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 -- Mohammed ...

Things weren't great between the US and China even before COVID-19. Bloomberg is now citing three anonymous US officials as saying that the US Intelligence Community has come to the classified conclusion that China intentionally concealed the full extent of the coronavirus outbreak by under-reporting the total number of cases ...

OPINION -- If fighting the Covid-19 virus is a war, the Army Corps of Engineers is being led into battle by an exemplary field commander, Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite. The Corps’ job is to provide future hospital facilities for those cities and towns that are about to run out ...

BOOK REVIEW:  The Ambassadors: America’s Diplomats on the Front Lines by Paul Richter Reviewed by Ambassador Deborah K. Jones Ambassador Deborah K. Jones retired from the U.S. Department of State in November 2016 with the rank of Career Minister following 34 years of service that included Presidential appointments as Chief of ...

Learning and teaching have quickly gone virtual due to coronavirus: schools, universities, museums, libraries, even zoos and gyms are delivering virtual learning experiences.  The need for virtual (and fast) applies to foreign language learning programs as well.  Out of necessity, we are all caught up in quickly finding solutions now ...

During this time of social distancing, The Cipher Brief is bringing our experts to your laptop in a new series of web-based briefings on critical national security issues.  Members can sign up via email invitations and can ask questions of the experts that you aren’t getting answers to from traditional ...

 Sean Roche is former Associate Deputy Director of CIA for Digital Innovation. The Directorate of Digital Innovation (DDI) was created to accelerate the integration of advanced digital capability across all of CIA’s mission areas and is responsible for a wide range of espionage missions including cyber intelligence, open source collection, secure global communications, ...

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 and is currently Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director, Psychiatry-Medicine Integration, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX.  The views expressed are entirely his own and ...

Sean Roche is former Associate Deputy Director of CIA for Digital Innovation. The Directorate of Digital Innovation (DDI) was created to accelerate the integration of advanced digital capability across all of CIA’s mission areas and is responsible for a wide range of espionage missions including cyber intelligence, open source collection, secure global communications, ...

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 later served as the Associate Director of National Intelligence and Mission Manager for North ...

Quantum Information Science has been around for a while, but the importance of quantum computing and its impact on national security has become clear in recent years. Some national security experts are calling it the next technological revolution.   Cipher Brief Expert and former General Counsel for the NSA, Glenn Gerstell, wrote an ...

OPINION – What’s happening today with COVID-19, from global healthcare systems under extreme stress to the far-reaching economic impact, will be felt for years to come.  But there are other unintended consequences of COVID-19, including the very serious impact it could have on the 2020 presidential election. There currently is ...

Cipher Brief Expert John McLaughlin is a distinguished practitioner in residence at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.  He served as the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2000-2004 and Acting Director of the CIA in 2004. The new coronavirus brings us smack up against the modern ...

‘Quantum computing’ is a phrase used more frequently in national security conversations these days. What does it mean?  In its simplest definition, quantum computing involves the behavior of sub-atomic particles in computing, which translates into a fundamentally different way computers can solve problems.  Quantum computing is part of an emerging ...

OPINION -- If intelligence officers wanted one person to model themselves after, from the perspective of the Intelligence Community’s commitment to objectivity, they could find no one better than Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. A leading principle, if not “the” leading ...

OPINION -- “Offensive operations, often times, is (sic) the surest, if not the only (in some cases) means of defence,” a retired George Washington, living at Mount Vernon, wrote to a former military aide in a letter back in June 25, 1799. Unsuccessfully, attempts over decades to build a defense ...

Tom Bossert is the Chief Strategy Officer at Trinity Cyber, and a national security analyst for ABC News.  He served as homeland security advisor to two U.S. Presidents, serving as the Nation’s chief risk officer and senior most advisor on cybersecurity, homeland security, counterterrorism, and global health security policy.  Follow him ...

Long-time BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera recently published a new book, Russians Among Us: Sleeper Cells, Ghost Stories and the Hunt for Putin’s Spies.    The book explores the explosive story of Russia’s espionage efforts against the United States and the West and provides riveting details about ten Russian sleeper ...

