Seamus Hughes

Seamus Hughes photo

Seamus Hughes

Deputy Director


Seamus Hughes is the Deputy Director of the Program on Extremism at The George Washington University. Hughes has authored numerous academic reports on extremism in America and published a critically acclaimed book, Homegrown: ISIS in America. He regularly provides commentary to media outlets, including the Washington Postthe Wall Street JournalLos Angeles Times, the Atlantic, CNN, MSNBC, FoxNews, BBC, PBS, and CBS’ 60 Minutes. He has testified before the U.S. Congress on multiple occasions.

In addition to his academic pursuits, Hughes also assists as a New York Times research journalist, working with their D.C. and Investigative Bureaus on a myriad of stories related to the federal court system. In 2022, he was part of a New York Times team that won a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting on law enforcement in America.

Hughes previously worked at the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), serving as a lead staffer on U.S. government efforts to implement a national terrorism prevention strategy. He regularly led engagements with Muslim American communities across the country, provided counsel to civic leaders after high-profile terror-related incidents, and counseled 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 was a key member in multiple far-reaching congressional investigations.

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 Award and two NCTC Director’s Awards for outstanding service. He teaches classes at George Washington University and Georgetown University. 


"Assessing US Domestic Extremism in light of Capitol Riot Investigations," International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT), June 30, 2022.

"A human smuggling ring, a plot to assassinate George W. Bush and an evolving threat," NBC News, June 3, 2022.

"What Does the Seditious Conspiracy Indictment Mean For the Oath Keepers?Lawfare, January 21, 2022.

"Afghanistan and American Jihadists: More Inspiration, Less Destination," Lawfare, October 27, 2021.

"A Sea Change in Counterterrorism," Lawfare, June 13, 2021.

"American counterterrorism cannot be an either/or proposition," The Hill, May 25, 2021.

"An Assessment of the U.S. Government’s Domestic Terrorism Assessment," Lawfare, May 24, 2021.

"The U.S. government can do more to fight domestic terror without any new laws," The Washington Post, March 2, 2021.

"The Capitol mob's gleeful selfies are easy to mock. They're also a warning sign." The Washington Post, January 19, 2021.

"When Terrorists Plotted a Texas Jailbreak and Other Stories We Almost Missed," The Daily Beast, November 15, 2020.

"‘This case kept me up at night’," Military Times, October 30, 2020.

"Why the FBI had to pretend Hamas wanted to plot with ‘boogaloo boys’," The Washington Post, September 9, 2020.

"Our laws have a problem calling domestic terrorism what it isThe Hill, February 6, 2020.

"The Fractured Terrorism Threat to America," Lawfare, November 10, 2019.

"It's Not Only Iraq and Syria," Lawfare, August 23, 2019.

"Sixteen-Year-Old American Islamic State Fighter Reportedly Captured in Syria," Lawfare, January 9, 2019. 

"The Story of an American Islamic State Member Captured in Syria," Lawfare, January 6, 2019.

"America's Terrorism Problem Doesn't End With Prison- It Might Just Begin There," Lawfare, June 17, 2018.

"Whose Responsibility is it to Confront Terrorism Online?Lawfare, April 27, 2018.

"A New American Leader Rises in ISIS," The Atlantic, January 13, 2018.

"First He Became an American—Then He Joined ISIS," The Atlantic, May 25, 2017.

"To Stop ISIS Recruitment, Focus Offline," Lawfare, August 7, 2016.

"Islamic State is successfully radicalizing Americans. How do we stop them?" Los Angeles Times, May 18, 2016.

Homegrown: ISIS in America, IB Tauris, November 2020.

"The Violent Extremist Threat to Critical Infrastructure in the United States" | The Lawfare Podcast | 10/24/2022

Fears of extremist violence go 'well beyond' January 6 anniversary” | CNN | 1/9/2022

One year on, what do we know about the people who stormed the Capitol?” | Independent | 1/6/2022

Where we are with cases against the accused Capitol rioters” | WTOP News | 1/6/2022

Dominic Pezzola — insurrectionist or misguided misfit? What lawyers will argue” | Rochester Democrat and Chronicle | 1/6/2022

“‘Pain and Scars From That Day Run Deep': Biden, DC Mark 1 Year Since Capitol Insurrection” | NBC 4 | 1/6/2022

Capitol rioter Jenna Ryan speaks out before federal prison sentence” | USA Today | 1/5/2022

Garland vows to hold Jan. 6 perpetrators 'at any level' accountable” | NBC | 1/5/2022

Inside the FBI’s Capitol riot investigation: will the attackers be held accountable?” | The Guardian | 1/4/2022

Inside the Feds’ Hunt for Hundreds of Capitol Riot Fugitives” | Daily Beast | 1/4/2022

January 6: Insurrection Cases to Watch in 2022” | NBC 4 | 1/4/2022

Capitol rioter compares attacks on her to treatment of ‘Jews in Germany’” | NBC | 1/4/2022

TikTok's extremism problem: App recommends jihad, white supremacy and anti-Semitism to teens” | RAW Story | 11/3/2021

Global leaders gather in Pittsburgh this week to discuss the rise in extremist hate, find solutions” | WESA | 10/17/2021

DHS: Extremists used TikTok to promote Jan. 6 violence” | POLITICO | 9/16/2021

Why an ‘uphill battle’ awaits lawmakers investigating Jan. 6 insurrection” | PBS Newshour | 7/27/2021

Questions Linger About Jan. 6 Capitol Riot” | VOA News | 6/4/2021

FBI investigating origin of deadly Capitol riot” | NBC | 4/13/2021

What we know about the Capitol riot investigation one month later” | NBC | 2/8/2021

Global Right-Wing Extremism Networks Are Growing. The U.S. Is Just Now Catching Up.” | ProPublica | 1/22/2021

Heightened security for the Biden inauguration” | CBS | 1/17/2021

American Mom Who Joined IS Sentenced to More Than 6 1/2 Years in Prison” | VOA News | 11/10/2020

American Mom Who Pleaded Guilty to Terrorism Charges Sentenced to 6.5 Years” | PBS | 11/9/2020

The problem with ignoring fighting words from extremists” | West Hartford News | 10/14/2020

U.S. repatriates last Americans from Syria charged with supporting ISIS, Justice Department says” | Washington Post | 10/1/2020

U.S. Struggles to Keep Allies in Fight Against ISIS in Syria” | New York Times | 11/13/2019

These researchers study terrorists. Sometimes, they also stumble across scoops.” | Washington Post | 6/25/2019

‘American Taliban’ John Walker Lindh Released After 17 Years” | Wall Street Journal | 5/23/2019

CIA officer's father to Trump: Please stop release of John Walker Lindh aka 'American Taliban'” | ABC | 5/23/2019

John Walker Lindh, Known as the ‘American Taliban,’ Is Set to Leave Federal Prison This Week” | New York Times | 5/21/2019

Wisconsin Woman Used Hacked Facebook Accounts to Recruit for ISIS, Prosecutors Say” | New York Times | 4/22/2019

How a change in law could lead to more arrests of domestic terrorists” | ABC | 3/26/2019

Arrests in domestic terror probes outpace those inspired by Islamic extremists” | Washington Post | 3/9/2019

The terrorism research center behind the Coast Guard officer scoop” | Columbia Journalism Review | 3/1/2019

Trump administration signals ISIS foreign fighters could be sent to Guantanamo Bay” | ABC | 2/22/2019

2 American Wives of ISIS Militants Want to Return Home” | New York Times | 2/19/2019

American Boy, 16, Caught Fighting for ISIS in Syria, Militia Says” | New York Times | 1/9/2019

American from Texas captured while fighting for ISIS, militia says” | ABC | 1/7/2019

American ISIS Member Caught on Syrian Battlefield, Militia Says” | New York Times | 1/6/2019

Testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Service Committee: Low Cost, High Impact: Combatting the Financing of Lone-Wolf and Small-Scale Terrorist Attacks, September 6, 2017

Testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform: Combatting Homegrown Terrorism, July 27, 2017

Testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee: Allies Under Attack: The Terrorist Threat to Europe, June 27, 2017

Testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee: Countering the Virtual Caliphate, June 23, 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