The shake-up that Donald Trump voters wanted when they put him into the Oval Office has begun – with very mixed results. Trump’s ill-prepared, travel ban for individuals entering the U.S. from seven majority Muslim countries is headed for the Supreme Court after temporarily inconveniencing thousands and generating demonstrations across ...

When Donald Trump was elected as the 45th U.S. President, there was reason for some comfort amongst the United States’ traditional Arab allies in the Middle East, with hopes of a stronger stand against their adversary Iran. “They’ve been measuredly optimistic about the Trump administration, in part because of the ...

President Donald Trump has wrapped his initial actions in office in the name of keeping the United States safe, but several experts and former top U.S. officials say they worry his moves on refugees, immigration, and reorganizing the National Security Council could hurt the country’s national security. On Friday, Trump ...

Two former CIA officers with decades of experience offered up some advice to President Donald Trump on how to deal with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during The Cipher Brief’s Georgetown Salon Series event on Thursday. Robert Richer, former Associate Deputy Director for Operations at the CIA, and Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, ...

For a moment, try to ignore President Donald Trump’s tweets and rambling speeches and let’s look at what the Trump administration may be thinking about when it comes to his campaign promise to rebuild what he has termed “our depleted military.” The Trump White House website came up on January ...

President Donald J. Trump’s Administration has suggested massive overhauls in a number of policy areas, but few have remained as shrouded in uncertainty as Trump’s vision for the future of cybersecurity. All that is known is through Trump’s statements that attribution is hard, China spies for economic purposes, the private ...

U.S. failure to fully develop and implement a comprehensive cyber security strategy created the perfect opportunity for Russia to attack the Democratic National Committee computer network, and enabled them to meddle and interfere with the U.S. presidential election.   Years of bickering by federal agencies – over which agency was in ...

In the fall of 2008, a bipartisan group of cybersecurity experts delivered some sage advice to Barack Obama, set to become president in January: “Don’t start over.” That group, organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, made a strong and persuasive case that the Obama Administration needed to ...

A dramatic, and sometimes controversial, campaign and transition period culminated Friday in Donald Trump’s inauguration as the 45th president of the United States. In his speech, he said it was “the day the people became rulers of this nation again” and pledged that from now on, “it's only going to ...

Today, President-elect Donald J. Trump and Vice President Michael R. Pence will take the oath of office on the western steps of the Capitol building. Mr. Trump enters the White House as possibly the most controversial new President in history. His inauguration will be met by record-setting protests – 200,000 ...

Donald Trump today enters the most powerful office in the United States, and probably the world. Just how powerful, however, is an area of much dispute. Despite early promises to curtail executive authority in areas of national security, foreign policy, and warmaking, some argue that President Obama has actually expanded ...

After his inauguration today, Donald Trump will hold  the most powerful office in the country. Just how powerful, however, is much debated. Over the past 15 years, presidential authority to pursue unilateral action in areas of foreign policy, national security, and warmaking has increased precipitously, and some argue that President ...

President Trump said he wants to improve relations with China, but he has expressed concern with China’s theft of intellectual property, unfair taxes for U.S. companies in China, currency manipulation, product dumping and failing to reign in North Korea.  He took a congratulatory call from the President of Taiwan and ...

The start of a new U.S. administration, elections across Europe in 2017 that could drastically alter politics on the continent, and an increase in the number and kinds of external threats facing the world over the past few years rattle the NATO transatlantic defense alliance. Add to that President-elect Donald ...

Poland and other countries in the region – particularly NATO members located on Europe’s eastern flank – look to the new American administration with both anxiety and hope. During the election campaign, President-elect Donald Trump sent mixed messages about NATO and his willingness to maintain the same level of U.S. ...

In his first news conference since July, President-elect Donald Trump revealed he now agrees with the unanimous verdict of the U.S. intelligence community: Russia was behind the hack on the Democratic National Committee (DNC). "I think it was Russia," he said (though he later caveated “but you know what, it could ...

