ISD United States

One of the world's most dynamic societies, the United States feeds the technological revolution - and is also challenged by it

For more than 15 years, ISD has partnered with academic, private and public sector partners in the United States to provide insights and solutions to extremism, disinformation and hate. Today, our work in the US has expanded and we have a permanent office in Washington DC with staff stationed across the country.

ISD’s growing team in the US works with our partners to detect and mitigate threats, protect America’s democratic institutions, build capacity for locally-led violence prevention interventions and drive policy change.

Our work
Our US-based work is rooted in the unique social, cultural, economic and legislative environment that exists in the country. Our projects rely on strong partnerships, online research and practical outreach.

Detecting and mitigating threats

ISD has been a longstanding leader addressing global and domestic threats across the hybridized landscape. In 2015, ISD helped stage the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, directly advising then President Barack Obama and his counter-terrorism team. ISD has continued this work, advising decision makers from the White House, the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies on evolving threats both on- and offline.

ISD’s partnership with the Center for Internet Security provides real-time intelligence to thousands of law enforcement officials on dynamic threats and regular updates on the evolving risks posed by disinformation and extremist organizations.

Protecting our democracy and targeted communities

With America’s democracy increasingly under attack by a range of actors, ISD has taken the lead in providing regular threat detection, training and insights to groups on the front line of protecting elections and democracy. ISD's US team works with election officials at the state and local level, and directly briefs officials at the White House, the Department of Homeland Security, and Congress on these threats to help shape their responses.

In 2022, our elections team conducted daily monitoring of online disinformation and potential threats to election officials, election infrastructure like drop boxes and polling places, and even regular voters looking to participate in democracy. These monitoring reports were shared weekly in key states with governors, secretaries of state, local election officials, and others tasked with ensuring a free and fair vote.

In response to a rise in antisemitism throughout the US, ISD has developed a data analytics system to identify and track online threats against Jewish institutions. This capability, a combination of advanced big data analytics (NLP and machine learning systems trained to the issue set by experts) and human intelligence, can be adapted and applied to other communities increasingly threatened by extremist groups and actors.

Building capacity for community-based violence prevention

The Strong Cities Network (SCN) launched in 2015 at the UN General Assembly to mount a city-led response against hate, polarization and extremism. In the US, SCN facilitates partnerships between member cities including New York, Los Angeles and Denver to design and deploy local responses to these complex challenges, ensuring no city faces these threats alone. Our government partners include Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and the US, with additional engagement supported or commissioned by individual members of our network of over 160 cities. 

Additionally, through our partnership with the McCain Institute, ISD's US team is training and building the first US network of frontline practitioners, equipped to recognize and respond to domestic extremist threats. The content for this training has been developed by ISD and builds on work done around the world to support frontline practitioners with the capacity and tools to address local threats. The network has now trained nearly 1000 practitioners, including social and healthcare workers, education providers and law enforcement. 

ISD has also worked with the US State Department and the first Special Representative to Muslim Communities, Farah Pandith, to connect and empower Muslim changemakers from across Europe and North America.  

 

WaE Summit

Sasha Havlicek leading the opening session of the 2022 Eradicate Hate Global Summit in Pittsburgh.

Draper Venture Network

Head of Digital Integrity and Elections, Jiore Craig, spoke to CNN ahead of the 2022 US midterms

ISD at the White House

Sasha Havlicek meeting US President Barack Obama, Washington DC, 2015

ISD US in the media

The ISD US team

Dixon Osburn
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Dixon Osburn

Executive Director, ISD US

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Dixon Osburn
Dixon Osburn

Executive Director, ISD US

Dixon Osburn is the Executive Director of ISD, United States. He has served in non-governmental organizations for three decades addressing diverse issues in domestic and international human rights, security and democracy. Dixon co-founded Servicemembers Legal Defense Network that led the successful effort to repeal "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell." At Human Rights First, he directed its Law & Security program leading efforts to close Guantánamo, end torture and regulate drones. As Executive Director at the Center for Justice and Accountability, Dixon led efforts to hold accountable international war criminals, including the Syrian regime and Khmer Rouge. Dixon served as a Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. He is author of Mission Possible: The Story of Repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell. He currently serves as an HFX Fellow with the Halifax International Security Forum. Dixon has testified before Congress and been widely quoted in the press. He received his JD/MBA from Georgetown University and his AB with distinction from Stanford University. 
Arabella Phillimore
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Arabella Phillimore

Managing Director

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Arabella Phillimore
Arabella Phillimore

Managing Director

Arabella Phillimore is Managing Director of ISD, with responsibility for the portfolio of research, policy advisory and programming.  As part of the Executive Leadership team, she is responsible for building and overseeing the knowledge sharing, quality control and communications capability within and outside of the organisation. Arabella has over 20 years’ experience working for non-profit organisations, governments and international organisations in the UK and abroad. Previous roles include COO, then Strategic Director of UK-based negotiation NGO Inter Mediate– which she helped establish–, and Specialist Policy Advisor at the UK Foreign Office. Arabella has a policy, strategic planning and communications background and in addition to her negotiation work she has worked as a Leader writer at the Financial Times, and at the UN as both a political officer for the Department of Peacekeeping in Afghanistan, and a communications and advocacy officer for UNICEF in India.  Arabella holds a BA in Modern Languages from New College, Oxford University, and an MA in International Relations and Economics from SAIS, Johns Hopkins University. She additionally was awarded a UNITAR/IPI Fellowship in Mediation and Negotiation Skills and is a Founding Trustee of UNHCR’s UK fundraising charity, UK for UNCHR.
Jiore Craig
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Jiore Craig

