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A "Black Lives Matter" sign is seen during protests on Saturday, June 13, 2020, near the Atlanta Wendy's where Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed by police Friday evening following a struggle in the restaurant's drive-thru line in Atlanta. 

AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

Analysis & Opinions - Just Security

Statement of Homeland and National Security Leaders

| June 15, 2020

We pledge to be allies in the work to heal the wounds of racism, injustice, and oppression. To implement positive and lasting progress we must come together and unite behind the ideals of this nation’s founding—that we are all created equal and deserve equal treatment under the law.

A makeshift memorial on Saturday outside the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, where 11 people were fatally shot on Oct. 27. (Keith Srakocic/AP)

Keith Srakocic/AP

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

We’ve declared war on foreign terrorism. Why not do the same for domestic threats?

| Nov. 05, 2018

In the span of a week, our nation experienced a torrent of hate-fueled attacks: the slaying of two African Americans in a Kentucky supermarket , the  mail-bomb assassination attempts and the mass slaying in a Pittsburgh synagogue . These attacks tragically demonstrate that domestic terrorism is on the rise as political polarization and hateful echo chambers on social media radicalize people.

As we mourn those who died in Kentucky and Pittsburgh, we should recognize that such tragedies highlight a dangerous counterterrorism gap that has developed over time: an insufficient focus by the federal government on the threat of domestic terrorism.

FBI Headquarters

FBI, via Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

A ‘global game of whack-a-mole’: Overseas data rules are stuck in the 19th century

| Mar. 05, 2018

How should law enforcement officials deal with digital data that happens to be stored in a different country? If FBI agents, pursuing a subject who committed a crime in the United States, serve a valid court order on an American company, the government shouldn’t have to wait a year because the company happens to store the information overseas. Likewise, if the London police are investigating a local murder, the fact that they are seeking phone records from a communications provider located in the United States should not block them from doing their job. 

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Press Release

Aspen Institute Launches Cybersecurity Working Group

| Jan. 08, 2018

The Aspen Institute launched on Friday its newest strategy group, a cross-sector public-private forum aimed at translating pressing cybersecurity conversations into action. The Aspen cyber group will facilitate robust conversation between 35 experts from both the public and private sectors on how to best address today’s cybersecurity challenges.

News - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

2017 Senior Fellows Bring High-level Expertise to Belfer Center and Harvard Kennedy School

During 2017, the Belfer Center was honored to welcome a number of new senior fellows, dedicated public servants who have served in high-levels of government. All of the new faces in our midst help the Center build bridges across aisles and oceans as they work with students, faculty, and other fellows to tackle today’s most challenging issues.  We were pleased to announce the following senior fellows during 2017.

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Analysis & Opinions - Combating Terrorism Center

A View from the CT Foxhole: Lisa Monaco, Former Assistant to President Barack Obama for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism

| Oct. 16, 2017

Lisa Monaco served as Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism from March 2013 to the end of the Obama administration. Prior to the White House, Monaco spent 15 years at the Department of Justice, the majority of that time serving as a career federal prosecutor, and in senior management positions in the Justice Department and the FBI. During this period, she served for three years as counsel to and then Chief of Staff at the FBI, helping then Director Robert Mueller transform the FBI after 9/11 into a national security organization focused on preventing terrorist attacks on the United States. From 2011 to 2013, she served as Assistant Attorney General for National Security, the first woman to serve in that position. Monaco is currently a distinguished senior fellow at the Center on Law and Security at the New York University School of Law and a senior national security analyst for CNN.  

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Journal Article - Foreign Affairs

Preventing the Next Attack: A Strategy for the War on Terrorism

| Oct. 16, 2017

Today, the terrorist threat looks much different than it did right before 9/11. The U.S. counterterrorism community has dramatically ramped up its intelligence capabilities. Determined to “connect the dots” in the future, the U.S. government created new agencies and instituted a new paradigm for intelligence—share by rule, withhold by exception—and set up a slew of “fusion centers” and joint task forces to foster interagency cooperation. Borders were hardened, cockpit doors reinforced, and watch lists created. In Afghanistan, the United States overthrew the Taliban regime, which was hosting al Qaeda. Today, despite recent Taliban gains, al Qaeda still does not enjoy free rein in the country. In Iraq and Syria, al Qaeda’s offshoot, the Islamic State (or ISIS), is on the run, thanks to the work of a global coalition assembled in 2014 and U.S.-led air strikes and special operations raids. The group’s Iraqi capital of Mosul fell in July, and its Syrian stronghold in Raqqa is almost certain to follow. Owing to the relentless pressure that the United States and its allies have placed on terrorists’ safe havens, the threat of a complex and catastrophic attack emanating from abroad—although not gone—has diminished. At the same time, however, the threat from homegrown and so called lone-wolf terrorism has increased.

Mourners gather after the terror attack in Barcelona

Santi Palacios/Associated Press

Analysis & Opinions

Intel Sharing Critical as Terror Strikes Another NATO Ally

| Aug. 18, 2017

As a close counterterrorism partner of Spain, the United States will be active in the ongoing investigation into the terrorist attack in Barcelona and any connected incidents.

At least 13 people were killed and around 100 people injured in the deadly van attack in Las Ramblas district on Thursday. In a later incident, authorities said that during a firefight between police and terrorists wearing fake explosives in Cambrils, a town south of Barcelona, five suspects were killed and several bystanders and a police officer were injured. And on Wednesday, one person died in an explosion in the town of Alcanar. Spanish police say they believe the incidents are linked.

In the U.S., law enforcement and intelligence agencies will be examining their intelligence traffic and reporting to determine what information to share with Spanish authorities as investigations continue. The Cipher Brief’s Mackenzie Weinger spoke with Lisa Monaco, former Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, to get her assessment of the Barcelona attack, the level of collaboration between the U.S. and Spain, and what to watch for in the coming days.