- Deputy Director
Seamus Hughes is the Deputy Director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University. He is an expert on terrorism, homegrown violent extremism, and countering violent extremism (CVE). Hughes has authored numerous reports for the Program including ‘ISIS in America: From Retweets to Raqqa’ and ‘The Threat to the United States from the Islamic State’s Virtual Entrepreneurs.’ He regularly provides commentary to media outlets, including the New York Times, The Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, the Atlantic, CNN, MSNBC, FoxNews, BBC, PBS, and CBS’ 60 Minutes. He has testified before the U.S. Congress on multiple occasions.
Hughes previously worked at the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), serving as a lead staffer on U.S. government efforts to implement a national CVE strategy. He regularly led engagements with Muslim American communities across the country, provided counsel to civic leaders after high-profile terror-related incidents, and met with families of individuals who joined terrorist organizations. Hughes created a groundbreaking intervention program to help steer individuals away from violence through non-law enforcement means, and worked closely with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, Fusion Centers, and U.S. Attorney Offices.
Prior to NCTC, Hughes served as the Senior Counterterrorism Advisor for the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. He organized over a dozen congressional hearings on the threat of homegrown violent extremism, and led fact-finding delegations to the various European and Middle Eastern countries. He authored two reports for the Senate: “A Ticking Time Bomb: Counterterrorism Lessons from the U.S. Government’s Failure to Prevent the Fort Hood Attack” and “Zachary Chesser: A Case Study in Online Islamist Radicalization and Its Meaning for the Threat of Homegrown Terrorism.”
Hughes has authored numerous legislative bills, including sections of the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act and the Special Agent Samuel Hicks Families of Fallen Heroes Act. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland, and a recipient of the National Security Council Outstanding Service Awards and two NCTC Director’s Awards for outstanding service. He teaches classes at George Washington University and Georgetown University.
- "First He Became an American—Then He Joined ISIS," The Atlantic, May 25, 2017
- “The Threat to the United States from the Islamic State’s Virtual Entrepreneurs,” CTC Sentinel, March 9, 2017
- "To Stop ISIS Recruitment, Focus Offline," Lawfare, August 7, 2016
- Testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee: Countering the Virtual Caliphate, June 23, 2016
- "Islamic State is successfully radicalizing Americans. How do we stop them?" Los Angeles Times, May 18, 2016
- Testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security: The Rise of Radicalization: Is the U.S. Government Failing to Counter International and Domestic Terrorism?, July 15, 2015