CIA

May 28, 2017
Editor's Note: As we spend Memorial Day reflecting on the storied history of those charged with protecting the United States, The Cipher Brief revisits CEO and Publisher Suzanne Kelly’s exclusive conversation with CIA Deputy Director Andrew Hallman, who oversees the Agency’s innovation effort
April 13, 2017
Now that President Donald Trump has demonstrated his willingness to get tough with a regional bad actor by using a cruise missile attack to punish the Assad regime and try to deter it from any future uses of chemical weapons, similar deterrent actions against challenging Iranian behavior seem mor
April 12, 2017
Wikileaks’ “Vault7” disclosure last month of apparent CIA hacking tools marked the third recent incident in which an inadvertent public release of alleged government hacking techniques has sent the private sector scrambling to protect users.
March 17, 2017
Enhanced Interrogation: Inside the Minds and Motives of the Islamic Terrorists Trying to Destroy America is a firsthand account of the CIA’s controversial interrogation program – which most famously included such techniques as waterboarding – by one of its architects, psychologist James
March 15, 2017
A recent narrative has taken hold among journalists and pundits that a “deep state” is behind the recent flood of leaks embarrassing the Trump Administration.  It is a notion that the Administration and its supporters have firmly embraced.  The claim is that Obama holdovers in the Intelligence Co
March 5, 2017
Should government officials be licensed or pass a test before they can receive intelligence?
March 3, 2017
This week The Cipher Brief’s Executive Producer and Reporter Leone Lakhani speaks to John Nixon, author of “Debriefing The President: The Interrogation of Saddam Hussein.”
February 23, 2017
There has been much said about how often President-elect Donald Trump takes his Presidential Daily Brief (PDB), the Intelligence Community’s (IC) assessment of key national security threats.  The PDB is critical, and reports that the President-elect has upped the frequency to three times a week a
February 22, 2017
In the final few days of the Obama Administration, CIA Director John Brennan, after consulting with the Director of National Intelligence, brought years of CIA and interagency efforts to a close by updating the CIA’s decades-old procedures for collecting, retaining, or disseminating information c
February 2, 2017
It was early 2010, and I was visiting one of CIA’s largest stations overseas.  The CIA, just weeks earlier, had lost seven brave officers to a suicide bomber at a remote base in Khost, Afghanistan.  It was the worst loss of life in a single day for the CIA since the bombing of the U.S.
February 2, 2017
On January 25, 2017, during his first post-election press interview, President Donald Trump was asked, “do you want waterboarding?” In his response, the President said, “I will say this, I will rely on [Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Mike] Pompeo and [Secretary of Defense James] Matt
January 20, 2017
When the Cipher Brief folks asked me to review the latest “Tom Clancy” novel, I was hesitant.  I already have a pile of books that I actually want to read, and I usually hate these type of “thrillers.” Further, the fact that Tom Clancy is long-dead was even more of a reason to assume that the new
January 4, 2017
The Russian hacking of the U.S.
December 29, 2016
New presidents often think they can redefine relations with Russia. But will Washington ever get along with Moscow if the Kremlin does not share Western internationalist values?
December 16, 2016
Throughout my nearly 30 years at CIA, I was regularly reminded of the scripture that serves as a philosophical foundation of the Agency’s work.
December 16, 2016
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
December 16, 2016
All week, The Cipher Brief has been covering the news that Russia not only interfered in the U.S. presidential election, but according to CIA analysts, apparently did so with the intent of influencing the outcome in support of Donald Trump. The Cipher Brief wanted to know what U.S.
December 15, 2016
There are a couple of key questions we should all have when it comes to the difference of opinion between President-elect Donald Trump and the CIA about whether Russia launched cyber operations with the intention of influencing the outcome of the election.
December 11, 2016
As the United States and the international community absorbed the news that the CIA believed Russia had interfered in the recent Presidential election to help Donald Trump’s candidacy, President-elect Trump dismissed the assessment out of hand, describing it as a result of partisan politics.
December 4, 2016
One of President-elect Donald Trump’s first choices for his national security team was Representative Mike Pompeo for Director of the CIA.  A graduate of West Point and a Harvard educated lawyer, Pompeo is a three-term Republican Congressman from Kansas, a member of the House Intelligence Com
November 2, 2016
The U.S. Intelligence Community’s (IC) clandestine human intelligence (HUMINT) services are experiencing an erosion of their core mission and values, with consequences to our current and future collection capability. 
