The White House is expected to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group as part of the White House’s tough new tact on Tehran, according to multiple news reports—but experts say doing so could worsen regional conflicts. This week, President Donald Trump will announce the designation as part of a ...

President Donald Trump’s much-anticipated decertification of the Iran nuclear deal would hand the problem off to Congress, setting off a 60-day countdown for lawmakers to decide whether to re-impose sanctions — and leaving the accord in limbo. Trump will not certify the Iran nuclear deal because the agreement is not ...

President Donald Trump has called North Korean leader Kim Jong-un suicidal, but the CIA’s top Asia analysts said Wednesday that he’s a “rational actor” bent on survival. “Waking up one morning and deciding he wants to nuke” Los Angeles is not something Kim Jong-un is likely to do, said Yong ...

Rex Tillerson could be the worst of the 69 secretaries of state in the history of the republic, but he did not deserve the drubbing he took Sunday from his boss. Moreover, Washington’s efforts to disarm North Korea were not served by the public humiliation of America’s chief diplomat over ...

Speaking to the nation in his first prime time speech, President Donald Trump laid out his administration’s new strategy for the United States’ war in Afghanistan. “From now on, victory will have a clear definition,” he said, “attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing al Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking ...

  President Donald Trump had promised to outline the “path forward in Afghanistan and South Asia” during his prime-time address on Monday night. Although he announced the United States would deepen its commitments to the nearly 16-year-old conflict, the president did not address troop numbers or lay out specific benchmarks ...

President Donald Trump vowed in his first prime time speech that “we will fight to win” in Afghanistan, saying “from now on, victory will have a clear definition.” What that means, he said, is “attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing al Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan, and ...

Amid rising frustration in the White House about the war in Afghanistan, reports have emerged about two major dynamics: a disagreement between National Security Advisor LTG H.R. McMaster and the president’s chief strategist, Steven Bannon, over the way forward in Afghanistan, and, as part of that disagreement, the future of ...

It has been a tumultuous first six months for the Trump Administration, as the ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election has dominated the headlines, and frustrated and preoccupied the president. Still, the White House released a statement on Thursday touting its national security successes. It ...

President Donald Trump’s administration slapped fresh sanctions on Iran on Tuesday, shortly after certifying the country is technically complying with the nuclear deal — a move that experts say is a key part of the White House’s approach until the comprehensive review of Iran policy is completed. The Treasury Department ...

According to press reporting, President Donald Trump, during a meeting in the Oval Office on May 10, disclosed to the Russian foreign minister and the Russian ambassador to the United States, highly classified intelligence information that a U.S. ally had collected, classified in the interest of its own national security, ...

Donald Trump Jr. eagerly accepted help connected with what he was explicitly told was the Russian government’s effort to boost his father’s campaign, a move that former top Intelligence Community officials said comes straight out of the Russian playbook on tradecraft and raises alarming new questions about Russian interference in ...

The White House announced on Wednesday that President Donald Trump is nominating Susan M. Gordon to serve as the next Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, a role that insiders equate to that of chief operating officer for the intelligence community. Gordon is seen as a solid supporter of public-private ...

Current and former Intelligence Community heads say intelligence briefings must shift under President Donald Trump to acknowledge his tendency to be what National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Deputy Director Susan Gordon described as a “fire and forget” type of leader. During a discussion at The Cipher Brief’s Annual Threat Conference in Sea ...

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday denied any improper contacts with Russian officials as he also testified to senators that he has not received any briefing on Russian active measures during the 2016 election. During a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, Sen. Angus King (I-ME) asked Sessions if he believed ...

Former FBI Director James Comey says President Donald Trump fired him last month because he did not like the way Comey was handling the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible coordination by the Trump campaign. “It’s my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia ...

Former FBI Director James Comey is set to testify before Congress on Thursday about his discussions with President Donald Trump related to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. In his opening statement, released by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Comey details his contacts with Trump — ...

Dusko Markovic.  Not a household name.  Neither is Montenegro, the small, stunningly beautiful Balkan country with an Adriatic coastline, where Mr. Markovic is Prime Minister.  Despite having visited a number of times, I still have to squint sometimes when I look at a map to find it.  Montenegrins like to ...

In 1990, as a young assistant U.S. attorney, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) slipped into the national security world when he nailed the first FBI agent ever to be accused of espionage – for Moscow. Now he is the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee – a subject he calls ...

Allegations that involve Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner persist, following U.S. media reports over the weekend. According to the Washington Post and New York Times, Kushner and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak discussed setting up  backchannel communications between Washington and Moscow, during the transition period in December.. The ...

The White House is again defending itself against allegations made in news reports, this time concerning the Washington Post’s story on Friday that President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner – who currently serves as the President’s senior adviser – met with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak in December to discuss establishing back channel communications ...

Former CIA Director John Brennan for the first time publicly said he is concerned about possible ties between Russia and members of the Trump campaign. “I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign ...

The senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee is shrugging off as worthless propaganda Russian President Vladimir Putin’s offer to provide a record of a White House meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and two Russian officials.  In an interview with The Cipher Brief on Wednesday, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) ...