As Donald Trump prepares to take office, one of his earliest—and most important— foreign policy decisions will be how to move forward with the United States’ bilateral relationship with Russia. Will he pursue something along the lines of Obama’s reset or take a firmer stance? Given the president-elect’s opaque statements ...

“The great thing about being around Donald Trump is, you never have any confusion about who is driving the bus,” Vice President-elect Mike Pence said Sunday on CBS’ Face the Nation. I question whether President-elect Trump can drive a bus as big as the U.S. Government and wonder if he ...

Donald Trump will take office at the lowest point in Washington’s relations with Moscow since the end of the Cold War.  He has consistently talked about the need to establish a better relationship with Mr. Putin.  Can he do that in a way that serves American interests? The key to ...

Noon on January 20th provides an excellent opportunity for Russian President Vladimir Putin to give President-Elect Donald Trump the perfect inauguration gift - Edward Snowden. A reminder: Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor, has been living in Russia as a guest of the Government there after he stole and ...

Retired Gen. James Mattis called Russia the “principal threat” to the United States’ security and said he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin is “trying to break” the NATO alliance, starkly contrasting his views with that of President-elect Donald Trump during his Senate confirmation hearing for Secretary of Defense on Thursday. ...

President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for CIA Director, Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS), made clear in his Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday that he believes Russia was involved in hacks leading up to the U.S. presidential election in an attempt to undermine America’s democratic credibility. “It’s a long-standing effort of the Russians,” ...

Kim Jong-un’s New Year’s speech has triggered fevered speculation about the possibility of an impending North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test, even provoking President-elect Donald Trump to tweet, “it won’t happen.”  Yet for anyone paying attention to North Korea’s development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the prospect of ...

Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson on Wednesday sharply differed from President-elect Donald Trump on a number of key foreign policy issues, suggesting he’d take a much tougher line on Russia while at the same time declining to make any pledges regarding sanctions in response to Russian interference in the ...

President-elect Donald Trump Wednesday lashed out in a press conference at reports overnight that U.S. intelligence agencies had given him, President Barack Obama, and leaders of House and Senate intelligence committees a highly classified two-page report indicating Russia has compromising and salacious personal and financial information on him. U.S. agencies, ...

Their reactions to a terror attack on a public Christmas market in Berlin show stark differences between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump. On Monday, a truck plowed through a crowd in a busy area of central Berlin, killing at least 12 people and injuring 48. Merkel ...

General David Petraeus, former Director of the CIA, says the U.S. response to Russian hacking of the 2016 election must be calibrated to avoid a hacking war between the two sides. At a conference sponsored by Harvard University’s Belfer Center in Washington on Friday, Petraeus said there will have to ...

When asked by The Cipher Brief about how both allies and adversaries might view President-elect Donald Trump’s early, contentious relationship with the CIA, former Acting Director of the CIA John McLaughlin remarked, “They are already scratching their heads bald about what is going on here, so I don’t think we ...

Exxon Mobil Chief Rex Tillerson, like almost all post World War II Secretary of State nominees, if confirmed, will come to the job with extensive international experience and a global network of high level contacts. International business experience with its focus on underlying political and economic trends, as in Tillerson's ...

What impact will President-elect Donald Trump’s attack on the Intelligence Community have on the CIA as it steels itself to deal with its already contentious new first customer? The agency’s conclusion in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the election not just to undermine confidence in the electoral process ...

The Washington Post report on a secret CIA assessment concluding that Russia intervened in the U.S. Presidential election with the intention of helping President-elect Donald Trump win is only part of a deeply concerning and incredibly significant risk to national security.  It would be bad enough if the Russians were ...

On November 25th, six Chinese aircraft—two nuclear-capable H-6K bombers, two Su-30 fighters, and two surveillance planes—participated in an exercise near Taiwan’s airspace. Four of the craft, in an especially provocative move, circled the island. This was the first time China’s planes had done so. A Taiwan defense spokesman said there ...

The December 2nd phone call between President-elect Donald Trump and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen is the first such communication between a U.S. president or president-elect and a Taiwanese president since 1979. This poses major questions about the foreign policy direction of the incoming administration and how far it is willing ...