Cipher Brief Expert Sean Roche served as the Associate Deputy Director of CIA for Digital Innovation serving as the second-in-command of CIA’s first new directorate in more than 50 years. OPINION -- An Analogy:  We've all been there, during an uneventful flight there is suddenly a jolt of significant turbulence.  Our ...

We are literally waking up in a new world every day as we work to better understand the comprehensive threat of the coronavirus and how to stop its spread.  New federal guidelines regarding the virus are expected from the White House Monday. They will follow state and local closings of ...

Tim Willasey-Wilsey is a former senior British diplomat and now a Senior Visiting Fellow at King’s College London’s Department of War Studies. The probability is that United States and British troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan irrespective of Taliban non-compliance with the terms of the Doha agreement of 29th. February ...

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. He is currently a Research Professor and Director of the Global and National Security Policy Institute at the University of New Mexico. Recent headlines from ...

OPINION -- On February 20, during his visit to Strategic Command (STRATCOM) headquarters near Omaha, Nebraska, Defense Secretary Mark Esper took part in a mini-war-game exercise which led to a simulated Russian firing of a low-yield nuclear weapon and the U.S. launching one back. The next day, February 21, Defense ...

BOOK REVIEW:  Spy Sites of New York City: A Guide to the Region’s Secret History by H. Keith Melton and Robert Wallace Reviewed by Mitchell D. Silber Cipher Brief Expert Mitchell D. Silber is the former director of intelligence analysis at the NYPD Intelligence Division and currently serves as the ...

The Listening Post is a new Cipher Brief column specifically highlighting the experiences of women in the national security space, in both the public and private sectors. This new weekly column is a collection of stories, interviews, and profiles of women who have pioneered change and have inspired others along ...

Norman T. Roule served for 34-years in the Central Intelligence Agency, managing numerous programs relating to Iran and the Middle East.   He served as the National Intelligence Manager for Iran (NIM-I) at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence from November 2008 until September 2017.  As NIM-I, he was ...

OPINION -- On 19 December 2018, President Donald Trump announced a withdrawal of American Troops from Syria, setting off fierce criticism that led to the resignation of Special Envoy Brett McGurk and Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis. This criticism paled in comparison to the 6 October 2019 statement from the ...

OPINION -- When Edward Gabriel passed away unexpectedly this January, I lost one of my closest friends, but America—in the throes of coronavirus panic—lost a leader who would have helped us deal with the crisis with precision, speed, and compassion. Ed was the deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response ...

BOOK REVIEW:  Russians Among Us: Sleeper Cells, Ghost Stories and the Hunt for Putin’s Spies by Gordon Corera Reviewed by Joseph Augustyn Joseph Augustyn is a 28-year veteran of the CIA’s Clandestine Service and once headed the CIA’s Defector Resettlement Program For five years, from 2013-2018, the American television viewing ...

OPINION -- Last Friday, the Associated Press and Reuters both reported that an un-named senior administration official said that the U.S. told Moscow that President Trump now favors a summit meeting of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council to set up a three-way U.S., China, Russia ...

Cipher Brief Expert John McLaughlin is a distinguished practitioner in residence at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.  He served as the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2000-2004 and Acting Director of the CIA in 2004. OPINION -- I recently returned from the annual Munich ...

The United States signed a peace agreement with Taliban leaders on Saturday that is intended to end the US’ 18-year involvement in Afghanistan. The deal agreed to in Doha, included the involvement of U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban Co-Founder and leader of the Taliban Political ...

BOOK REVIEW: Secrets and Spies:  UK Intelligence Accountability After Iraq and Snowden By Jamie Gaskarth Reviewed by Nick Fishwick Cipher Brief Expert 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 London included director ...

Several Cipher Brief experts attended this year’s Munich Security Conference, which concluded last weekend. The annual event is an opportunity for Atlantic allies to share their views on national security related issues. We wanted a sense of the conversations happening off the stage this year, in the hallways and beer ...