October 21, 2016
Susan Williams’ book, Spies in the Congo, provides a well-researched and detailed history of the efforts of the Office of Strategic Services, America’s first strategic intelligence agency and the forerunner of the CIA, to establish itself in the Congo as well as West Africa.  In telling
October 14, 2016
Mark Henshaw’s latest spy thriller could have been ripped straight from today’s headlines as tensions between Moscow and Washington continue to mount.
September 13, 2016
Fifteen years ago, 19 hijackers and four planes shattered American illusions of security. An outside attack seemed remote to most Americans, and there appeared to be no immediate threat to their daily lives.
September 13, 2016
In the aftermath of 9/11, the American intelligence community (IC) went through one of the most transformative periods in its history.
September 9, 2016
Reflecting on the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11, Congressman Will Hurd of Texas said that there have been both successes and room for improvement as the U.S. campaign against terrorism continues. The efforts of the U.S.
April 10, 2016
In recent years, it’s been increasingly common for former CIA operations officers to write books and Op-Eds.
October 8, 2015
Got a secret? Welcome to the Dead Drop.
October 8, 2015
Carmen Medina is the CIA’s former Deputy Director of Intelligence and a member of The Cipher Brief network of experts. Her unique insights will be featured regularly on TCB.
September 24, 2015
Do you want an opinion from someone who doesn’t have any relevant information?  Probably not.  However, many journalists and self described experts don’t seem deterred by their ignorance when they write about the U.S. intelligence community.  
September 17, 2015
Got a secret, can you keep it?
September 3, 2015
Got a secret, can you keep it?
April 20, 2017
How far-fetched are James Bond’s gadgets or shows like Mission Impossible, where under-cover agents switch into different disguises? Not as far-fetched as you think. The CIA’s Office of Technical Service (OTS) is in charge of creating all those gadgets and disguises.
April 16, 2017
Zero-day vulnerabilities -- security flaws in commercial software or hardware for which developers haven’t devised a patch -- have existed since the dawn of the Digital Age, but today, former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden said at a meeting of cyber security experts convened by The Cipher Br
April 13, 2017
CIA Director Mike Pompeo called WikiLeaks a “non-state, hostile intelligence service” that is “often abetted by state actors like Russia” in his first public speech since becoming the head of the intelligence agency.
April 9, 2017
Less than two months after taking office, U.S. President Donald Trump’s approach to drone strikes appears to be taking shape.
April 5, 2017
Viewers can’t step out for popcorn while watching Homeland, or they might miss a fleeting glimpse of a person or object in a scene that foreshadows a later plot twist.
March 24, 2017
The process of “unmasking,” or revealing the true identities of U.S.
March 14, 2017
The prospect of foiling the plot against the President-elect appears even bleaker as the CIA’s Dar Adal stymies our heroes at every turn.
March 9, 2017
The leak of documents allegedly describing secret CIA hacking techniques has shined a light on the intelligence agency’s use of contractors and its efforts to tackle the insider threat problem.
March 9, 2017
The CIA’s Dar Adal was eventually revealed as the mastermind of a plot against the incoming President, but in this episode, the villain emerges as the very personification of evil. We shouldn’t be surprised. Dar’s warped conspiracy has involved a terrorist attack on U.S.
March 9, 2017
At the outset of a new administration, it is prudent for incoming officials to bring CIA expertise in and look back at covert action, exploring what’s worked, what’s fallen short, and why.
March 7, 2017
WikiLeaks on Tuesday published what it claims to be the CIA’s hacking techniques to exploit devices such as smart phones, computers, and Internet-connected televisions for the collection of intelligence around the world.
February 28, 2017
The central plot of this season’s Homeland has now been revealed to be a full-blown right wing conspiracy against an incoming President considered soft on terrorism. To strengthen the U.S.
February 22, 2017
The previous episode of Homeland ended not with a whimper but a bang when the "Medina Medley" van driven by Sekou Bah exploded on a busy Manhattan street. In the same episode, Peter Quinn tracked a shadowy stranger to the Medina van parking lot.
February 13, 2017
This season’s parallel plots begin to converge in episode four. Carrie’s houseguest, Peter Quinn, still recovering from his near-death experience, hasn’t been involved in the political machinations between the President-elect and the CIA or in the FBI terrorism case against young Sekou Bah.
February 3, 2017
When President Dwight Eisenhower left office, he told his successor, John F. Kennedy, that Laos was one of the United States’ most important foreign policy issues.
February 1, 2017
It is not clear whether a group of Russians arrested on charges of treason for helping U.S. intelligence, involve CIA assets, despite a claim to the contrary, two former CIA Russia specialists said Wednesday.
January 26, 2017
Top former national security leaders are questioning a draft executive order that calls for a policy review to potentially authorize the CIA to reopen overseas “black site” prisons to detain suspected terrorists.

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