Cipher Brief expert and former DHS official Todd Rosenblum says the Trump administration used incomplete and cherry-picked statistics in a new report that says three out of four individuals convicted of international terrorism-related charges since the 9/11 attacks were “foreign-born,” as opposed to born U.S. citizens. The report from the ...

Bottom line: Terrorists are turning to the dark web’s crypto-bazaars, social media channels and e-commerce sites to buy more coveted military equipment than the usual rocket launchers and AK-47s in the traditional black market. These digital black markets are also allowing terrorist organizations from Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, as ...

Bottom Line: Cyber vigilantes and “hacktivists” increasingly fill the void left by governments in combating terrorist activity online. While such politically motivated non-state hackers are relatively effective at removing the presence of terrorist content, their continued operations could damage overall counterterrorism efforts by undermining intelligence operations –  say by taking ...

Bottom Line: With the original ISIS core nearly expelled from its so-called caliphate in Syria and Iraq, other ISIS branches are growing in influence and lethality. Skilled fighters and funding are flowing to ISIS Khorasan Province in Afghanistan where the group has taken advantage of the country’s weak central government ...

Autonomous vehicles such as those being tested by Google or Tesla will be one of the most important and disruptive technologies for the future of how people move, work and live. But terrorist groups are tracking these developments closely too. Finnish security firm F-Secure reports “concrete evidence” that ISIS is considering ...

For this last week of 2017, we asked our experts to look ahead at key national security issues. CIA veteran and Africa hand Frank Archibald offers some thoughts on where the continent is headed. Changes in 2017: It really is a year of big men moving on. In Angola, President ...

The role of wildlife trafficking in funding militancy and terrorism has received intense attention from conservationists globally as well as from members of the U.S. Congress. Yet the fact that some terrorist and militant groups have been involved in poaching of iconic species such as elephants for the illegal global ...

Terrorist groups are expanding their use of the internet beyond mere messaging and disseminating operational know-how, slowly adding a cyber-hacking toolset that could one day rival that of criminal or state-sponsored hacking. To date attacks have included website defacement, doxing of personally identifiable information, and distributed denial of service (DDoS) ...

Niger gained the attention of the American public when four U.S. troops were killed there in an ambush on Oct.4, highlighting the expansion of U.S. counterterrorism operations in North Africa. The Cipher Brief’s Levi Maxey reached out to Frank Archibald, the former director of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, who ...

Friday’s deadly terrorist attack at the Al-Rawda mosque in the north of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula demonstrates that the so-called Islamic State’s Sinai affiliate remains a potent force and raises questions about the effectiveness of Egypt’s harsh four-year anti-ISIS campaign. Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi has pledged to stay the course ...

The car ramming attack that occurred in New York City on Oct. 31 killed eight people and reignited debate over what constitutes domestic and international terrorism. Terrorism has remained at the forefront of American national security concerns ever since the September 11 attacks. And as globalization continues to extend its ...

The Department of Homeland Security announced Thursday an updated version of the National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin. The move comes in the aftermath of the Halloween vehicle attack in New York City that left eight dead. By updating the terror alert system, DHS signaled the threat to the United States ...

A gunman shot dead 26 people at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday, before taking his own life, authorities said. Police said the attack was spurred by a domestic dispute between the suspect and his ex-wife’s family – not terrorism, according to Freeman Martin, regional director ...

 The Cipher Brief asked Robert Eatinger, the CIA’s former Acting General Counsel and Senior Deputy General Counsel, to comment on the next steps for the suspect in the New York City attack this week that left eight people dead, after he rammed a truck onto a bike path. The suspect, ...

In our continuing drive to spur healthy debate in the national security space, The Cipher Brief is sharing this op-ed from Philip Zelikow, the Former Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, responding to a particular allegation about CIA information sharing with the FBI before the attacks of Sept. 11 on New ...

The Cipher Brief asked network experts from the NYPD, NCTC, CIA and FBI to weigh in on the deadly truck attack in New York that killed eight, carried out by a 29-year-old Uzbek immigrant, apparently inspired by the so-called Islamic State. Prosecutors said Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, who was charged in ...

