THE SOUFAN CENTER TEAM
ALI SOUFAN
FOUNDER
Ali Soufan is the Founder of The Soufan Center. Mr. Soufan is a former FBI Supervisory Special Agent who investigated and supervised highly sensitive and complex international terrorism cases, including the East Africa Embassy Bombings, the attack on the USS Cole, and the events surrounding 9/11. Mr. Soufan also serves as a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council. He is the author of the newly released “Anatomy of Terror: From the Death of bin Laden to the Rise of the Islamic State” and The New York Times Top 10 Bestseller, “The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al Qaeda,” winner of the 2012 Ridenhour Book Prize.  He is a leading national security and counterterrorism expert, and continues to play a significant advisory role on today’s most sensitive issues.
Mr. Soufan had a distinguished career in the FBI, including serving on the Joint Terrorism Task Force, FBI New York Office, where he coordinated both domestic and international counterterrorism operations. He often operated out of hostile environments and carried out sensitive extra-territorial missions and high-level negotiations, and has received numerous awards and commendations for his counter-terrorism work. These include the Director of the FBI’s Award for Excellence in Investigation, the Respect for Law Enforcement Award for “relentless pursuit of truth and bringing terrorist subjects before the bar of justice,” and a commendation from the U.S. Department of Defense that labeled him “an important weapon in the ongoing war on terrorism.”
Mr. Soufan has testified before the U.S. Congress, Presidential Commissions, the British Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee, and appeared as an expert panelist and as a guest speaker at international security forums, both in the U.S. and abroad. He has been profiled, interviewed and has also contributed to leading shows and publications worldwide, including 60 Minutes, Frontline, The New Yorker, Newsweek, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Straits Times, Der Spiegel and Asharq Alawsat, along with news programs and specials on the BBC, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News. Mr. Soufan’s work has also been detailed in several non-fiction books, including “The Looming Tower” by Lawrence Wright.
Mr. Soufan is an Honors graduate from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania where he received undergraduate degrees in International Studies and Political Science. He is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Villanova University where he received a Master of Arts in International Relations.
MEREDITH
STRICKER
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Meredith Stricker is Executive Director of The Soufan Center.  She has over ten years of experience in the human rights, peace and security and development sectors, working on gender policy, anti-poverty programs and efforts to reduce violence in the United States, East and West Africa, and South and Southeast Asia. As the Program Director of the Peace and Security Funders Group (PSFG), based in Washington D.C., Ms. Stricker worked with a network of foundations and philanthropists that make grants of over $350 million in annual giving in the peace and security sector, and took a leadership role in general relationship building with both partners in government and the practitioner communities. She also led the PSFG’s Working Groups on Preventing Violence (focused on so-called “countering violent extremism” efforts) and Gender and Conflict.
Before joining PSFG, Ms. Stricker was the Executive Director of the Zameer Foundation, a small private family foundation that focused on innovative educational opportunities, resource mobilization, and sanitation services for orphans and vulnerable children in four states in India. Previous to her work in India, Ms. Stricker served as Country Director for Transitions, an anti-sex trafficking organization based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she advocated on behalf of survivors and ran a school and shelter for teenage girls. She has also worked in Senegal on women’s economic empowerment projects, in Uganda on women’s property rights initiatives, and in Rwanda with non-profits focused on health care and social entrepreneurship. An Honors College scholar, Ms. Stricker has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a Master in International Affairs from Columbia University, where she earned the Dr. Susan Aurelia Gitelson Award for Human Values in International Affairs.
MICHAEL G. MASTERS
PRESIDENT
Michael G. Masters serves in an Of Counsel role with The Soufan Group and Soufan Group Strategies, and as the President of The Soufan Center. Masters also serves as the National Director of the Secure Community Network, the national homeland security initiative of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and as a Senior Advisor to CivicScape, an advanced analytics company that provides risk assessments to public and private sector entities.
Masters previously served as the Executive Director of the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management for Cook County, Illinois. In that capacity, Mr. Masters was responsible for coordinating and maintaining the homeland security and emergency management system across the second largest Urban Area in the United States, serving 5.4 million people over 940 square miles.
