Sonya Seunghye Lim is a former Chief of Station with the Central Intelligence Agency. Before retiring from the CIA’s Senior Intelligence Service, she had a 24-year distinguished career in the Directorate of Operations, to include two assignments as Chief of Station.  OPINION -- In late January 2021, alarming headlines dominated ...

In a letter obtained by The Cipher Brief this week, former CIA Directors and Acting Directors, including former Director Gina Haspel, endorsed CIA Director Bill Burns in his new role as DCIA. The letter (below) was originally submitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee, which oversaw Burns' confirmation hearing last week, in ...

Walter Pincus is a contributing senior national security columnist for The Cipher Brief. He spent forty years at The Washington Post, writing on topics from nuclear weapons to politics.  In 2002, he and a team of Post reporters won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.  OPINION -- Reflecting on his ...

BOOK REVIEW: Eagle Down: The Last Special Forces Fighting the Forever War by Jessica Donati / PublicAffairs Reviewed by Damon Walsh, Chairman, Mission Solutions Group THE REVIEWER — Damon Walsh is a retired US Army Officer with over thirty years of combined military and defense industry experience. He served as an Infantry ...

Rob Lively retired after 28 years of military service, as the Command Sergeants Major of a Special Missions Unit within The United States Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Debra Richardson serves as a communications strategist within the Department of Defense OPINION -- We fought for our freedom as a ...

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 also a Research Professor and Director of the Global and National Security Policy Institute at the University of New Mexico. OPINION -- Several small groups of ...

BOOK REVIEW: The Spymaster of Baghdad: A True Story of Bravery, Family, and Patriotism in the Battle Against ISIS by Margaret Coker / Dey Street Books Reviewed by Sonya Lim, former CIA Chief of Station THE REVIEWER — Sonya Seunghye Lim is a former Chief of Station with the Central Intelligence Agency. ...

Kristin Wood, Sr. Climate Editor, The Cipher Brief Kristin Wood is the Senior Climate Editor for The Cipher Brief, a Cipher Brief expert, a non-resident fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs’ Intelligence Project, and a former senior CIA officer with 20 years of ...

Javed Ali is a Towsley Policymaker in Residence at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and served in senior roles at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and National Security Council.  OPINION -- Events over the past year, including ...

In the summer of 2016, then-Director of National Intelligence Lt. Gen. James Clapper began to detect a worrisome trend.  It was an election year, and he was starting to see an uptick in Russian activity around misinformation and disinformation that went well beyond the usual playbook.  Russia had been known ...

OPINION -- The Biden administration is reviewing not just the February 2020, Trump administration agreement with the Taliban that calls for all U.S. forces to be out of Afghanistan by May 1, but also the impact of Trump’s surprise, pre-election, October tweet to cut current troop levels to 2,500 from ...

Cipher Brief Expert Daniel N. Hoffman is a retired clandestine services officer and former Chief of Station with the Central Intelligence Agency. His combined 30 years of government service included high-level overseas and domestic positions at the CIA.  Hoff man is an advisor to Vaillance Group. Shawnee Delaney was a clandestine officer and former Detachment Chief ...

The Cipher Brief’s Academic Incubator partners with national security-focused programs from colleges and Universities across the country share the work of the next generation of national security leaders.   Alan Maubouche is in his last semester in the International Security (I-SEC) program at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and ...

The Cipher Brief’s Academic Incubator partners with national security-focused programs from colleges and Universities across the country share the work of the next generation of national security leaders.  Olivia Letts is a graduate of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service. ACADEMIC INCUBATOR -- The November ceasefire, ...

President Joe Biden’s administration is aiming its Middle East agenda on adhering to campaign promises, examining current policies and undoing some that were enacted under the Trump administration. The U.S. has announced that it will no longer support Saudi offensive operations in Yemen and has appointed special representatives to help ...

The new COVID-19 national security world is one shaped by a host of national and global security issues that were impacted – both good and bad – by the global pandemic. That, in turn, has fundamentally changed the way governments and private sector companies need to think about the old ...

Zachery Tyson Brown is an intelligence and national security futurist interested in the many ways in which intelligence, strategy, organizational design, and disruptive technologies intersect. A veteran military intelligence analyst who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, Zach is now a National Security Fellow at the Truman National Security Project, ...

OPINION -- “Americans have not yet seriously grappled with how profoundly the AI (Artificial Intelligence) revolution will impact society, the economy, and national security,” is one of the opening sentences of the draft final report from the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence that is now being publicly circulated for ...

The Cipher Brief is committed to a free exchange of ideas. Our book reviewers are drawn from the ranks of our readers -- and they are encouraged to "call 'em as they see 'em." Not all of the reviews we publish are positive, particularly when the subject matter is highly ...

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 the ...

Rob Knake is a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a non-resident fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center. Bryson Bort is CEO, of SCYTHE an attack emulation platform and co-founder of the ICS Village. OPINION -- A water system in Florida has been accessed by an unknown intruder ...

Walter Pincus is a contributing senior national security columnist for The Cipher Brief. He spent forty years at The Washington Post, writing on topics from nuclear weapons to politics. In 2002, he and a team of Post reporters won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. OPINION -- The worldwide cyber war ...

Doowan Lee is a strategic advisor to the Institute for Security and Technology and adjunct professor of politics at the Univ. of San Francisco.   Phil W. Reynolds is a visiting scholar at the Center for Futures Studies at the University of Hawaii and is the author of Ouroboros: Understanding ...

The Cipher Brief’s Academic Incubator partners with national security-focused programs from colleges and Universities across the country share the work of the next generation of national security leaders.   Blaine Ravert is a Political Science and Philosophy Major at Westminster College, in Fulton, MO. Tobias T. Gibson is the John Langton ...

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

BOOK REVIEW: The Folly and the Glory: America, Russia and the Political Warfare 1945-2020  by Tim Weiner / Henry Holt & Co. Reviewed by Lt. Gen. Robert P. Ashley (Ret.) Cipher Brief Expert Lieutenant General Robert P. Ashley, Jr. (Ret.) is a career Army intelligence officer having served over thirty-six years ...

Javed Ali, Policymaker in Residence, University of Michigan Javed Ali is a Towsley Policymaker in Residence at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and had over 20 years professional experience in Washington, DC on national security issues, to include senior roles at the Federal Bureau ...

Walter Pincus is a contributing senior national security columnist for The Cipher Brief. He spent forty years at The Washington Post, writing on topics from nuclear weapons to politics.  In 2002, he and a team of Post reporters won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. OPINION -- “Terrorism is an ...

Rob Knake is the Whitney Shepardson Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Knake served from 2011 to 2015 as director for cybersecurity policy at the National Security Council. In this role, he was responsible for the development of presidential policy on cybersecurity and built and managed federal processes for cyber ...

Jim Danoy, Former Executive, Defense Intelligence Agency Cipher Brief Expert Jim Danoy is a former defense intelligence executive and served as the National Intelligence Manager for Europe and NATO at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and was a President’s Daily Brief (PDB) briefer for President Obama. OPINION ...

Javed Ali is a Towsley Policymaker in Residence at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and had over 20 years professional experience in Washington, DC on national security issues, to include senior roles at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Office of the Director of National ...

Cipher Brief Expert Sean Corbett 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 a two-year rotation in Washington DC where he served as the first non-US Deputy Director of a major US Intelligence ...

Walter Pincus is a contributing senior national security columnist for The Cipher Brief. He spent forty years at The Washington Post, writing on topics from nuclear weapons to politics.  In 2002, he and a team of Post reporters won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. OPINION -- Newly-installed Director of ...