On the sidelines of last weekend’s Munich Security Conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sat down to talk.  Lavrov left the meeting saying he felt “a more constructive approach” regarding US-Russia dialogue that was said to focus on strategic dialogue and arms control. ...

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 served as the Associate Director of National Intelligence and Mission Manager for North Korea and the Director of the National Counter Proliferation Center, and also ...

OPINION -- President Trump is actively trying to excise the criminal fallout from investigations into Moscow’s 2016 covert support for his presidential election and have his attorney general, Bill Barr, control any similar investigations into Russian activities that might involve the 2020 presidential election. Trump’s suppression efforts come at the ...

BOOK REVIEW: The Russia Trap: How Our Shadow War with Russia Could Spiral into Nuclear Catastrophe By George Beebe Reviewed by Michael Sulick Cipher Brief Expert Michael Sulick served as director of CIA’s National Clandestine Service and is currently a consultant on counterintelligence and global risk assessment. While at CIA, Sulick also ...

Cipher Brief Expert and former CIA Deputy Director for Counterintelligence, Mark Kelton wrote for The Cipher Brief back in 2017 that, The Man in the Kremlin Must be Smiling, saying that “Vladimir Putin is smiling because he thrives on chaos, particularly in the camp of the “Main Enemy,” a term the ...

A Letter to Our Readers -- The Cipher Brief is incredibly proud to present its first-ever Lifetime National Security Award to veteran intelligence professional, Mr. Charles E. Allen. As we approach our fifth year of publishing expert national security insights, perspectives and analysis, we wanted to find a way to honor ...

Tim Willasey-Wilsey is a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at King’s College, London and a former senior British diplomat. Pakistan has decided not to annex its parts of Kashmir. Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan are collectively known as Pakistan Held Kashmir-PHK. Islamabad fears that such a move would provide propaganda for India ...

Douglas London is a retired senior CIA Operations Officer and Adjunct Associate Professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies. Mr. London served 34 years in the CIA’s Clandestine Service that included several Chief of Station assignments and executive Headquarters management positions.  Since retiring from the CIA’s Clandestine service a ...

Cipher Brief Expert Robert Eatinger is former Deputy General Counsel and Acting General Counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency and retired Captain from the Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s Corp with a combined 30 years of active duty and reserve service. EXPERT OPINION -- China seeks to challenge US technological supremacy ...

OPINION -- Should we all sleep easier because at last we have a low-yield nuclear warhead sitting atop a Trident D-5 sub-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) aboard a strategic ballistic missile submarine now on patrol in the Atlantic Ocean?  Not really. Last Tuesday, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy John Rood ...

Dr. Kenneth Dekleva served as a Regional Medical Officer/Psychiatrist, including 5 years at the U.S. Embassy Moscow, with the U.S. Dept. of State from 2002-2016.  He is currently Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director, Psychiatry-Medicine Integration, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX.  OPINION — In 2000, Xi Jinping, a relatively ...

If there was any doubt about the moribund state of the two-state paradigm in Palestine, the unveiling of the White House’s peace plan last month has put that doubt to rest. The “deal of the century,” put together by Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt in close cooperation with Israel’s Prime ...

Angela Lewis, Manager of Global Intelligence and Threat Analysis Team at The Walt Disney Company Angela Lewis is the Manager of the Global Intelligence and Threat Analysis Team at The Walt Disney Company. Prior to joining the private sector, Ms. Lewis served as a Senior Counterterrorism Targeting Officer in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, ...

At the recent December 2019 plenum, Chairman Kim, rather than giving his traditional New Year’s speech, outlined a different strategy toward the US moving forward in 2020. In doing so, he highlighted the dignity of the country, a return to a combination of military and economic development, and the requirement ...

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday that the situation in Libya is a “scandal” and expressed his frustration over countries pushing for progress and then not backing it up in their actions.  The Secretary General focused on countries that participated in last month’s peace talks in Berlin, ...

Last week, The White House announced President Donald Trump’s vision for a ‘comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.’ The White House refers to it as a peace to prosperity plan but it has its shortcomings, namely that the Palestinians weren’t involved in its drafting and rejected the plan ...