Under Masters’ leadership, the Department developed comprehensive planning, information-sharing, operations, logistics, training, cyber security and grants management programs. With a mission-oriented record of success at organizational design efforts, team building and process optimization in both mid- and large-size organizations, Masters quickly built the Department into a nationally recognized best practice agency.
Widely recognized for its emphasis on training and exercise, the Department implemented one of the most extensive federally grant funded training and exercise programs – reaching over 9200 first responders annually – in the nation. This included efforts to counter violent extremism, address active threat scenarios, and protect critical infrastructure as well as communal spaces, such as schools and houses of worship, as well as train residents in resiliency.
Masters also implemented and oversaw one of the largest cyber-security programs of any local government in the United States, creating a ground-up best practice cyber program that included investments in hardware, software and training, as well as the development of key architecture and infrastructure to protect critical resources, assets and data.
Masters serves on the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security’s Foreign Fighter Task Force, the Faith Based Security and Communications Committee and supported the Department’s Countering Violent Extremism Subcommittee as well as served as the Vice-Chair of the Grants Review Task Force. He previously served on the Executive Board of the FBI’s Chicago Joint Terrorism Task Force.
From 2008-2011, Masters served as the Chief of Staff for the Chicago Police Department, helping to direct the policy, operations and strategy of the second largest local law enforcement agency in the United States. During his tenure as Chief of Staff, the Department saw twenty-six months of continuous crime reduction and the lowest homicide rate in the City of Chicago in forty-five years, up to that point.
Masters also served as an assistant to former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley for public safety, overseeing public safety policy and operations for the City of Chicago, and acting as a liaison to the Chicago Police and Fire departments and the City of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications. Masters has worked with the Washington D.C.-based Partnership for Public Service and with the United States Attorney’s Office, also in Washington, D.C.
A Truman and a Gates Cambridge Trust Scholar, Masters received his Bachelor of Arts in History with highest honors from the University of Michigan, and a Master of Philosophy degree in International Relations from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. A Heyman Fellow and Dean’s Award recipient for community leadership, Masters received his J.D. Harvard Law School where his research focused on legal issues related to terrorism and public corruption and where he served as managing editor for the Harvard International Law Journal.
Masters has held faculty appointments at both the John Marshall School of Law and at Northeastern University.
Certified as a peace officer and a Special Weapons and Tactics operator, Mr. Masters continues to serve his community as a part-time police officer. Mr. Masters received an officer’s commission in the United States Marine Corps, where he attained the rank of Captain.
STEPHANIE
FOGGETT
PROGRAM COORDINATOR
Stephanie Foggett is Program Coordinator at The Soufan Center. She has worked extensively on international security issues, in particular international terrorism and emergent security challenges. At The Soufan Center, she supports program work, research, and strategic communications.
Before joining The Soufan Center, Ms. Foggett worked at an international strategic consultancy specializing in public affairs, public diplomacy, and communications for a range of government and non-profit clients. From 2012 to 2015, she worked in the Emerging Security Challenges Division at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. Her work focused on multi-lateral security cooperation on emergent threats and challenges.
She has additional experience in academic research, political risk consultancy, and domestic politics. Ms. Foggett also has experience working in support of the United Nations Women, Peace & Security agenda. She worked as a Senior Researcher on a NATO-supported project on gender integration in armed forces and has worked on other areas of gender and conflict.
Ms. Foggett has a Master of Arts (Honours) in International Relations from the University of St Andrews in the United Kingdom. During her undergraduate studies at St Andrews, she also served as a researcher with the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV). Ms. Foggett was awarded a Master of Arts in Intelligence & International Security from the Department of War Studies at King’s College London (KCL).
RICHARD BARRETT
SENIOR FELLOW
Richard Barrett, Senior Fellow, is a former British diplomat and intelligence officer and a recognized expert on violent extremism and the measures that can be taken against it. From March 2004 to January 2013, Mr. Barrett headed the United Nations Monitoring Team concerning Al-Qaida and the Taliban, and also helped found the United Nations Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF), a coordinating body that aims to ensure effective counter-terrorism cooperation within the UN system. Within the CTITF, he led Working Groups on terrorist use of the Internet and on countering the appeal of terrorism. He was also known for his work on countering the financing of terrorism.
