[Editors Note: Cipher Brief Senior Book Editor Bill Harlow recently had a conversation with author Chris Whipple about his new book: The Spymasters. A review of the book can be found here. In the book’s acknowledgments section, Whipple thanks Harlow for his assistance.  Harlow tell us that was mostly for ...

Cipher Brief Expert Robert Eatinger has 35 years of experience practicing law in the fields of national security, intelligence, and international law. He is a solo practitioner at Robert J. Eatinger, Jr., PLLC, practicing federal law with a national security and intelligence law focus and the founding Principal of SpyLaw Consulting, LLC. ...

OPINION -- The Navy is scheduled to begin construction next month on SSBN-826, to be named the USS Columbia, the first of 12 planned new, Columbia-class, strategic, ballistic missile submarines. The Navy’s top shipbuilding priority, the $110 billion-dollar, Columbia-class program will provide the major number of thermonuclear warheads for the ...

BOOK REVIEW:  The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations by Daniel Yergin Reviewed by Kristin Wood Cipher Brief Expert Kristin Wood is a former senior CIA officer, and is a Harvard Kennedy School Intelligence Project fellow focused on climate and national security. During her 20-year CIA career, ...

How COVID-19 Revealed the Menace of China’s United Work Front Department William O'Hara is the senior China planner in the J5 Directorate at U.S. Special Operations Command. He has served primarily in the US intelligence community as an intelligence analyst and planner focusing on China. The views expressed are his ...

Cipher Brief Expert Emile Nakhleh is a retired CIA Senior Intelligence Service Officer and founding director of the CIA’s Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program Office. Nakhleh is currently a Research Professor and Director of the Global and National Security Policy Institute at the University of New Mexico. OPINION -- Bahrain’s ...

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 -- In Russia, bad things ...

Cipher Brief Expert Tim Willasey-Wilsey served for over 27 years in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He is now Visiting Professor of War Studies at King’s College, London. One can imagine the intense discussions in Beijing, primarily within the Central Military Commission (CMC) but also at the Politburo Standing ...

BOOK REVIEW:  The Spy Masters: How the CIA Directors Shape History and the Future by Chris Whipple Reviewed by Tammy Kupperman Thorp BOOK REVIEW -- A decade before he was killed in what reportedly was a joint Israeli-American operation, the CIA had devised a daring plan to capture Imad Mughniyeh, the ...

Understanding expert perspective on where the US stands in the world with regards to national security is a key component of how The Cipher Brief keeps the security community connected.  Michael Morell and Cipher Brief Expert Mike Vickers  recently sat down to talk with each other about the challenges facing ...

OPINION -- The Trump administration is using the Pentagon’s 2020 Annual Report to Congress on China’s military and security developments to spin its current campaign to make Beijing a greater national security threat to the U.S. than Russia. Last week, I wrote about the White House trying to sell the ...

Cipher Brief Expert Ambassador Joseph DeTrani is former Special envoy for Six Party Talks with North Korea and the U.S. Representative to the Korea Energy Development Organization (KEDO), as well as former CIA director of East Asia Operations. He also as the Associate Director of National Intelligence and Mission Manager ...

The Cipher Brief is incredibly proud to present its first-ever Lifetime National Security Award to veteran intelligence professional, Mr. Charles E. Allen this Sunday, September 13 during opening day of The Cipher Brief Threat Conference. As The Cipher Brief enters its fifth year of publishing expert national security insights, perspectives ...

The Cipher Brief continues it's coverage on Russia this week in light of the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.  We tapped Cipher Brief Expert Michael Sulick who served as director of CIA’s National Clandestine Service, for his thoughts on Putin's Playbook for the West.  While at CIA, Sulick also served ...

OPINION -- Taken together, the protests underway in Belarus and the poisoning of Kremlin opponent Alexei Navalny — by what German doctors now say was the nerve agent Novichok — tap into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s desire to avoid more serious challenges to his control and his regime. It is ...

(The Cipher Brief 2020 Threat Conference will host an interactive session on this topic during The Cipher Brief Threat Conference September 13-15. Find details in the conference agenda.) Western governments have accused the Russian Federation of attempting, abetting, and orchestrating the assassinations of political enemies since the mid-1990s, the most ...

