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Josh Lefkowitz
Chief Executive Officer
Josh Lefkowitz executes the company’s strategic vision to empower organizations with Business Risk Intelligence (BRI). He has worked extensively with authorities to track and analyze terrorist groups. Mr. Lefkowitz also served as a consultant to the FBI’s senior management team and worked for a top tier, global investment bank. Mr. Lefkowitz holds an MBA from Harvard University and a BA from Williams College.
Evan Kohlmann
Chief Innovation Officer
Evan Kohlmann focuses on product innovation at Flashpoint where he leverages fifteen years’ experience tracking Al-Qaida, ISIS, and other terrorist groups. He has consulted for the US Department of Defense, the US Department of Justice, the Australian Federal Police, and Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command, among others. Mr. Kohlmann holds a JD from the Univ. of Pennsylvania Law School and a BSFS in International Politics from the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown Univ.
Josh Devon
Chief Operating Officer / Chief Product Officer
Josh Devon focuses on product vision and strategy at Flashpoint while ensuring the company’s departments function synergistically during its rapid growth. He also works to ensure that customers receive best in class products, services, and support. Previously, Mr. Devon co-founded the SITE Intelligence Group where he served as Assistant Director. He holds an MA from SAIS at Johns Hopkins Univ. At the Univ. of Pennsylvania, he received a BS in Economics from the Wharton School and a BA in English from the College of Arts and Sciences.
Chris Camacho
Chief Strategy Officer
Chris Camacho leads the company’s sales and client engagement & development teams, which also includes customer success, solution architecture, business development, strategic integrations, and the FPCollab sharing community. With over 15 years of cybersecurity leadership experience, he has spearheaded initiatives across Operational Strategy, Incident Response, Threat Management, and Security Operations to ensure cyber risk postures align with business goals. Most recently as a Senior Vice President of Information Security at Bank of America, Mr. Camacho was responsible for overseeing the Threat Management Program. An entrepreneur, Mr. Camacho also serves as CEO for NinjaJobs: a career-matching community for elite cybersecurity talent. He has a BS in Decision Sciences & Management of Information Systems from George Mason University.
Lisa Iadanza
Chief People Officer
Lisa M. Iadanza leads all functional areas of People Operations at Flashpoint, including human resources, talent acquisition & management, employee engagement, and developing high performance teams. In addition to collaborating with the executive team to drive strategic growth, she plays an integral role in fostering Flashpoint’s culture and mission. Driven by her passions for mentorship, employee advocacy, and talent development, Ms. Iadanza has more than twenty years of experience in building, scaling, and leading human resources functions. Prior to Flashpoint, she held leadership roles at Conde Nast, Terra Technology, and FreeWheel. She is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and holds a bachelor’s degree in management with concentrations in human resources and marketing from State University of New York at Binghamton.
Rob Reznick
SVP of Finance and Corporate Development
Rob Reznick leads the finance, accounting, and corporate development teams at Flashpoint. Rob previously served as Director of Finance & Accounting for 1010data (acquired by Advance/Newhouse), and Director of Finance for Financial Guard (acquired by Legg Mason) after prior work in forensic accounting and dispute consulting. Mr. Reznick is a Certified Public Accountant and holds an MBA and MAcc from the Fisher College of Business at the Ohio State University, and a BBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.
Tom Hofmann
SVP Intelligence
Tom Hofmann leads the intelligence directorate that is responsible for the collection, analysis, production, and dissemination of Deep and Dark Web data. He works closely with clients to prioritize their intelligence requirements and ensures internal Flashpoint operations are aligned to those needs. Mr. Hofmann has been at the forefront of cyber intelligence operations in the commercial, government, and military sectors, and is renowned for his ability to drive effective intelligence operations to support offensive and defensive network operations.
Jake Wells
SVP Solutions Architecture
Jake Wells leads strategic integrations and information sharing as part of the client engagement & development team, which serves as an internal advocate for our government and commercial clients to ensure Flashpoint’s intelligence solutions meet their evolving needs. He leverages a decade of experience running cyber and counterterrorism investigations, most recently with the NYPD Intelligence Bureau, to maximize the value customers generate from our products and services. Mr. Wells holds an MA from Columbia University and a BA from Emory University.
Brian Brown
SVP Business Development
Brian Brown is responsible for the overall direction of strategic sales and development supporting Flashpoint’s largest clients. In his role, Mr. Brown focuses on designing and executing growth-oriented sales penetration strategies across multiple vertical markets, including both Government and Commercial, supporting Flashpoint’s Sales and Business Development Teams. An experienced entrepreneur, Mr. Brown also serves as CSO for NinjaJobs, a private community created to match elite cybersecurity talent with top tier global jobs and also advise growth-stage cybersecurity companies.
Justin Rogers
VP Marketing and Revenue Operations
Justin Rogers leads the Marketing and Revenue Operations teams at Flashpoint, aligning marketing, sales, partnerships, and customer success across vision, planning, process, and goals. He leverages over 15 years of experience in security, strategy, product design, and implementation to drive growth, provide an end-to-end view of the customer journey, and a seamless customer experience. Recently, Justin led Marketing for Centripetal, bringing the first Threat Intelligence Gateway to market. Previously, he managed operations of a Counter IED lab electronics forensics division while forward deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Justin holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of New Hampshire.
