Thomas Rid is a fake Russia-cybersecurity expert

Thomas Rid has been claimed as the top expert on the alleged “Russian active measures” for the Russia hoax launched by the Clinton campaign. His name dominated media reporting on this subject. He even testified before the Senate. Mr. Rid is part of the hoax, not an expert.

Allegations of his relevant expertise in cybersecurity could only be based on an article he co-wrote in 2014: Attributing Cyber Attacks, Thomas Rid & Ben Buchanan, Journal of Strategic Studies, 2014. The article mentions Crowdstrike ten times but contains neither a statement of funding nor conflicts of interest statement. It says only: “The authors wish to thank Dmitri Alperovitch, … Several companies provided valuable insights, especially CrowdStrike, FireEye, Kaspersky Lab, and Booz Allen Hamilton.” Now Mr. Rid is the Director of the Alperovitch Institute for Cybersecurity Studies, funded and founded by Crowdstrike’s CTO and co-founder CTO Dmitry Alperovitch. The Alperovitch Institute is affiliated with John Hopkins University.

Thoms Rid holds PhD and MA in Social Science. He is not an expert on Russia, the Soviet Union, intelligence, Russian or Soviet Intelligence, GRU, SVR, computer networks, cybersecurity, or anything close. The absence of expertise about Soviet intelligence and GRU is demonstrated by his prior and even later academic publications.

Even assuming the absence of a conflict of interest, Mr. Rid’s opinion was a regurgitation of the talking points of Crowdstrike rather than an independent opinion. It was part of the circular referencing, abundant in all aspects of the Russia hoax.

In October 2020, Mr. Rid tacitly supported the censorship of Hunter’s laptop story: “We must treat the Hunter Biden leaks as if they were a foreign intelligence operation — even if they probably aren’t.


In 2016 Thomas Rid was a professor in the Department of War Studies at King’s College, London.

Funnily, the Rid-Buchanan article contains a diagram in the form of the letter Q and calls it a ‘Q Model’: “The Q is designed as a a [sic] map of the attribution process: it allows individuals without a technical background to look at the bird’s-eye view of attribution …

Mr. Rid’s earlier book Cyber War Will Not Take Place (Oxford University Press/Hurst, 2013) might have merits.

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