BOOK REVIEW:  Dead Doubles: The Extraordinary Worldwide Hunt for One of the Cold War’s Most Notorious Spy Rings by Trevor Barnes Reviewed by Nick Fishwick Nick Fishwick CMG retired in 2012 after nearly thirty years in the British Foreign Service. He did postings in Lagos, Istanbul and Kabul. His responsibilities in ...

OPINION -- President Trump and elements of his administration are publicly assessing that China poses a greater national security threat to the US election than Russia. Attorney General Bill Barr started it off last Wednesday on CNN when he was asked which country was most aggressive and he answered, “I ...

OPINION -- The scientific, medical, public health and morbidity/mortality reporting as well as the media writ large, are all documenting the profound negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the physical and economic wellbeing of the global population. We measure this in lives lost, the outsize impact of the virus ...

This Academic Incubator column is part of a partnership with the Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology, presenting regular expert commentary on global security-related issues by faculty, fellows, and students. This piece was submitted by Matthew O’Shaughnessy, a Ph.D. student in the School of Electrical ...

OPINION –The Defense Department’s unclassified investment in Artificial Intelligence (AI) has grown from $600 million five years ago, to a proposed $2.5 billion for fiscal 2021, with some 600 AI projects already underway, according to an updated Congressional Research Service (CRS) report titled, Artificial Intelligence and National Security, released last ...

Brett Davis is a Partner in New North Ventures -- a Venture Capital firm focused on technological innovation.  Davis retired as a Senior Executive in the Central Intelligence Agency and Special Operations Officer in the US Navy. His combined 34 years of government experience included leading complex operations and enterprise-wide ...

Eric Shiraev, Political Psychologist, George Mason University Dr. Eric Shiraev is a political psychologist from George Mason University, USA, where he heads a lab on reputational politics. He is author of more than twenty books including International Relations (Oxford), Russian Government and Politics (Macmillan), and Character Assassination Throughout the Ages. Dr. Holger ...

As part of The Cipher Brief’s look at known Russian spies, we spoke with Cipher Brief Expert Rolf Mowatt-Larssen about the spy game and a potential difference in focus when it comes to human espionage carried out on behalf of both the US and Russia.    Mowatt-Larssen is a senior ...

Last week, a former Army Green Beret captain was indicted, accused of providing national defense information to Russia in what appeared to be a spying operation that began in 1996.  Prosecutors say Peter Rafael Dzibinski Debbins was recruited by members of Russia’s military intelligence agency (GRU).  Debbins went on to ...

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is in a coma after doctors at the German hospital where he is being treated say he was poisoned.  Last week, a former Army Green Beret captain was accused of spying for Russia in a relationship that allegedly began decades ago.  The Cipher Brief tapped ...

Cipher Brief Expert  Emile Nakhleh is a retired CIA Senior Intelligence Service Officer and founding director of the CIA’s Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program Office. Nakhleh is currently a Research Professor and Director of the Global and National Security Policy Institute at the University of New Mexico. OPINION -- The normalization ...

With just a few months left until the U.S. presidential election, there are a long list of things that threaten the vote, from election meddling by U.S. adversaries via disinformation and other methods, to our own political divisiveness.  We’re looking for ways to focus on the greater good, so when ...

Gary Grappo is a former U.S. ambassador who held senior positions including Minister Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad; U.S. Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman; and Charge d’Affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. As a ...

Ambassador Joseph DeTrani is former Special envoy for Six Party Talks with North Korea as well as former CIA director of East Asia Operations. He also served as the Associate Director of National Intelligence and Mission Manager for North Korea and the Director of the National Counter Proliferation Center, and ...

Cipher Brief Expert Tim Willasey-Wilsey served for over 27 years in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He is a Visiting Professor of War Studies at King’s College, London. OPINION -- It seems likely that the intra-Afghan talks will resume in Doha this week in spite of the attack on Fawzia ...

OPINION – One way to remember Brent Scowcroft’s major contributions to U.S. national security and foreign policy is to read the oral history he recorded over two sessions back in August 2002. The transcript was to be released after his death, so when he died on August 6, the Miller ...