Peter Partyka
VP Engineering
Peter Partyka leads Flashpoint’s engineering teams. Peter previously worked in the quantitative hedge fund space in New York City, implementing security and administrative solutions around proprietary trading platforms, high-availability cloud deployments, and hardening of applications and infrastructure. Peter leverages more than 16 years of experience in technology specializing in application security, red-teaming, penetration testing, exploit development, as well as blue-teaming. Peter has a long track record of managing tech teams and implementing engineering security best practices. Recently Peter led Flashpoint toward GDPR and CCPA compliance and has been a key architect of Flashpoint’s robust compliance programs. Peter has taught advanced cybersecurity courses at New York University and consulted at various tech startups during his career.
Glenn Lemons
Executive Director of Customer Success
Glenn Lemons is a Executive Director of Customer Success at Flashpoint. He previously served as the acting Director of Citigroup's Cyber Intelligence Center where he was responsible for analyzing and reacting to intelligence from a variety of threats. These threats ranged from fraudulent activity and attempting to defraud Citi's clients to supporting security operations for the firm's worldwide network presence. He has extensive experience working with multiple clients across the financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, and public sectors. Glenn also has more than 26 years of intelligence experience within the operational and support communities in the U.S. military and federal civilian service; seven of which focused on both defensive and offensive cyber operations. While working for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, he testified numerous times before U.S. Congressional committees and member requested open and closed sessions.
Matthew Howell
VP of Product
Matthew Howell leads the Product Management and Product Marketing teams for Flashpoint. He is responsible for developing a strong team that drives product adoption and user engagement through outcome based prioritization, continuous process improvement, and metrics driven development. Matthew brings a passion for diverse ideas, experience launching B2B SaaS products, building integration ecosystems, supporting five 9s SLAs, and leading distributed teams. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Virginia
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Steve Leightell
Steve started his career in Internet sales in the early 1990s and was always a top sales rep before transitioning to business development. By the early 2000s, he was the Director of Business Development at DWL, where he managed a team that built partnerships with Accenture, Oracle, Tata Consulting, Wipro, Cognizant and IBM. Steve designed the channel and strategy that ultimately culminated in the acquisition of DWL by IBM in 2005. He went on to lead a global team within IBM that was responsible for major system integrator partnerships. In 2008, he left IBM to found a niche consulting firm focused on business development for SaaS organizations. Steve holds a BA in anthropology and sociology from Carleton University in Ottawa.
Ellie Wheeler
Ellie Wheeler is a Partner at Greycroft and is based in the firm’s New York office. Prior to joining Greycroft, Ellie worked in a similar role evaluating investment opportunities at Lowercase Capital. Ellie also worked at Cisco in Corporate Development doing acquisitions, investments, and strategy within the unified communications, enterprise software, mobile, and video sectors. While at Cisco, she was involved in multiple acquisitions and investments, including PostPath, Jabber, Xobni, and Tandberg. She began her career in growth capital private equity at Summit Partners in Boston. Ellie graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University with a BA in Psychology and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Glenn McGonnigle
Glenn McGonnigle is a General Partner at TechOperators. Prior to launching TechOperators in 2008, Glenn was CEO of VistaScape Security Systems, a venture-backed provider of enterprise intelligent video surveillance software. He lead the company through its successful sale to Siemens Building Technologies. Previously, Glenn was a co-founder and senior executive of Atlanta-based Internet Security Systems (ISS) where he helped raise initial venture capital and launch the business. For 7 years, he led the business development team in developing sales channels and entering the managed security services market. During his tenure, the company grew from startup to revenues of over $225 million and was later acquired by IBM for $1.3 billion.
Brendan Hannigan
Brendan joined Polaris Partners in 2016 as an entrepreneur partner. In this role, he focuses on funding and founding companies in the technology sector with a concentration in cloud, analytics, and cybersecurity. Brendan is a co-founder of Sonrai Security and chairman of Twistlock, both Polaris investments. He also currently serves on the board of Bitsight Technologies and Flashpoint. A 25 year technology industry veteran, Brendan was most recently the general manager of IBM Security. Under Brendan’s leadership, IBM Security grew significantly faster than the overall security market to become the number one enterprise security provider in the world with almost $2B of annual revenue.
Matt Devost
Currently, Devost serves as CEO & Co-Founder of OODA LLC as well as a review board member for Black Hat. In 2010, he co-founded the cybersecurity consultancy FusionX LLC which was acquired by Accenture in August 2015, where he went on to lead Accenture's Global Cyber Defense practice. Devost also founded the Terrorism Research Center in 1996 where he served as President and CEO until November 2008 and held founding or leadership roles at iDefense, iSIGHT Partners, Total Intel, SDI, Tulco Holdings, and Technical Defense.
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The Beirut Port Explosion: Analysis of Potential Causes