After the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas, which killed 58 people, and the murder of an anti-fascist protester in Charlottesville this August, many people are asking what exactly qualifies as terrorism, and where the real difference lies between domestic and international acts of terror. The Cipher Brief’s Fritz Lodge ...

When determining if a violent act fits the criteria of a terrorist attack, identifying the perpetrator’s motivate is a key element. Individuals inspired by violent ideologies to commit heinous acts are also billed as terrorists even if that person never had direct contact with a member from a designated terrorist ...

When Stephen Paddock indiscriminately rained bullets down on a crowd of concertgoers from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel on the evening of October 1, using rifles modified to fire as if fully automatic weapons, killing over 58 people and injuring 489 others, was he engaging in terrorism? ...

The United States has been at war against terrorist groups such as al Qaeda and ISIS for over 15 years now, with every violent attack that takes place on the streets of the West prompting fears of a renewed terrorist threat. But not all heinous acts of violence are considered ...

The attacks of Sept. 11th seared the chaos and violence of terrorism into Americans’ consciousness, rendering the term terrorism synonymous with the international jihadist movement. But it’s also frequently applied to acts of mass-casualty violence, like the recent lone gunman assault in Las Vegas, which misses the point that terrorism ...

One of Somalia’s worst-ever terrorist attacks may have been spurred in part by a stepped up U.S. counterterrorism campaign against al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab, which was blamed by the Somali government for a truck bomb that killed more than 300 people in Mogadishu on Saturday. Al Shabaab “recently vowed to ...

Pakistan’s foreign minister says the Trump administration is blaming Islamabad for America’s own failure to rout out terrorism in the region. “We are not saying we are saints. Perhaps in the past we have made some mistakes,” Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif told reporters in Washington Thursday. “But since the ...

This morning’s detonation of an improvised explosive device onboard the London Tube has once again pushed the issue of online terrorist recruitment to the forefront of public debate. With manuals on how to build homemade explosives and radicalization sermons and videos readily available online, preventing individuals from gaining access to ...

In an incident the British government has called a terrorist attack, a bomb detonated at Parsons Green tube station Friday morning. 29 people were injured; ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attack. The terrorist group’s Amaq news agency released a statement saying “the bombing of the IED in the London ...

A bomb exploded on a London subway train Friday morning injuring at least 29 people, most of them suffering flash burns from the blast, none life-threatening. London authorities are calling the bombing at Parson Green Tube station a terrorist attack, the latest in a wave to hit the United Kingdom ...

Earlier today, an improvised explosive device was detonated on the London underground railway, known as the Tube, injuring more than 20 people in what British authorities have deemed a terrorist attack. If confirmed, this incident would mark the fifth terrorist attack in the UK this year alone, as British authorities ...

The West has been hit by a barrage of deadly terrorist attacks over the past two years with little indication there is any definitive way to stop the onslaught. Why this is happening and what can be done about it was the topic of conversation between national security and counterterrorism ...

Last November, Egypt’s Central Bank announced it was taking steps to allow the pound to trade freely on the currency market. The move to float was widely regarded as a necessary, but incredibly difficult one. The Central Bank had held the pound at around eight to the dollar; today it ...

The U.S. is calling on Pakistan to eradicate its safe havens for terrorists or else the U.S. will stop providing security assistance and other support to the country. U.S. President Donald Trump made this clear in his address on U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia on Monday night, saying ...

U.S. President Donald Trump’s call for Pakistan to stop harboring terrorists, or else – outlined in a speech on U.S. strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia on Monday night – risks enflaming tensions in the region. Trump also called on Monday for more cooperation with India, and especially India’s help ...

Thursday’s attack in Barcelona - and possibly today’s attack in Finland - are yet more tragic examples of how common objects such as vehicles and knives can be used as weapons by terrorists to generate an overarching sense of fear and inflict mass casualties. Western authorities and intelligence agencies have ...

President Donald Trump on Tuesday returned to his stance that there is “blame on both sides” for the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia at a white nationalist rally. "You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people — on both ...