Resident Senior Fellow, Digital Integrity

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Jiore Craig
Jiore Craig

Resident Senior Fellow, Digital Integrity

Jiore Craig is a Resident Senior Fellow at ISD with focus on Digital Integrity. Her work focuses on safeguarding democracy globally and the wider impact of online harms on society. Jiore advises global leaders on mitigating online harms including work to advance tech policy reform and tech accountability at a global scale. She has extensive international experience, previously spending eight years helping elected officials, political leaders, media organizations, academic institutions and civic society organizations across five continents to research, measure, and effectively mitigate the impact of disinformation and influence operations on public opinion and elections. She previously built a digital research and communications practice serving Europe, Asia, Africa, South and Central America, and the US at a global political consulting firm. Jiore’s work informed the design of major coalition efforts to counter disinformation in the 2020 US and 2019 European Parliament elections. In 2022, Jiore testified for the U.S. Congressional House Administration Elections Subcommittee Hearing on “A Growing Threat: Foreign and Domestic Sources of Disinformation”. She is a member of Issue One’s Council for Responsible Social Media. Her work is cited in The Washington Post, New York Magazine, The L.A. Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and she has been a featured guest in election broadcast programs around the world, including the podcast Pod Save America.
Jacob Davey
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Jacob Davey

Director of Research & Policy, Far-right and Hate Movements

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Jacob Davey
Jacob Davey

Director of Research & Policy, Far-right and Hate Movements

Jacob Davey is the Director of Research & Policy for Far-right and Hate Movements at ISD. Jacob has managed projects focusing on online hate speech, the international far-right and political violence. He has led a number of projects piloting novel models for identifying extremist conversation and hate speech online, including analysis tracking hate groups in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia, and is currently leading a major programme of work mitigating hate threats in the US. He has advised national and local policymakers on right-wing extremism, including the Home Affairs Select Committee and the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament. Jacob has managed and co-authored numerous ISD reports including Between Conspiracy and Extremism: A Long COVID Threat?, ISD’s Gaming and Extremism Series, and A Safe Space to Hate: White Supremacist Mobilisation on Telegram.
Katherine Keneally
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Katherine Keneally

Director of Threat Analysis and Prevention, ISD US

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Katherine Keneally
Katherine Keneally

Director of Threat Analysis and Prevention, ISD US

Katherine is the Director of Threat Analysis and Prevention, ISD US. Katherine leads the strategic thinking and projects that track online to offline threats of political violence across the ideological spectrum at the intersection of extremism, hate and disinformation in the US. She additionally advises civil society, law enforcement and government stakeholders on political violence detection, prevention and rapid response. She has been a guest on BBC and CSPAN, and her work has been referenced in The New York Times, Salon and The Hill.

Prior to joining ISD, Katherine consulted and led research for the US government related to human trafficking and hostage taking. She also was an Intelligence Research Specialist at the NYPD Intelligence Bureau's Racially/Ethnically Motivated Extremism Unit ("REME") where she supported terrorism investigations and tactical and strategic research related to individuals and groups affiliated with politically- and ethnically-motivated, as well as single-issue, extremist ideologies. Katherine has a Master of Arts Degree in Security Studies from Georgetown University, and a Bachelor of Science in Political Studies and History from Rocky Mountain College.
Melanie Smith
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Melanie Smith

Director of Research, ISD US

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Melanie Smith
Melanie Smith

Director of Research, ISD US

Melanie Smith is the Director of Research for ISD US. Based in Washington DC, she leads a team of analysts focused on detecting, exposing and mitigating the threats associated with online information operations. Melanie was previously the Director of Analysis at the network analytics firm Graphika, re-joining ISD in 2021 to expand the organization’s research portfolio in the US. Her recent work has focused on topics like state-backed influence campaigns, public health misinformation and election-related violence.
Jared Holt
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Jared Holt

Senior Research Analyst, ISD US

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Jared Holt
Jared Holt

Senior Research Analyst, ISD US

Jared Holt is Senior Research Analyst at ISD, working on the topics of hate and extremism in the United States. He has authored definitive research and investigative reports scrutinising the overlap between technology and US political extremism. Jared frequently provides expert commentary and analysis to national media outlets and policymakers, helping to educate public audiences and institutions about the subject matters he examines. Prior to joining ISD, he worked at The Atlantic Council's DFRLab, Right Wing Watch and Media Matters for America. His journalism work has been published in national outlets including The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Columbia Journalism Review, HuffPost and GEN Magazine. He is based in Chicago.
Jordan Reimer
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Jordan Reimer

