Terrorism

May 11, 2017
The Cipher Brief’s Bennett Seftel spoke with retired Ambassador Phil Carter, former Senior Advisor, Acting Assistant Secretary, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the State Department’s Africa Bureau, to discuss Sudan’s progress on counterterrorism and whether State should continue
May 11, 2017
As with comedy, timing is everything for the politics of being a state sponsor of terrorism. Political considerations, as much as supposed improvements in counterterrorism efforts, saw Cuba, North Korea, and Libya removed in recent years from the U.S.
May 11, 2017
Sudan, along with Iran and Syria, remains one of three countries listed as a state sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. State Department. However, after years of increased counterterrorism cooperation between the Sudanese and U.S.
April 27, 2017
In February, reports emerged that the administration of President Donald Trump was considering rebranding the Obama-era Countering Violent Extremism program to “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism.” This idea quickly sparked a public backlash from rights groups and Democratic congressional r
April 27, 2017
U.S. counterterrorism efforts have achieved their fair share of successes – killing terrorist leaders with drone strikes and commando raids, keeping terrorist cells on the run so they can’t plot future attacks, and destroying militants’ underground bases and infrastructure.
April 27, 2017
The Cipher Brief’s Bennett Seftel spoke with Michael Leiter, former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, about U.S. government efforts to counter violent extremism.
April 26, 2017
There has been talk for decades of creating an overarching intelligence structure that works to keep the continent secure, but it has taken on new urgency with the recent increase in terror attacks in Europe.   However, doing so is easier said than done.
April 26, 2017
In March, the Trump Administration imposed a new set of restrictions targeting carry-on luggage arriving on planes from several Muslim-majority countries after intelligence reports indicated that terrorist organizations have been perfecting techniques to conceal explosive devices in laptop ba
April 15, 2017
On Thursday, the United States carried out an airstrike targeting ISIS in Afghanistan, dropping a Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb (MOAB) on a tunnel and cave complex.
April 14, 2017
While al Qaeda’s affiliates in North Africa, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen continue to grab headlines, the terrorist network has surreptitiously expanded eastward, entrenching itself throughout the Indian subcontinent.
April 14, 2017
While al Qaeda’s affiliate in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) may be regionally focused, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, says “that doesn’t mean AQIS can be divorced from al Qaeda’s aspirations to attack the West.” In an interview with The C
April 14, 2017
The Cipher Brief sat down with Michael Kugelman, Deputy Director and Senior Associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson Center, to discuss the threat posed by al Qaeda’s affiliate in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS).
April 4, 2017
On Sunday, March 26, widespread protests broke out in more than 80 cities in the Russian Federation, apparently in response to the government's inability or unwillingness to deal with the problem of endemic corruption.
April 4, 2017
Vladimir Putin is portrayed in the West as the master manipulator in foreign policy, creating turmoil in U.S. and European elections and outfoxing his rivals in the Ukraine and Syria.
March 23, 2017
While the U.S. remains focused on defeating ISIS in Syria and Iraq, al Qaeda in Syria is accumulating strength at an alarming pace and may eventually pose the most daunting counterterrorism challenge that the U.S. has ever faced.
March 23, 2017
The Cipher Brief sat down with Charles Lister, Senior Fellow at the Middle East Institute, to discuss al Qaeda in Syria’s latest rebranding, how the group is expanding its influence across the country, and the implications for U.S. security.
February 16, 2017
As part of the State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) during the Obama administration, Michael Ortiz helped develop and launch a new CVE strategy and also worked to build the case internationally for those efforts.
February 16, 2017
With the recent U.S.
February 16, 2017
The Cipher Brief's Executive Producer and Reporter Leone Lakhani, spoke with Haras Rafiq, CEO of Quilliam, to discuss how the organization works to counter the narratives propagated by extremist groups.
February 9, 2017
The Cipher Brief sat down with Michele Dunne, Director and Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Middle East Center, to discuss the potential implications of the U.S. State Department designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.
February 9, 2017
The Muslim Brotherhood preaches a violent, exclusivist ideology.
February 9, 2017
The Trump Administration is considering whether to designate the Muslim Brotherhood – a movement that espouses a doctrine of political Islam and has millions of supporters across the Middle East – as a terrorist organization.
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
February 1, 2017
International sanctions and poor relations with neighbors have left Eritrea largely isolated in East Africa. Relations between the U.S. and Eritrea are tense, partially due to alleged human rights abuses by the Eritrean government.
February 1, 2017
The U.S. and Eritrea do not have strong bilateral relations. Ever since UN sanctions were imposed in 2009 and again in 2013, doing business in Eritrea, let alone having strong diplomatic ties, has become more difficult.
