If you’ve done any reporting on national security issues in Washington DC, you probably already know JJ Green.  He’s been covering national security for the city’s most popular radio station, WTOP, for 15 years now.  As you can imagine, he’s seen a lot of changes in that time. The Cipher ...

I was introduced to Jimmy Hatch via email in late 2014.  I was months away from launching The Cipher Brief and a mutual friend who volunteers his time for the Special Operations Care Fund (SOC-F), a charitable foundation that helps Special Operations families through tough times (of which I later ...

Wartime has been a force multiplier for espionage ever since the Revolutionary War, when General George Washington was the founding father of the art of intelligence. In World War II, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) advanced the practice, albeit tragically, with its Cassia Ring espionage network. These particular “glorious ...

The Cipher Brief's State of Play series encompasses reviews of the books, movies and TV shows that help shape our understanding of the national security space. This week, Cipher Brief Expert Michael Morell offers an interesting perspective on Darkest Hour, the new movie depicting Winston Churchill and the decisions he ...

As General Douglas MacArthur famously said, "Old soldiers don't die, they just fade away." In the world of fiction, old spies don't die or fade away – they remain ageless, like James Bond, still agile enough for derring-do operations after decades, or they rise to the top of their intelligence ...

The latest episode of Homeland introduces new plot twists into the two parallel story lines: the government case against jihadist Seiku Bah and CIA officer Dar Adal’s conspiracy against the incoming President Elizabeth Keane. These twists all revolve around various characters breaking the law. Heroine Carrie Mathison, addicted to rule ...

Susan Williams’ book, Spies in the Congo, provides a well-researched and detailed history of the efforts of the Office of Strategic Services, America’s first strategic intelligence agency and the forerunner of the CIA, to establish itself in the Congo as well as West Africa.  In telling the OSS story, Dr. ...

Mark Henshaw’s latest spy thriller could have been ripped straight from today’s headlines as tensions between Moscow and Washington continue to mount. The Fall of Moscow Station is the third installment to Henshaw’s Red Cell series and follows the latest adventures of two CIA analysts, Kyra Stryker and Jonathan Burke, ...

Brad Thor’s latest thriller Foreign Agent is the fifteenth in his Scot Harvath series, and finds former Navy SEAL Harvath fighting both ISIS and evil Russians bent on luring the U.S. into another war in the Middle East.  As an espionage snob, I was fully prepared to write a nasty ...

Edward Snowden is back in the news.  Oliver Stone's sympathetic and conspiracy-heavy biopic landed in theaters this month.  Meanwhile, a raft of Snowdenistas are leveraging the movie to demand that the President pardon the former National Security Agency contractor. Human motivation is a complex thing, and good and evil compete ...

The Cipher Brief asked our network member Mark Kelton, the former CIA Deputy Director of the National Clandestine Service for Counterintelligence, for his impressions of the new movie “Snowden.” If you have come here for a considered view of the artistic merits of Oliver Stone’s new film, Snowden, you had ...

Duty and Honor is the latest in the multi-volume series by Tom Clancy and his successors featuring Jack Ryan and his son Jack, Jr., who works in the “Campus,” a covert counterterrorism unit established by his father, the U.S. President. Clancy fans eager for the geopolitical intrigue, intricate plots, and ...

Daniel Silva’s The Black Widow is the most relevant to contemporary events and most chillingly prescient of all his celebrated novels. Gabriel Allon, the art restorer and spy hero of Silva’s previous novels, is about to become head of Israeli intelligence. His promotion, however, is postponed when he is enlisted ...