Cipher Brief Expert Marc Polymeropoulos served 26 years in the CIA before retiring from the Senior Intelligence Service in June 2019.  His positions included field and headquarters operational assignments covering the Middle East, Europe, Eurasia and Counterterrorism  The Cipher Brief: What was your initial reaction to news that Israel and ...

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 -- President Trump’s Twitter announcement ...

The White House’s surprise announcement this past week that Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are formally normalizing relations was met with both open arms and claims of deceit by neighbors in the region. The normalization agreement comes with a promise by Israel to suspend its efforts to annex ...

Jorhena Thomas is a Clinical Instructor and Lecturer in the Crime, Justice, and Security Studies program at the University of the District of Columbia; in the Applied Intelligence Program at the Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies; and in the American University School of International Service and School of Public ...

Emile Nakhleh is a retired CIA Senior Intelligence Service Officer and founding director of the CIA’s Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program Office. Nakhleh is currently a Research Professor and Director of the Global and National Security Policy Institute at the University of New Mexico. OPINION -- The horrific and totally ...

British Air Vice-Marshal Sean Corbett CB MBE MA RAF retired from the Royal Air Force in September 2018 after a 30-year career as a professional intelligence officer. His last appointment in the military was spent in Washington DC as the first non-US Deputy Director of a major US Intelligence Agency.  ...

OPINION -- As the House and Senate versions of the fiscal 2021 Defense Authorization Bill are put together in conference, new offensive and defensive cyber operations are major topics in both versions of the legislation. Many of the proposals follow recommendations made last March by the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, which ...

The Intelligence Community’s job is to brief policymakers on what the US knows, in order to help them make better decisions.  There is a process for what the IC does and even though that process is often the first thing forgotten for the sake of a sexy political story, understanding ...

John McLaughlin served as the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2000-2004 and Acting Director of the CIA in 2004.  He is a distinguished practitioner in residence at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.   OPINION -- In the world of intelligence — my former profession ...

The US State Department recently named career diplomat James DeHart as the US’ first coordinator for the Arctic region.  DeHart’s job is to coordinate US efforts in the region, which includes “repelling China’s advances and capitalizing on commercial opportunities,” according to the Wall Street Journal.  What exactly are China’s ambitions ...

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. Stephen Rodriguez is a Managing Partner at One Defense, Senior Advisor at the Atlantic Council, and Senior Innovation Advisor at the Naval Postgraduate School. ...

The discovery of large gas deposits has refueled decades-old territorial disputes in the Mediterranean.  In late July, Turkey announced it was dispatching a survey ship near a contested area around the Greek island of Kastellorizo, known as Meis in Turkey.  The announcement caused an international stir when both NATO allies ...

The author  of this piece, Adam L. Silverman, PhD is a senior subject matter expert and consultant at Helios Global, Inc specializing in low intensity warfare and cultural considerations for strategy, policy, and operations. He served as a Senior Fellow in the Center for Special Operations Studies and Research at ...

Cipher Brief Expert Emile Nakhleh is a retired CIA Senior Intelligence Service Officer and founding director of the CIA’s Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program Office. Nakhleh is currently a Research Professor and Director of the Global and National Security Policy Institute at the University of New Mexico. OPINION -- Washington’s ...

The Cipher Brief spoke with former Special Assistant to President Obama and Cyber Security Coordinator on the National Security Council, Michael Daniel about the need for a new National Cyber Director. Daniel makes the case that the role he once held wouldn’t be enough to address today’s needs and that ...

Ever wonder how a CIA Analyst spots fake news? A new book out today by former CIA Analyst Cindy Otis, True or False:  A CIA Analyst’s Guide to Spotting Fake News takes a crack at sharing the kind of analytical thinking that helps you know what you’re reading online and ...

Last week, the Justice Department brought an indictment against two individuals accused of working with China’s Ministry of State Security to conduct a decade-long cyber intrusion campaign. The Justice Department says the two individuals were targeting the private sector some of which included research institutions working on coronavirus treatments.  But ...

OPINION – President Trump’s nominee for the top legal job in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Patrick Hovakimian, gave limited answers to questions from Democratic members of the Senate Intelligence Committee at his confirmation hearing last Wednesday. His performance all but guarantees a partisan line when his ...