President Donald Trump said Tuesday he had an "absolute right" to share highly classified information from a U.S. ally about an ISIS terror threat with Russia. Trump's tweets came the morning after top White House national security officials declared the story, which was first reported by the Washington Post, as ...

The long-awaited executive order on cybersecurity is out. It’s not dramatic or surprising (perhaps because drafts have been floating around Washington for weeks), but it has good ideas. It’s level-headed and pragmatic. The main thing to consider with the order is that it is mainly a presidential task order, calling ...

The fallout from the firing of FBI Director James Comey could be more extensive than the White House bargained for. In early Wednesday morning tweets, President Donald Trump blasted the bipartisan criticism of his move, concluding that “when things calm down, they will be thanking me.” The departure of Comey ...

President Trump’s unexpected firing of FBI Director James Comey came at the same time it became apparent that Bureau and Congressional investigators are focusing seriously on Trump family businesses and their financial dependence on Russian money. Trump has constantly tweeted his opposition to investigating any links between his campaign aides ...

President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey coincides with the ramping up of multiple investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with Trump campaign associates. On Tuesday, Senate investigators on the Senate Intelligence Committee asked the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network ...

As the White House sent shockwaves through Washington Tuesday, with the announcement that President Donald Trump had fired FBI Director James Comey, James Clapper –  former Director of National Intelligence and The Cipher Brief network expert— said it was “a huge loss for the nation, the FBI, and the Intelligence ...

As FBI Director, James Comey was not only a pivotal member of the Intelligence Community (IC), but the head of an organization investigating whether Russia interfered in last year’s U.S. elections. To get an IC perspective on Comey’s dismissal by the Trump Administration, The Cipher Brief’s Leone Lakhani talked with ...

Late Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump fired the Director of the FBI, Jim Comey, citing his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server – an investigation concluded in 2016, and one for which Trump praised Comey during the presidential campaign. The suddenness of the ...

FBI Director James Comey’s firing is likely to have massive implications for the image of the United States around the world – particularly if, as former National Counterterrorism Center Director Mike Leiter suggests, a special prosecutor is appointed to oversee the investigation of Russian interference in last year’s election. The ...

Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates said in late January she warned the White House that then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was compromised by Russia and susceptible to blackmail. “To state the obvious, you don't want your National Security Advisor compromised with the Russians,” Yates on Monday told the Senate ...

President Donald Trump reorganized his National Security Council (NSC) on Wednesday. In a surprise move, chief strategist Stephen Bannon has been removed from the council, according to a Federal Register. The former roles of top intelligence and defense officials have been restored – including National Intelligence director Dan Coats and ...

Two White House officials provided House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes with the information concerning intelligence reports that showed President Donald Trump and campaign associates were picked up incidentally in foreign surveillance, according to a news report. The New York Times reported Thursday that two White House officials — Ezra Cohen-Watnick, ...

President Donald Trump and his family’s myriad financial activities are unique for a White House occupant. Prior to becoming Defense Secretary, James Mattis on January 5 signed an ethics agreement that stated, “I will not participate personally and substantially in any particular matter in which I know that I have ...

President Donald Trump released his $1.5 trillion budget on Thursday, a blueprint that would boost military and border security spending as it makes deep funding cuts to United States diplomacy and foreign aid that experts say could harm national security. Trump’s 2018 proposal calls for a $54 billion increase for ...

President Trump wanted a military plan from his generals to “totally obliterate ISIS.” Instead, he is getting a series of political-military options put together not just by the Defense Department, but with input from the departments of State and Treasury, plus the Intelligence Community. “We’re in the business of providing ...

General Michael Flynn’s resignation and the selection of H.R. McMaster as the new National Security Advisor has brought the roles and responsibilities of this position into sharp relief.  As a former official who has served as the top East Asia member of the National Security Council under former President George ...

Rumors about a planned Trump Administration cybersecurity executive order offer signs of hope that many of the cyber policy lessons learned, often the hard way, during the past decade will not be forgotten. Unfortunately, its main thrust appears to be to call for more reviews of and reports on many ...

The appointment of Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster as National Security Advisor was not the Trump Administration’s first shake-up on the National Security Council, and it is unlikely to be the last. The Trump Administration’s decision to upend the NSC’s organization is an effort to correct what many believed had become ...

Strong-willed and innovative, at times even iconoclastic, are the words being used to describe President Donald Trump’s choice for National Security Advisor, Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, who replaces Lieutenant General Mike Flynn. The Cipher Brief spoke with members of our network who have worked with McMaster and know him well ...

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, during three Sunday television interview programs, gave different and sometimes confusing stories about what activities led to President Trump’s firing of his National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, and what still may be going on about that situation. The first thing to note was ...

Compared to the rest of his proposed cabinet, President Donald Trump's pick of retired Marine Corps General James Mattis for Secretary of Defense has been one of his least controversial. However, due to his recent retirement from the military, Mattis needed - and received - a waiver from Congress to ...

President Donald Trump’s former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, resigned this week over his contacts with the Russian Ambassador to the United States and his deception of Vice President Mike Pence and others on the nature of those calls, but the case is clearly not closed, legal experts told The ...

With the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, there have been questions about the security implications of his conversations with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak before he took office.  But speaking to The Cipher Brief’s Leone Lakhani, Jack Keane, retired four-star general and former Vice Chief ...

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 ...