Senior Manager for North America, Strong Cities Network

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Jordan Reimer
Jordan Reimer

Senior Manager for North America, Strong Cities Network

Jordan Reimer is the Senior Manager for North America at the Strong Cities Network, responsible for managing prevention programming in the United States and Canada, and assisting in the development of local prevention frameworks and the provision of capacity-building efforts. Prior to joining the Strong Cities Management Unit, Jordan was the ISD Senior Manager for Threat Prevention, where he managed projects related to targeted violence detection and built relationships with relevant stakeholders to share information on salient threats. He has also served as a policy analyst at RAND, focusing on targeted violence prevention and countering disinformation; an intelligence analyst for the NYPD, specializing in counter-terrorism investigations related to the Syrian civil war and the foreign fighter threat; and a Middle East policymaker at the US State Department and Department of Defense. He is a recipient of Princeton’s Scholars in the Nation’s Service Initiative fellowship and has a Master's in Public Affairs (International Relations) from the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.
Kevin D. Reyes
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Kevin D. Reyes

Senior OSINT Specialist, ISD US

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Kevin D. Reyes
Kevin D. Reyes

Senior OSINT Specialist, ISD US

Kevin D. Reyes is a Senior OSINT Specialist at ISD, where he leads methodology for open-source investigations and researches online hate, extremism, conspiracy theories, and disinformation. He also teaches open-source investigations as an adjunct instructor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. 

A recognized digital investigator, Kevin was previously director of research and intelligence at a consulting firm, where he conducted and managed hundreds of open-source and undercover investigations into illicit trade and transnational crime for Fortune 500 clients. Some of these investigations led to landmark civil cases as well as criminal prosecution by agencies within the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, among others. He also worked in law library management at several law schools, and in international criminal law research at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights in Washington DC and at the Human Rights Center at UC Berkeley School of Law. 

Reyes is highly engaged in the development of the OSINT field. While at Berkeley's Human Rights Center in 2016, he helped launch the first university-based, open-source investigations lab of its kind to discover and verify human rights violations and potential war crimes. He was consulting editor of Digital Witness: Using Open Source Information for Human Rights Investigation, Documentation, and Accountability (Oxford University Press, 2020), the first book of its kind to teach the methods and best-practice of open-source research featuring contributions from other leaders in the field. He contributed to early work that led to the Berkeley Protocol on Digital Open Source Investigations (2022), the first-ever manual on the effective use of open-source information in international criminal and human rights investigations, published by the United Nations. 

Kevin is a first-generation graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. His research and expertise have also been showcased in a variety of media outlets including ABC News, the Hill, Politico, Politifact, VICE, and NHK.
Lucy Cooper
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Lucy Cooper

Digital Research Analyst, ISD US

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Lucy Cooper
Lucy Cooper

Digital Research Analyst, ISD US

Lucy Cooper is a Digital Research Analyst at ISD US. Lucy holds a BA in political science from Barnard College of Columbia University, where she focused on political behavior, voting and elections in the United States. She has previously worked on political campaigns in Michigan and as a research assistant.
Sabine Lawrence
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Sabine Lawrence

Digital Research Analyst, ISD US

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Sabine Lawrence
Sabine Lawrence

Digital Research Analyst, ISD US

Sabine Lawrence (she/they) is a Digital Research Analyst at ISD US, where she researches online hate, extremism and disinformation in the US. Prior to joining ISD, Sabine worked for Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research as a Digital Research Associate tracking disinformation narratives during the 2020 election and Fors Marsh Group fighting COVID-19 disinformation. Sabine holds a BSc in Anthropology from Virginia Commonwealth University School of World Studies, where she wrote her thesis on the philosophy and social dynamics of involuntarily celibate (incel) communities.
Valeria de la Fuente
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Valeria de la Fuente

Press and Public Relations Coordinator, ISD US

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Valeria de la Fuente
Valeria de la Fuente

Press and Public Relations Coordinator, ISD US

Valeria de la Fuente is a Press and Public Relations Coordinator at ISD US. She manages our media relations and outreach to ensure ISD’s work continues to raise awareness and drive the discussion around extremism, hate, and disinformation. Before joining ISD, Valeria was a research assistant at the Program on Extremism, where she focused on violent extremist movements and trends across the US. She also worked at the Washington Institute for the Near East Policy on the Israeli-Arab relations portfolio and was as a helpline assistant at Parents for Peace assisting in counter-radicalization interventions. She holds an M.A. in Security Studies from Georgetown University and a B.A. in Criminology from the University of Seville. 
Anita Lancaster
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Anita Lancaster

Finance Coordinator, ISD US

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Anita Lancaster
Anita Lancaster

Finance Coordinator, ISD US

Anita Lancaster is the Finance Coordinator at ISD US, providing support for expense processing across the US team and related projects. Prior to joining ISD US, she served in Finance and HR executive roles for educational and community non-profit organizations for over 15 years. She has a Master’s degree in Finance & Accounting from Pepperdine University in California; and a Bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California in Accounting. Anita also has a Chief Business Official certification from USC/CASBO.