The revelation that Donald Trump Jr. was in contact with WikiLeaks throughout the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign is just the latest in a long catalog of leaks and discoveries about previously hidden contacts between surrogates of both the Trump campaign and Russia. A media frenzy naturally follows each new disclosure, ...

Speaking to the Russian Federal Assembly in March 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin defended his country’s annexation of Crimea and forcefully presented his national security strategy to gain the upper hand in Russia’s rivalry with the United States. He blamed the U.S. for seeking regime change through “color revolutions” and the ...

Concealment, imitation and disinformation - tactics known as maskirovka – were part of a Soviet doctrine used by their military and intelligence services – namely the KGB and GRU. The principal military purpose of maskirovka is to mislead an enemy regarding the disposition, composition and intentions of its forces. Under ...

Bosnia and Herzegovina has been held together under two separate entities ever since the Dayton Peace Agreement in 1995 ended the civil war and created the present-day country: The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, made up of Bosniaks and Croats, and Republika Srpska, home to the country’s Serbs. But the ...

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday announced their commitment to defeating the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, in Syria and agreed “there is no military solution to the conflict in Syria,” they said in a joint statement. "The Presidents affirmed their commitment to Syria’s sovereignty, unity, ...

The U.S. and Russia could soon come to an agreement on next steps in Syria, as the Islamic State, or ISIS, nears defeat in the country. The agreement would focus on “deconfliction” between the U.S. and Russian militaries, reducing violence in the Syrian civil war and reinvigorating UN-led peace talks, ...

There is little doubt that Putin’s foreign policy centers on reviving Russia as a major international power, which seeks to undermine the global American alliance that has underwritten international security since the end of the Cold War. Stretching across Europe, Asia and the Middle East, this alliance has continually thwarted ...

NATO allies have agreed to sweeping restructuring to speed response to any danger – with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014 and continued expansionism in mind. “We have seen a much more assertive Russia,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at a press conference on Wednesday, following a morning meeting ...

While all militaries seek to lead enemies astray, Russia’s military doctrine of deception – known as maskirovka, Russian for “masking” or “camouflage” – is a foundational component of the Russian military and intelligence mindset. With maskirovka, the fog of war is not merely the natural byproduct of combat, but a ...

It was 1999, and the Russian Prosecutor General, Yury Skuratov, who was investigating former Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s administration for corruption, found himself in the bull’s eye of a blackmail operation designed to smear his reputation and force him to resign. The operation used blackmail – known as kompromat, or ...

While Russia has become increasingly aggressive on the international stage, it has done so tactically, commonly engaging in plausibly deniable clandestine operations such as the 2014 annexation of Crimea. To keep policymakers in the West guessing at what Russia’s true intentions are, Moscow has employed an adapted version of the ...

Rivalry between Moscow and Washington is nothing new. A hundred years ago today, the October Revolution in St. Petersburg dismantled Russia’s tsarist autocracy and led to the rise of the Soviet Union – the entity that became America’s number one foe during the Cold War. The Soviet Union collapsed in ...

The 2016 presidential campaign was just a test run for Russia’s continuing use of disinformation on social media aimed at manipulating public thinking in the United States. Appearances last week by senior executives of Facebook, Twitter and Google before Senate Judiciary and the Senate and House Intelligence Committees provided a mass ...

In an otherwise forgettable February 2017 interview, Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly asked Donald Trump how he could respect Russian President Vladimir Putin, who O’Reilly labeled as a “killer.” Trump shockingly defended Putin by commenting, “There are a lot of killers. We have killers. Well, you think our country is so ...

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, my old Committee, will hold a critical, open hearing today with the three largest social media content providers in the U.S. market—Facebook, Twitter and Google. The big three are, belatedly, acknowledging that Russia used their platforms in the 2016 election cycle to harm American ...

Top social media companies revealed more details about how Russian operatives made extensive use of their platforms to wage a disinformation and influence campaign targeting the 2016 presidential election as senators on Tuesday called the threat a critical national security issue and questioned the ability of tech companies to combat ...

In recent years, Russia has waged a new cold war on the United States through its actions, though we have only recently come to grips with this reality. As in any war, the Kremlin’s objectives are political. The principal weapon in this conflict is information, and the evidence of Russia’s ...