Don’t be fooled that there is a new Donald Trump now that he is president-elect. As I have written before, this Trump presidency is going to test our democratic institutions, not just Congress and the Judiciary, but also the so-called mainstream media that in the past was referred to as ...

President-elect Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping have more in common than they currently realize. Both want to make their countries “great again,” and both need to demonstrate that they can create jobs for the large segments of their population that have felt left behind by globalization. President Xi’s challenge ...

As the security clearance process comes under the microscope during President-elect Donald Trump’s transition, some experts and former intelligence community members say the system for determining whether people are eligible for access to classified information needs a revamp. Given the challenges of over-classification, insider threats, and today’s security environment, the ...

Prepare yourselves for a stepped-up, worldwide war against Islamic radical terrorists directed from the White House by President-elect Donald Trump and his closest aides, who claim this to be a 21st Century crusade to save Judeo-Christian values from what they see as an apocalyptic cancer growing within the Islamic religion. ...

As President-elect Donald Trump assembles his national security team, The Cipher Brief met with one prospective nominee, General Jack Keane, former Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army and member of The Cipher Brief’s network. He had just met with the Trump team when he sat down with ...

President-elect Donald Trump is compiling his national security and law enforcement teams and, so far, has tapped three conservative Trump loyalists – retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, Representative Mike Pompeo, and Senator Jeff Sessions. Here is The Cipher Brief’s take on the potential national security leadership: National Security Advisor: LTG ...

Just hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. president-elect Donald Trump spoke for the first time since the election, Russia launched a major offensive across Syria on Tuesday after weeks of relative quiet. With the transition between President Barack Obama and Trump now underway, Russia experts and former intelligence ...

“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny,” James Madison wrote 228 years ago in Federalist Paper 51. Those words are worth recalling ...

The election of Donald Trump as the next U.S. President has created uncertainty among European leaders as they consider the future of defense and security cooperation with the United States. Trump’s campaign rhetoric calling NATO – the transatlantic defense alliance – “obsolete” and demanding member nations contribute more to their ...

Donald Trump’s win over Hillary Clinton for the presidency of the United States surprised a number of European leaders. Given Trump’s statements about NATO being “obsolete” and the need for all allies to contribute their fair share, NATO’s European member states are trying to figure out what the alliance will ...

9 November is a historic day for Germans. In 1989, the Berlin Wall came crashing down on that day, and in 1938, pogroms across the Deutsches Reich became the starting point of the systematic persecution of European Jews. Both 1989 and 1938 are also strongly linked to German-U.S. history, and the formative role that the U.S. has played in shaping post-war Europe. ...

Donald Trump has been elected the 45th President of the United States and his most solemn responsibility is ensuring the safety of all Americans as well as helping protect the country’s allies.  The Cipher Brief’s Pam Benson sat down with retired General Jack Keane, a member of The Cipher Brief’s ...

The Arab world woke up to a new U.S. President-elect after an election race many had closely followed. The Cipher Brief’s Executive Editor, Fionnuala Sweeney spoke to network member Rob Richer, the CIA’S former Associate Deputy Director of Operations, to ask about government reaction in the Arab world and what ...

The votes have been cast, the decision made, and now comes the really tough part: governing.   During a presidential campaign, issues are portrayed mostly in black and white terms. But when it comes time to actually take hold of the reins of power, the candidate’s stated positions run smack into ...

Pollsters had projected a close race, but in the end it was a decisive win for Donald Trump. In a stunning victory, the Republican candidate was elected the next president of the United States, after winning the key battleground states of Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The Republican Party ...

When the new president walks into the Oval Office on January 20th, the American leader will most likely find a note from Barack Obama, a time honored tradition by departing presidents. Although the notes are not often made public, the ones we know about contain words of encouragement and reflections ...

As the Nation staggers to Tuesday's electoral finish line, the Cipher Brief asked if I would comment on what a Trump foreign and security policy might look like. Donald Trump isn't one to make detailed speeches or to offer commentary at think tanks or to post policy prescriptions.  And he ...