January 12, 2017
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’s (AQIM) propensity for kidnapping was back on display earlier this week, as al Qaeda’s North African branch released a video of Swiss Christian missionary Beatrice Stockly, who has been held captive by the terrorist group for more than a year.
January 8, 2017
Abraham Lincoln, America’s 16th president, subscribed to the philosophy, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer,” a line attributed to Sun Tzu, the famous sixth-century Chinese military strategist. Mr.
December 1, 2016
The Cipher Brief sat down with former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ronald Neumann to discuss some of the challenges that the incoming Trump Administration will face in Afghanistan and the steps the U.S. government can take to reaffirm its commitment to stability in Afghanistan.
December 1, 2016
With the Trump Administration set to take office next month, The Cipher Brief spoke with Robert Grenier, former CIA Chief of Station in Pakistan and Afghanistan and author of the book, “88 Days to Kandahar,” to discuss ways for the U.S.
December 1, 2016
President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly said that fighting Islamic extremism is one of his administration's top priorities.
November 25, 2016
There has been a downward trend in large-scale warfare on the African continent since the number of wars peaked in the mid 1990s. However, new forms of violence are now replacing mass warfare in many of America’s key African allies.
September 27, 2016
On September 10th in the restive Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in northwest China, as many as 10 people were killed or injured when police investigated the house of suspected terrorists.
September 27, 2016
Over the last several years, China has learned that its borders and people are not immune to the threat of terrorism.
September 15, 2016
In the aftermath of 9/11, every major security, law enforcement, and intelligence organization initiated changes to address the looming terrorist threat. None made more profound changes to its intelligence structure, operations, and culture than the New York City Police Department (NYPD).
September 8, 2016
In August, U.S. President Barack Obama reassured the Pentagon that the Islamic State will “inevitably be defeated.” U.S.
July 28, 2016
The threat of terrorism in West Africa appears to be growing, creating concerns about whether it is safe to do business there.
July 26, 2016
The terrorist attack at Holey Bakery in Dhaka earlier this month deviated in important ways from the previous trend of assassination-style attacks against specific individuals in Bangladesh.
July 26, 2016
Earlier this month, after ISIS claimed responsibility for a brazen and bloody assault on a café in Dhaka, Bangladesh, analysts pointed to the attack as more proof of the group’s geographical
July 26, 2016
The recent attack at the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka, Bangladesh where 20 people were brutally murdered finally brought international attention to a disturbing trend in one of the world’s largest Muslim countries.
July 20, 2016
On Thursday evening, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel drove for more than a mile through a crowd of people celebrating France’s independence day on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, killing at least 84 and injuring more than 200.
July 17, 2016
Whether ISIS had any connection with the terrorist attack in Nice, it really “doesn’t matter,” former CIA case officer and Soufan Group Director of Special Projects Patrick Skinner told The Cipher Brief in an interview.    We talked to Skinner about ISIS’ messaging and the difficulty the West
July 17, 2016
The Cipher Brief sat down with Former Director of Analysis at the NYPD, Mitch Silber, to discuss the implications of Thursday’s terrorist attack in Nice, France.
July 17, 2016
While details continue to emerge about Thursday’s terrorist attack in Nice, France, one thing remains clear: regardless of whether ISIS orchestrated the attack, inspired it, or had no connection to it whatsoever, the organization’s “prestige” among its supporters continues to rise after each terr
July 15, 2016
A slightly different version of this article appeared recently in the Washington Times.  General Hayden has requested that we reprint it in The Cipher Brief following Thursday’s h
July 14, 2016
The Cipher Brief sat down with Matt Levitt, former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis at the Treasury Department, to discuss Hezbollah’s roles in Lebanon, Syria and as a proxy for Iran.
July 14, 2016
Tehran likes to style the alliance between itself, Hezbollah, and the Assad regime in Syria as the core of an “Axis of Resistance.” The name tries to evoke the strength of will to confront, if not overthrow, foreign occupiers and oppressors—that is Israel and the United States—by Iran and its reg
July 14, 2016
Designated by the United States as a terrorist group in 1997, Hezbollah is a Shia extremist organization and political party based in Lebanon that wears many faces.
July 11, 2016
Whoever the American people elect to be our next president in November, she or he will inherit numerous problems, including terrorism, the hollowing out of nation states by narcotics traffickers, and instability in the Middle East.  All of these problems have at least one thing in common.  They a
July 5, 2016
After the San Bernardino terrorist attack there were the usual cries “to do something” to better protect the nation.
July 5, 2016
When the Cipher Brief asked me to write an article assessing how well the FBI has done since 9/11 in protecting our country from terrorism threats and whether there was a need for a separate domestic intelligence agency, I agreed without hesitation.

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