Combating Terrorism Center Westpoint


Paul Cruickshank

Senior Counter Terrorism Advisor

Paul Cruickshank is CNN's Terrorism Analyst and the Editor-in-Chief of CTC Sentinel, the flagship publication of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.  


As CNN's longtime on-air Terrorism Analyst, Cruickshank has played a central role in the network's coverage and reporting on al-Qaeda and ISIS terrorism. He was part of the CNN reporting team that covered the 2005 London bombings and has covered almost every other major terrorism story since. As the editor-in-chief of CTC Sentinel since 2015 Cruickshank has overseen one of the most prestigious publications in the terrorism studies field which each month features articles by the world's leading counter-terrorism researchers and interviews with senior counter-terrorism officials, including the directors of the CIA, the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center and Europol. 

Cruickshank is the senior counter-terrorism advisor to The Unity Initiative, a specialist intervention consultancy. Cruickshank has worked in this role voluntarily for almost a decade and played a vital part in The Unity Initiative. His work with The Unity Initiative has seen Cruikshank deal directly with convicted Terrorists and enter into insular communities to dynamically research and advise.

Cruickshank is the co-author of the critically acclaimed 2018 book "Nine Lives: My Time as MI6's Top Spy Inside al-Qaeda" which was described by a former head of Counter Terrorism Command at New Scotland Yard as "seminal" and "one of the most extraordinary books about al Qaeda ever published." He is also the co-author of the 2014 international bestseller "Agent Storm: My Life Inside al Qaeda and the CIA" which has been translated into a dozen languages and was named by the Guardian as one of the ten best spy books of all time and "probably the best account of a modern day secret agent." He edited “Al Qaeda” a five volume collection of critical writings on the terrorist network published by Routledge in 2012, which was described by a leading terrorism studies journal as “monumental … to date the most comprehensive resource published on the terrorist organization and its worldwide affiliates.”


Cruickshank’s research and writings have appeared in a wide variety of publications, including CTC Sentinel, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, and leading newspapers and magazines on both sides of the Atlantic. He has participated in numerous conferences around the world and has contributed chapters to several academic publications in the field of counter-terrorism. He has also co-produced and produced several award winning U.S. television documentaries. 


He is also a member of the Advisory Committee of the Centre D'Analyse du Terrorisme in Paris. 


Cruickshank has degrees from Cambridge University and Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Between 2006 and 2009 he was a research fellow at the Center on Law and Security at the New York University School of Law. He has also worked at the European Parliament in Brussels and the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC.