidents Trump and Putin met for a little over two hours on Monday.  We’re told that aides were not ...

On the heels of the Helsinki summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, it bears revisiting some of the important, outstanding questions that remain about how President Trump might approach the financial sanctions imposed on Russia since its 2014 seizure of Crimea. Measures such as freezing ...

The Cipher Brief spoke with Jill Dougherty, Global Fellow at The Wilson Center and CNN's former Moscow Bureau Chief, about what Putin will be able to take away from this summit. The Cipher Brief:  Tell me a little bit about how this summit is being reported on in Russia? Dougherty:  ...

Cipher Brief Expert and former CIA Station Chief Dan Hoffman is on the ground in Helsinki filing question and answer dispatches for Cipher Brief members.  He has deep expertise in the region and speaks fluent Finnish. Here’s a look at his first dispatch, hours before the summit is set to ...

For decades, former secretary of state and White House chief of staff James Baker has touted his version of a salty military catchphrase as a good-government mantra: “Prior preparation prevents poor performance.” That doesn’t necessarily apply to intelligence; even exquisite inputs from the CIA and other spy agencies cannot guarantee that ...

The White House put out a statement this morning as President Donald Trump and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg offered comments to reporters before breakfast, with the President telling reporters that “We have a very good relationship.  Because of me, they’ve raised about $40 billion over the last year.  So ...

Two conditions are clear as the U.S. and Russian Presidents prepare meet in Helsinki. First, U.S.-Russian relations are arguably at their lowest point since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. To make matters worse, it is possible that relations have not hit rock ...

As a former member of the CIA’s Senior Intelligence Service, I’m worried about the upcoming summit between the Chekist former KGB officer, President Vladimir Putin, and the former real estate businessman and reality show personality, President Donald Trump. My concerns center around the fact that Russia has much to gain, ...

I remember doing the Time Warp Drinking those moments when The blackness would hit me And the void would be calling Let's do the Time Warp again Let's do the Time Warp again Rocky Horror Picture Show, 1975 Cyberspace is akin to the haunted mansion of a gothic horror movie.  ...

As details are released about the upcoming summit between the U.S. and Russia, Intelligence Officers are expected to ramp up collection efforts in order to prep the field ahead of talks. “Whenever you’ve got a summit coming up, your intelligence community, and your opponent’s kicks into high gear,” says Cipher ...

In part two of The Cipher Brief’s two-part series on how Russia is building its virtual battlefield, we look at the U.S response to the tools and tactics that the Kremlin is employing and ask whether it’s enough.  Response: The U.S. has responded to Russian activity in cyberspace through diplomatic ...

The U.S. - Russia relationship is a complicated one, to say the least.  While investigations into potential collusion carry the headlines in Washington, there is a fragile balancing act going on behind the scenes. Take the gas and energy market as one small example. U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry is due ...

Russia knows how to spread chaos and outrage in American politics, but Russia may pose a far greater threat to the U.S. economy and the infrastructure it depends on. The president’s Council of Economic Advisers estimates that hostile cyber actions against American private industry cost the U.S. economy as much ...

As the world focuses on the Singapore summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the President’s Treasury Secretary announced sanctions against five Russian entities and three individuals for their ties to Russian cyber activities, prompting some to question the Administration’s mixed signals on Russia over ...

  During the Cold War era, there was an adage that arms controllers hated but proved prophetic, “When relations are bad, you don’t want arms control; when relations are good, you don’t need arms control.” Cyberspace today is a mess:  what some US policymakers thought would happen – that the ...

Russia. We hear and read about it every day in the mainstream media, but the news seems almost exclusively focused on the various investigations of Russian meddling and the politics surrounding them. Russian meddling, to be sure, merits this coverage since the cyberattacks and spread of polarizing disinformation represented a ...

Bottom Line:  The risk posed to U.S. national security by what are believed to be Russian-backed hacking groups, is similar to the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis according to Cipher Brief Experts, but different, in that the U.S. has no clear and obvious deterrent this time around. Recent Developments:  The ...

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is in Washington for talks with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.  On the Agenda are a number of important strategic issues among the NATO allies, including U.S. support of the Syrian Kurdish YPG - a group deemed a terrorist organization by Turkey, as well ...

Bottom Line: Moscow’s increasingly assertive military activity in Eastern Europe and the Middle East seeks to project the power of a resurgent Russia in relation to a retreating United States, while concealing its economic and political fragility at home. In doing so, the Kremlin walks a fine line between escalation ...

It has now been 18 months since the November 2016 presidential election, during which the U.S. intelligence community believes Russia acted not only to interfere with U.S. elections, but with clear preference for one of the candidates. However, Washington and many of America’s leaders are still not on the same ...

On May 7, Vladimir Putin was inaugurated for his fourth six-year term as President of Russia. He gained more than 76 percent of the vote and—despite concerns over the legitimacy of the vote—does enjoy high levels of support from the Russian population. But is Putin’s grip on power as ironclad ...

In a provocative new essay, Vladislav Surkov, a top aide to President Vladimir Putin, says Russia is ending a centuries-long quest to join the West and preparing for "100 years (200? 300?) of geopolitical solitude." If Russia goes this way it will be because of unwise policies, not a Western cold shoulder. In One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel ...

Russian influence operations were thrust into the public limelight in the West in 2017 with the findings of the U.S. Intelligence Community that Russia did in fact, interfere with U.S. Elections. The resulting attention did not deter the Kremlin; on the contrary – it takes pride in it. From the ...

Financial sanctions imposed on Russia since its 2014 seizure of Crimea have hit President Vladimir Putin and his cronies where it hurts most—in the wallet. The most recent actions will freeze the U.S.-based assets of certain top Russian officials, arms dealers, and oligarchs in Putin’s orbit, as well as banning ...

We talk a lot these days about smart power and hard power and soft power even the sharp power of manipulating information. In the end, power and influence have always been exercised in multiple dimensions – military, economic, political, ideological. Some states are strong in all dimensions, like the United ...

Bottom Line: The Kremlin employs various often overlapping and competitive security and intelligence services to create multiple sources of intelligence, encourage risk-taking and keep a wary eye on each other. This has enabled Russian President Vladimir Putin to consolidate power by playing agencies off of each other to avoid uninvited ...

During the leadup to the 2016 presidential elections, Russia bots, trolls and media outlets such as RT and Sputnik were actively messaging about the political contest that eventually resulted in the election of President Donald Trump. Cyberattacks on servers used by the two major American political parties were traced by ...

This article has been updated to include comments from Cipher Brief experts. On Monday, the U.S. and UK jointly blamed Moscow for cyber intrusions into the backbone of the internet – the routers and switches that are the gateway for internet access in major corporations and your home office. “Since ...

“The world has been more dangerous, but it has never been more complicated.” These were the words Michael Hayden, former director of both CIA and NSA, used to launch the 2018 Threat Report at The Cipher Brief’s Annual Threat Conference in Sea Island, Ga., on Sunday. Hayden first prefaced the ...