Three days after the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, President Donald Trump said “racism is evil” and called out the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, “and other hate groups” as “criminals and thugs.” A 20-year old Ohio man believed to be a Nazi sympathizer has been charged with second degree murder, ...

Earlier this month, the U.S. State Department issued a memorandum stating that foreign countries are required to provide increased information and data about their citizens who are seeking to travel to the U.S. The Cipher Brief’s Bennett Seftel sat down with Rob Richer, former Associate Deputy Director for Operations at ...

The U.S. government imposes sanctions on individuals, companies, and nations for a variety of reasons, but the practical consequences are always the same: U.S. sanctions make doing business as usual a lot harder. The Cipher Brief’s Bennett Seftel sat down with Adam Smith, partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, to discuss the ...

For the last 15 years, the U.S. and Pakistan have struggled to navigate the murky nature of their relationship as they strive to bring security to South Asia. Today, while U.S.-Pakistani ties are fraught with mistrust – stemming from questions over the Pakistani military’s support for the Taliban, Pakistan’s knowledge ...

On June 28, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly announced enhanced security measures for all flights coming into the United States. Calling for additional “screening of electronic devices, more thorough passenger vetting, and new measures designed to mitigate the potential threat of insider attacks,” Kelly pointed to ...

When a suicide bomber in Manchester, England detonated a backpack full of explosives in May, killing 22 people at a concert venue, the National Counterterrorism Center took more than a passing interest. Officials from NCTC, as it’s more often referred to, immediately began reaching out to their British counterparts via ...

Israel faces a vast array of terrorist threats from groups such as Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, and ISIS in Syria and the Sinai, as well as from lone-wolf attackers. The Cipher Brief’s Bennett Seftel sat down with Dr. Anat Berko, counterterrorism expert and current member of the ...

The Department of Homeland Security has unveiled new aviation security measures for all international commercial flights bound to the United States, a move that could potentially lead to either the lifting or expansion of the laptop ban currently in place for direct flights of foreign airlines from 10 airports in ...

At first glance, the similarities between President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi point to a foundation for a strong relationship. Both wish to build their countries’ economies—Trump has his “America First” slogan while Modi is pushing his “Make in India” program. Both are political populists with strong ...

The U.S. war in Afghanistan has entered into its 16th year with no end in sight. With the battle against the Taliban essentially mired in a stalemate and the Afghan government failing to address endemic corruption and countrywide economic woes, there appear to be no good options for moving forward. ...

The U.S. continues to face a daunting challenge in Afghanistan, as it aims to bring stability to a country that has been plagued by conflict for decades. The Cipher Brief’s Bennett Seftel sat down with Anthony Cordesman, Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International ...

The American war in Afghanistan is in its 16th year. It was preceded by 12 years of civil war, and before that by the Soviet Union’s war. So the country itself has been in, more or less, continuous conflict since 1979.  Today, the Trump Administration is facing the same set ...

As the United Kingdom faces its fourth terrorist attack in the last three months, the country is grappling with its counterterrorism strategy as authorities face questions over how they can try to stop the violence and protect citizens. A 47-year old man suspected of driving the van that struck a ...

In January, the Indonesian financial transactions agency claimed Bitcoin had been used by Islamic militants to fund terrorist activity there; last year, Salafi-jihadist groups designated by the United States as foreign terrorists were able to raise some $600 in bitcoins. These incidents raise alarms about the potential for virtual currencies ...

The FBI is investigating why a gunman opened fire Wednesday on Republican lawmakers at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, wounding four people including a senior lawmaker. The shooter — identified by the FBI as James Hodgkinson, a 66-year-old Illinois man — was fatally shot by police who were ...

The terrorist attacks that have swept the United Kingdom mark yet another chapter in the long war by violent Islamist extremists against the free world. Terrorism in Europe is not a new phenomenon. The fact that three attacks have struck Britain in the last three months alone exposes that despite ...

Terrorists’ tactics evolve with the times. Just as we have seen an adaption of terrorist methods for sowing fear and distrust, so, too, we have seen their propaganda machines evolve to inspire audiences globally. Gone are the days of printed manifestos, pamphlets, or fuzzy VHS tapes. The internet now facilitates ...