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 is the President of The Soufan Center. As the former Executive Director of the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management for Cook County, Illinois, Mr. Masters was responsible for coordinating and maintaining the homeland security and emergency management system across the nation’s second largest jurisdiction, involving partners in the private, non-profit and academic sectors. Prior to that, Mr. Masters served as the Chief of Staff for the Chicago Police Department.
Mr. Masters has worked extensively on programs related to countering targeted violence, addressing extremism, developing outreach and engagement programs that address issues of police legitimacy and community relations, as well as undertaking organizational design efforts, best practice implementation, and reform measures for law enforcement agencies.
A Truman and a Gates Cambridge Trust Scholar, Mr. 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, Mr. Masters received his Juris Doctoris from 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. Mr. Masters holds appointments as an Adjunct Professor at the John Marshall School of Law and at Northeastern University.
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.
MATTHEW LESTER
RESEARCH ANALYST
Mr. Lester is an Analyst at The Soufan Group, focusing on terrorism, international security, and the politics of the Middle East. He served as an infantryman in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, and has lived and studied in the Middle East.
SYDNEY BLACK
ASSOCIATE
Sydney Black is an Associate at The Soufan Group. She previously served as the Special Assistant to the Director for the Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. In that capacity, she managed the Countering Targeted Violence Against our Communities initiative, a community engagement and training program that addresses targeted violence. Previously, Sydney worked as a Program Administrator for Cardinal Point Strategies, assisting in the development and delivery of the Leading Through Crisis, an intensive crisis management training program for elected officials in Cook County. She also served as a Research Analyst for iMapData, a geospatial risk mitigation and intelligence company. In this capacity, she helped to develop data layers that plotted international terrorist events back to 2000, identified critical infrastructure for the upcoming Olympics in Rio, and produced risk analyses for executive clientele and high-value individuals traveling throughout the U.S., Europe, and Africa. Sydney received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and International Security from Northwestern University.