Before being appointed to head the Monitoring Team, Mr. Barrett worked for the British government in the Security Service (MI5), the Foreign Office and the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). He was Director of Global Counter Terrorism Operations both before and after the 9/11 2001 attacks in the United States.
Mr. Barrett is a board member of the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism in The Hague; the Transnational Crisis Project; the Center on Global Counterterrorism Cooperation in Washington; the Centre for Research and Security Studies in Islamabad, and the Center for the Study of United Nations Systems and the Global Legal Order in New York. He is a fellow of the New America Foundation, Washington, and of the Royal United Services Institute, London, and an adjunct Professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Mr. Barrett was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by HM The Queen in 1992 and a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (CMG) in 2013.
RICHARD M. FRANKEL
SENIOR FELLOW
Mr. Richard M. Frankel served for more than 25 years in public service, the majority of his career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
A recognized authority in complex investigations, asset recovery, cyber issues and crisis management, Frankel also provides regular insight on terrorism, criminal and intelligence related matters. He has extensive experience in understanding as well as investigating complex coordinated attacks.
Mr. Frankel led several FBI field divisions as the Special Agent In-Charge. In this capacity Mr. Frankel oversaw criminal investigations, as well as undercover and tactical operations, while actively working to lead organizational transformational efforts to transition to a threat-based, intelligence-led operating posture. Mr. Frankel also directed multi-agency initiatives and major response to threats against persons and property, while developing extensive liaison programs through outreach to entities in the public, private, academic and non-profit sectors, as well as with community groups.
In addition, Mr. Frankel served as the Associate Director of National Intelligence and Senior FBI Representative to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence with the responsibility for overseeing and managing domestic intelligence relationships.  Mr. Frankel was the principal liaison with external entities and advised the Director on all issues related to the intelligence relationship between the Intelligence Community and its Domestic Partners.  In this position, Mr. Frankel worked to increase interaction and cooperation between the law enforcement community and the greater Intelligence Community as it related to identifying and working against cyber threats.
A graduate of Ithaca College, Quinnipiac Law School and several Senior Executive programs, Richard’s government service began as Assistant District Attorney for Suffolk County, New York.
CARLOS
FERNANDEZ
SENIOR FELLOW
Carlos Fernandez is a former FBI agent who until recently was in charge of New York’s counterterrorism division.  He now serves as Viacom’s Chief Security Officer.
Mr. Fernandez, a former Marine from Washington Heights, entered on duty with the FBI in 1996 and was assigned to the New York Field Office, where he investigated several matters, including the East Africa bombings and the USS Cole.  In 2006, Mr. Fernandez was promoted to Assistant Legal Attaché in Sana’a, Yemen, and received the FBI Director’s Investigative Excellence Award for his work abroad.
In 2008, Mr. Fernandez returned to New York as a Supervisory Special Agent who oversaw counterterrorism investigations, including threats emanating out of Latin America and Ireland to the United States.
In 2009, Mr. Fernandez was appointed the senior FBI official to the Joint Special Operations Command, where he served under Vice Admiral William McRaven.  Following completion of the assignment, Mr. Fernandez returned to the Counterterrorism Division in New York as a supervisory special agent, where he led the first successful prosecution of a GTMO detainee and the Maersk Alabama piracy investigation.  He also received the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award for a presidentially-approved operation off the coast of Yemen.
Mr. Fernandez also has served as the Deputy Director for Law Enforcement in the Counterterrorism Center at the CIA, where he received the George H.W. Bush Award For Excellence in Counterterrorism.
In 2010, Mr. Fernandez was promoted to Coordinating Supervisory Special Agent in Charge of the New York Counterterrorism Division.  In this role he oversaw the administrative and operational matters for five operational counterterrorism squads.  In February 2011, Mr. Fernandez was promoted to Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the New York Counterterrorism Division.
In 2015, FBI Director James Comey named Mr. Fernandez the Special Agent in Charge of the Counterterrorism Division in New York, where he served for two years.  During Mr. Fernandez’s tenure, he led the FBI’s investigations of the Chelsea, New York City bombing, and the attacks in Paris, Belgium and London.  He also ensured the security of the largest gathering of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City, which included the visits of Pope Francis and President Obama.
In the Summer of 2017, Mr. Fernandez retired from the FBI and joined Viacom as Chief Security Officer.