Has the Trump administration put together a coordinated plan to deal with what the intelligence community has warned will be Moscow-directed cyberattacks during the upcoming 2018 midterm elections? “So far, we've seen no indication that the administration is taking action to prepare for this next inevitability against the constant aggression ...

The key question as representatives from Facebook, Twitter and Google testify Tuesday and Wednesday before Congress is not how Russia used social media to interfere in last year’s presidential election, but rather what role U.S. voters, the federal government and social media companies should play in building resiliency against such ...

The Kremlin is likely celebrating the indictment of President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager and the guilty plea by another campaign adviser, according to former intelligence officials. That’s because the news out of Washington on Monday plays directly into Moscow’s desire to sow chaos and distrust in the United States ...

Members of Congress have expressed deep concern over the Kremlin’s disinformation campaign in the 2016 election. They have even taken some action, most notably voting in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 to dramatically broaden the State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) mandate to include countering propaganda ...

As the Kremlin wages an unyielding disinformation campaign against the United States and its European allies, Washington is still reeling from Moscow’s interference in the 2016 election and only just beginning efforts aimed at tackling this major national security threat. Almost a year after election day, there are some signs ...

There is no “quick and easy fix” for the United States to deal with Russian disinformation and influence operations. Steve Hall, a former senior CIA officer who retired in 2015 and spent much of his career overseeing intelligence operations in the countries of the former Soviet Union and the former ...

A bipartisan group of influential lawmakers is expected to introduce the Honest Ads Act this week, legislation that would seek to increase transparency in American elections—and foreign election tampering—through stricter disclosure requirements. The proposed bill, sponsored by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mark Warner (D-VA), and John McCain (R-AZ), would create ...

Today, Friday the 13th, the Organization of American States puts its stamp of approval on Venezuela's embattled political opposition when it swears in Venezuelan Supreme Court judges, allowing them to operate here in Washington, D.C, rather than Caracas. Far from symbolic, it is the beginning of the establishment of a parallel government-in-exile and sets ...

Since its invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea in 2014, Russia has waged a robust disinformation and influence campaign in the Balkans. Over the past few years, the Russians have steadily ramped up their activity in southeast Europe, analysts told The Cipher Brief. The West does not have “coherent ...

U.S. companies got a disturbing preview of just how Russia might be able to steal their secrets, with news that Kaspersky Lab anti-virus software was allegedly used to hack an unsuspecting NSA contractor. Russian state-sponsored hackers reportedly stole critical details on how the U.S. conducts cyber espionage and defends against ...

Russian state-sponsored hackers were able to steal National Security Agency material on methods they use to conduct cyber espionage as well as how they help defend critical U.S. government networks, according to The Wall Street Journal. An NSA contractor placed the material on his or her private computer – a ...

Following a U.S. government-wide ban last month and recent news reports alleging that Kaspersky Lab enabled Russian intelligence to swipe highly classified NSA material from an employee’s private computer, questions have begun to swirl regarding the Moscow-based company’s relationship with the Kremlin. The Cipher Brief’s Levi Maxey spoke with Chris ...

After reports that highly classified intelligence material was taken from a NSA contractor’s private computer through the individual’s use of Kaspersky Lab’s antivirus software, all eyes turned to the Moscow-based company’s relationship with Russian intelligence and the Kremlin. As private companies using the antivirus software scramble to assess their exposure, ...

Russian state-sponsored hackers reportedly stole details in 2015 on how the U.S. spies on foreign intelligence targets through cyber espionage, as well as how it defends against cyber operations directed at its classified networks. According to the Wall Street Journal, the material was taken from a NSA contractor’s private computer ...

The question of alleged Kremlin collusion with the Trump campaign is “still open,” the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Wednesday. The investigation is ongoing, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) told reporters in an update of the Senate panel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. “The committee continues ...

The new U.S. ambassador to Russia will go to Moscow at a grim time for U.S.-Russia relations, but his biggest challenge won’t come from the Kremlin — Washington will be the source of Jon Huntsman’s headaches. The new ambassador, confirmed by the Senate Thursday, faces a difficult balancing act between ...