North Korea’s party Congress, held earlier this month, offered some insight into what Leader Kim Jong Un is thinking when it comes to the country’s nuclear ambitions with a Biden Administration now in office. Kim told the Eighth Congress of the Korean Workers’ Party (KWP), that no matter who takes ...

Cipher Brief Expert Tim Willasey-Wilsey is a visiting Professor of War Studies at King’s College, London and a former senior British diplomat. The views expressed in this article are the author’s and do not represent those of any institution. Many observers believed that President Biden would continue the US troop ...

Cipher Brief Expert John E. McLaughlin is the Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).  He served as Acting Director of Central Intelligence from July to September 2004 and as Deputy Director of Central Intelligence from October 2000 to July 2004. EXPERT TAKE ...

CLIMATE -- One of President Biden’s first areas of focus after taking office on Wednesday was on the climate, reinstating a commitment that the US will rejoin the Paris climate accord. The Biden Administration is also pledging a review of more than 100 other climate or environment-related regulations and the ...

The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, better known as INR, is charged with providing intelligence products in support of U.S. diplomatic efforts around the world. Established in 1947 by then-Secretary of State George Marshall, the bureau came out of the Office of Strategic Services Research Department that was ...

Walter Pincus is a contributing senior national security columnist for The Cipher Brief. He spent forty years at The Washington Post, writing on topics from nuclear weapons to politics.  In 2002, he and a team of Post reporters won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. OPINION -- The Senate Armed ...

(Photo caption:  Full-size dummy LCTs, codenamed BIGBOB, moored in South East England before the Normandy invasion (British Imperial War Museums, photograph H 42527, public domain).  This article was adapted from a nonfiction postscript in Christopher Turner’s Lieutenant Barnaby’s Inflatable Air Force. Christopher Turner had a 25-year career in the Central Intelligence Agency’s Directorate ...

Javed Ali is a Towsley Policymaker in Residence at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and had over 20 years professional experience in Washington, DC on national security issues, to include senior roles at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Office of the Director of National ...

The Listening Post tells the stories of women in national security by sharing columns, interviews, and profiles of women who are ushering in the new era of national security.  Colonel Candice E. Frost is the Director of Foreign Intelligence for the Army G-2 within the Headquarters, Department of the Army where she provides current ...

Walter Pincus is a contributing senior national security columnist for The Cipher Brief. He spent forty years at The Washington Post, writing on topics from nuclear weapons to politics.  In 2002, he and a team of Post reporters won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. OPINION -- Was the January ...

BOOK REVIEW: On All Fronts: The Education of a Journalist by Clarissa Ward / Penguin Press Reviewed by Marc Polymeropoulos 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 ...

OPINION -- Within today’s online environment, we’ve seen a billowing public awareness of “fake news,” the uncontrolled spread of disinformation (and its very real impacts), public acts of violence, and a national—and often heated—conversation about structural racism. More and more, “hate speech,” “extremism,” and “toxic rhetoric” are mentioned in the ...

The Cipher Brief asked our experts to weigh in on how they saw Wednesday’s storming of the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump protesters and how allies and adversaries are likely viewing the events of the day. Nick Fishwick CMG retired in 2012 after nearly thirty years in the British Foreign Service. ...

Here's our take on the failed efforts of a pro-Trump mob to stop Congress from certifying ballots at the Capitol on Wednesday as Congress, led by Vice President Mike Pence, confirmed Biden’s presidential victory. It's now reported that four people died during yesterday's events, though details of how they died ...

Our friends at The Record talked recently with Richard LaTulip, a former Secret Service Special Agent who spent time undercover to better understand the motivations and methods of cyber criminals. The conversation has been edited for length. From The Record: When many people think of the U.S. Secret Service, they picture ...

Lauren Zabierek is the Executive Director of the Cyber Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center. She previously served as an intelligence officer in the United States Air Force and as a civilian intelligence analyst with the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA). Paul Kolbe is Director of The Intelligence Project ...

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. Since retiring from the government in ...