Sina Beaghley

Photo of Sina Beaghley
Senior International/Defense Researcher
Off Site Office


M.A. in international affairs/international security, George Washington University; B.A. in political science/media communications, University of San Diego

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To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email

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Sina Beaghley is a senior international/defense policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. Her research focuses on national security policy including counterterrorism, counterintelligence, cyber strategy, personnel and security clearance vetting, and surveillance policy and privacy. She also served as the associate director for the Cyber and Intelligence Policy Center 2017–2021. Beaghley came to RAND in 2015 after more than a decade of service in the Federal government. She last served as director for Intelligence and Information Security on the National Security Council (NSC) staff where she coordinated the review of intelligence capabilities in response to 2013–2014 unauthorized disclosures related to the National Security Agency (NSA) and advised the president and national security advisor on foreign relations and intelligence policy. Prior to that, Beaghley was chief for Near East and Africa planning at the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) where she directed the development of national-level counterterrorism plans. She served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) where she developed policy for special operations, counterterrorism, cyberspace operations, and defense activities in the Middle East. She also deployed as a planner with a Joint Task Force in Iraq in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Before joining OSD, she served at the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Science and Technology and Treasury Department’s Office of Terrorism and Violent Crimes. She received her M.A in international affairs at The George Washington University and her B.A. in political science and media communication from the University of San Diego.


  • Security fencing surrounds the U.S. Capitol days after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the building, in Washington, January 11, 2021, photo by Erin Scott/Reuters

    What the Capitol Siege Means for the Future of Security Clearances

    Some people who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6 had or have a national security clearance and thus trusted access to classified information. And some might apply for a security clearance in the future. If they are not identified and prosecuted, then they won't have a criminal record that could be detected in a background check.

    Feb 2, 2021 The Hill

  • American whistleblower Edward Snowden is seen on a screen as he delivers a speech during the Roskilde Festival in Roskilde, Denmark, June 28 2016, photo by Scanpix Denmark/Mathias Loevgreen Bojesen/via Reuters

    A Snowden Pardon Could Have a Snowball Effect on Protecting National Security Secrets

    If President Trump were to pardon Edward Snowden, then he might encourage vigilante behavior that puts at risk the very sensitive information and operations—meaning American interests and lives—that the U.S. national security system is intended to protect.

    Sep 4, 2020 The National Interest

  • A cache of guns and ammunition uncovered by U.S. federal investigators in the home of U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant Christopher Paul Hasson in Silver Spring, Maryland, February 20, 2019, photo by U.S. Attorney's Office Maryland/Reuters

    Overdue Overhaul: Security Clearance Reform in a Decade of Leakers, Spies, and Insider Threats

    With the legislative and executive branches seemingly on the same page regarding the need for changes to the security clearance and vetting system, long overdue reform appears to be within reach.

    Apr 15, 2019 RealClearDefense

  • Hacker on a laptop

    Have a Victim Response Plan for Data Breaches

    In a large data breach, there could be a real risk to victims' financial or personal security. Though responsible organizations should do everything in their power to ensure data is protected in the first place, they also should prepare a plan to ensure prompt victim response.

    Oct 2, 2018 The Wall Street Journal’s Cybersecurity Bulletin

  • Credit cards, a chain, an open padlock, and a computer keyboard are visible next to the Equifax logo

    Equifax and the Data-Breach Era

    The personal and financial data of almost 146 million U.S. consumers has been compromised by the Equifax breach, the latest in a long line of high-profile hacks. Do consumers worry enough about such breaches? And what options are available to Congress?

    Oct 18, 2017 The Hill

  • Binary code bursts from phones held by a crowd of people with an overlay of glowing electronic numbers

    What Is the Adversary Likely to Do with the Clearance Records for 20 Million Americans?

    The state actor that hacked the Office of Personnel Management could use the stolen information to further its domestic control against dissidents, enhance its foreign intelligence, and improve its position in the global military and economic order.

    Jan 20, 2017 Inside Sources

  • A person looking at top secret files with a magnifying glass

    Defining a New Paradigm for Government Secrecy

    Technology has afforded the U.S. national security apparatus incredible capabilities, along with equally monumental challenges and risks. The government has the option to choose whether to adjust by taking a proactive approach or to allow external forces to determine the future of its secrets.

    Oct 13, 2015 U.S. News & World Report

  • Demonstrators hold up their signs during the Stop Watching Us: A Rally Against Mass Surveillance march near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, October 26, 2013

    The USA Freedom Act: The Definition of a Compromise

    The USA Freedom Act does not 'balance' privacy and national security, nor is it clear that any legislation can credibly do so. There's no monolithic view of what such a balance should look like.

    May 29, 2015 The Hill