As more details emerge about Kremlin influence and disinformation operations aimed at sowing discord and exploiting divisions in the United States, congressional investigators are taking a closer look at the role top technology companies played in the 2016 election. The House and Senate Intelligence Committees are meeting in closed briefings ...

In May 2015, Russia and China signed a “nonaggression pact” in cyberspace. They agreed not to target each other with cyber attacks and promote the idea of sovereignty in cyberspace. China and Russia are now seeking to eliminate virtual private network services (VPN’s) from their respective internet space. Russian President ...

Just a few days away from the German federal election, a widely held opinion is that Germany has been spared from interference by Moscow. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the main advocate of the current EU sanctions on Russia, is widely expected to remain in power come September 25th. Moreover, hypothetically ...

With the Zapad 2017 military exercise, Russia “overplayed their hand” and the country’s “credibility is in tatters,” U.S. Army Europe commander Lieutenant General Ben Hodges said Thursday. “Nobody considers them the masters of the information space, which maybe a year ago everybody was talking about how great and clever they were. ...

One of the opening rounds of an information war between the Kremlin and a democratic country came from Melvin Redick, a fake Facebook account designed to look like your average American – only he was believed to be the handiwork of Russian intelligence. “These guys show hidden truth about Hillary ...

Much of the discussion surrounding Russian cyber-enabled information operations against Western societies focuses on technology, such as bots amplifying messages on social media and the hacking of institutions of power to then leak emails with potentially salacious material. But in order to meet the level of success that Russian intelligence ...

At a time when U.S.-Russia relations are at an extreme low, Tuesday’s nomination hearing for the new U.S. Ambassador to Russia attracted less than a full house in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The nominee, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, told the Senators this is a “critical period” in U.S.-Russia ...

There can be no doubt that over the past ten years, Russia has honed its active measures operations – or covert action in U.S. intelligence parlance – into strategic tools to be taken seriously. A great deal of time and effort has been focused on the specific methodologies used by ...

In less than a week, on September 24th, the German public will vote in the country’s general elections – not only to determine who will sit in the country’s parliament, known as the Bundestag, but also who will become – or remain – Chancellor. As the economic and political European ...

Russia has shown it is both willing and capable of using cyber capabilities to interfere in the West's democratic elections. With the German elections coming up on September 24th, it is likely Russia will again – much like the United States and France – seek to sow confusion and distrust ...

On Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a binding directive compelling all federal civilian departments and agencies to identify and develop a plan to end any use of and remove any Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab products from their computer systems. “The Department is concerned about the ties between certain ...

One of Russia’s largest military exercises begins today – and it’s targeted toward the West. Zapad, which literally means “West” in Russian, is a recurrent exercise held in Russia’s western and central districts. The last one was in 2013, just a year before Russia invaded Crimea. This year’s exercise could ...

Zapad 2017, the week-long joint Russian-Belarusian military exercise beginning September 14, has raised concerns in the West over its size and intent. Some say there will be more than 100,000 troops participating. Belarus has said only 12,700 will be involved – just under the 13,000 limit, at which point a ...

Defense and military experts from around the world have been anxiously watching the preparation phase for the mid-September Zapad 17 exercise in Belarus, the Baltic Sea, western Russia, and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, essentially a war rehearsal. Russia is expected to mobilize nearly 100,000 troops and showcase some newly ...

Beginning Thursday, as many as 100,000 Russian and Belarusian troops will launch major military exercises along the border of three NATO countries. Russia’s upcoming Zapad military exercise, which will simulate a response to an attempted overthrow of the Belarusian government by an insurgency unfriendly to Russia, has European countries and ...

Two top congressional Democrats said Facebook’s announcement it had discovered a Russian-funded campaign promoting divisive social and political messages demands a “very serious look” and likely is just “the tip of the iceberg.” Rep. Adam Schiff and Sen. Mark Warner on Thursday called for the United States to broadly reassess ...

Russians are fond of saying “men’she znayesh, dol’she zhivyosh,” translated as, “the less you know the longer you live.” President Vladimir Putin’s formative experience serving as a KGB officer and Director of the FSB explains why the Kremlin seeks to impose cyber sovereignty within its own borders while deploying more ...