Blog
August 14, 2020

By Evan Kohlmann

In the hours and days following the massive August 4th explosion at the port in central Beirut that caused over 200 deaths and inflicted billions of dollars in economic damage, there have been persistent questions regarding the cause of the twin blasts. The three most plausible immediate scenarios that emerged were: 1.) An airstrike (most likely by Israel) targeting Lebanese Hezbollah and/or Iranian assets in Beirut; 2.) An explosion in a hidden Hezbollah arms cache (whether through an airstrike or other cause) secreted at the port; and, 3.) A purely accidental explosion due to human negligence with no connection to military weapons or international terrorism.


Creator: Hussein Malla | Credit: AP

An Israeli Airstrike?

• The theory of Israeli involvement in the Beirut Port explosion was largely predicated on the heightened tensions between Israel and Hezbollah following a recent Israeli missile strike near Damascus International Airport. While there has been talk of a potential outbreak of hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah for months, tensions peaked in the wake of the July 20 missile strike that killed a Hezbollah operative, Ali Kamel Mohsen. 

• Though the death of Mohsen does not appear to have been deliberate, his killing was seen as a violation of the unstated status quo between Israel and Hezbollah and thus Hezbollah was widely expected to retaliate. At least one reported skirmish subsequently took place on the Israeli-Lebanese border (although this was officially denied by Hezbollah). Israel also reportedly sent a letter to Hezbollah through third parties warning the group not to attempt to retaliate.

• In the 36 hour period leading up to the Beirut explosion, as many as 22 or more Israeli reconnaissance drones and manned aircraft were reported by the Lebanese military to have been circling Beirut and over various areas of southern Lebanon.

• Nonetheless, there has been no evidence of any Israeli air strike or missile strike that has been publicly recovered or identified in the wake of the incident. Images being spread on social media that appear to show Israeli aircraft flying over the major explosion as it occurred or an Israeli missile gliding along a Beirut street towards the port have all been debunked as false. Neither Hezbollah nor Iran have seriously claimed that Israel carried out an airstrike, even though such a claim would likely be in their interests given the devastating outcome. While there was a significant level of activity by the Israeli Air Force in Lebanese airspace around the time of the blasts, this level of activity has been heightened since July 20 and there was no obvious increase specific to the day of August 4.

• In a published “Fact Check”, Reuters has shot down rumors of Israeli involvement, noting “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not claim that the explosion in Beirut was due to an Israeli drone attack. Israeli officials have said Israel had nothing to do with the incident.”

An Explosion in a Hezbollah Arms Cache?

• Lebanese Hezbollah is known to have been working with its allies Iran and Syria for years in attempts to import sophisticated surface-to-surface rockets and other longer range weapons to threaten Israel. In turn, Israel has repeatedly targeted these stockpiles as they are transported from Iran to Lebanon (what is suspected to have happened with regards to the July 20 attack near Damascus International Airport). Similarly, there have been media reports over the past two years claiming that Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport is also being used as “a smuggling point for Hezbollah.” Hezbollah must store its weapons stockpiles in camouflaged locations that are unlikely to be targeted by the Israeli military–for reasons that include the potential for undesirable collateral damage.

• Iranian rockets and missiles are not particularly known for their high quality, sophistication, or stability–and even without Israeli missile strikes to worry about, transporting and storing them is an inherently dangerous risk. This causal theory suggests that–whether due to the purposeful intervention of the Israeli military or simply the result of an accidental ignition–a Hezbollah weapons cache hidden in (or under) the port suddenly exploded on August 4.

• In a published “Fact Check”, Reuters has shot down claims that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu previously identified the Beirut Port as a suspected Hezbollah missile site: “The posts all reference a speech made by Netanyahu at the U.N. General Assembly in 2018, in which he used a map to point to three Beirut locations close to the international airport where he said there were missile sites belonging to the armed, Iranian-backed Shi’ite group Hezbollah… The areas that Netanyahu points to during his speech are around Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport, which is at least 5 miles (8 km) south of the blast site.”

• Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has strongly denied any involvement in the Beirut Port explosion and has demanded an objective investigation to establish the causes. In a speech broadcast by Hezbollah’s official Al-Manar TV, Nasrallah vowed, “I declare and confirm categorically that there is nothing of ours at the port, no weapons stores, no rockets, no guns, no bombs, no bullets, no nitrates–neither currently, nor in the past, nor in the future and the ongoing investigation will prove it.” He added, “We don’t run the port and we don’t know what’s in the harbor. Hezbollah is responsible for the real resistance, Hezbollah is knowledgeable about the Haifa Port in Occupied Palestine and not the Beirut Port.”

• The Lebanese military has likewise issued statements “categorically denying… news reports alleging that there are tunnels under the blast site at the [Beirut] port belonging to” Lebanese Hezbollah–and also rejecting media reports suggesting that Hezbollah fighters were deployed to the Beirut Port in the wake of the explosion to recover or hide potential evidence.

An Accidental Explosion Due to Negligence?

• The theory of negligence by government and port officials in the twin blasts is predicated on a shipment of 2750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate that first arrived in Beirut in 2013 on a Russian-owned transport ship named the MV Rhosus. The Rhosus was reportedly destined for Mozambique, but was forced to halt in Beirut when the owner declared bankruptcy.

• As described by Reuters, ammonium nitrate is “an industrial chemical commonly used in fertilisers and as an explosive for quarrying and mining. It is considered relatively safe if uncontaminated and stored properly. But it is extremely dangerous if contaminated, mixed with fuel or stored unsafely. A large quantity of ammonium nitrate exposed to intense heat can explode. Storing the chemical near large fuel tanks, in bulk and in a poorly ventilated facility could cause a massive blast. The larger the quantity, the greater the risk it will detonate.”

• Lebanese Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad Najd has stated there are papers and documents dating back to 2014 proving the existence of the “material” confiscated by Lebanese authorities from the MV Rhosus and stored at the Beirut Port. A 2016 letter from the Lebanese Customs Chief to the case judge responsible for determining the fate of the Rhosus and its cargo warned, “Due to the extreme danger posed by this stored items in unsuitable climate conditions, we reiterate our request to the Port Authorities to re-export the goods immediately to maintain the safety of the port and those working in it.” Journalists from CNN were able to reach the Mozambican explosives company who initially ordered the shipment of ammonium nitrate–and who responded, “We can confirm that yes, we did order it.”

• According to the New York Times and other news agencies, the U.S. embassy in Lebanon has recently dispatched a cable listing the Lebanese officials who were aware of the existence of the ammonium nitrate “which arrived in Beirut in 2013 and was unloaded into a port hangar the next year. The cable then says that an American security consultant hired by the U.S. military spotted the chemicals during a safety inspection… The cable said that the adviser ‘conveyed that he had conducted a port facility inspection on security measures during which he reported to port officials on the unsafe storage of the ammonium nitrate.’” 

• Reuters spoke with several explosives experts who commented on aspects of the Beirut blasts and what they could be indicative of. Stewart Walker from the School of Forensic, Environmental and Analytical Chemistry at Flinders University noted, “Video footage of the incident shows initial white-grey smoke followed by an explosion that released a large cloud of red-brown smoke and a large white mushroom cloud. These indicate that the gases released are white ammonium nitrate fumes, toxic, red/brown nitrous oxide and water.” He added, “If you make ammonium nitrate explosive, you shouldn’t get that brown plume. That tells me the oxygen balance was not correct – so it wasn’t mixed as an explosive… The Beirut blast looks like an accident, unless it was arson.”


Creator: Hussein Malla | Credit: AP

Based on the above information and analysis, it is a near certainty that the second larger explosion that took place at the Beirut Port was caused by the ignition of the 2750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate seized by Lebanese Customs officials from the MV Rhosus. It is also reasonably clear that the explosives did not originate from Hezbollah or Iran, they were not destined for Hezbollah or other Iranian assets, they were not hidden in a secret location at the port, and their existence was no mystery to Lebanese officials. As noted by Stewart Walker in his comments to Reuters, the slim remaining possibility of deliberate action here relates to the first smaller blast that eventually sparked the abandoned ammonium nitrate shipment. Yet, given the absence of any identifiable evidence of an Israeli missile strike or Hezbollah weapons being stored at the Beirut Port–and the strong denials from all the potential parties involved (including the Lebanese military)–it appears highly likely that the Beirut Port explosion was accidental and the result of regrettable human negligence.

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