Todd Bensman currently serves as the Texas-based Senior National Security Fellow for the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), a Washington, D.C. policy institute for which he writes and speaks about the nexus between immigration and national security. He also writes regularly about terrorism-related homeland security matters for The Federalist, PJ Media, and other publications. He serves as a Writing Fellow for the Middle East Forum. He teaches terrorism as an adjunct lecturer for Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. Follow Todd on Twitter @BensmanTodd.
For nearly a decade prior to joining CIS in August 2018, Bensman led counter-terrorism intelligence efforts for the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division and its multi-agency fusion center. Prior to his homeland security work, Bensman worked for 23 years as a journalist, covering national security after 9/11 for major newspapers.
In 2009, Bensman left journalism to enter public service with the Texas Department of Public Safety. As a senior counterterrorism programs specialist, analyst, and manager of an analytical unit, he designed and directed collection operations that fed into the Intelligence Community, prompted or advanced federal counterterrorism investigations, and produced confidential human sources. He routinely briefed senior DPS leadership, state elected leaders and members of Congress about threats related to both domestic and international extremism in Texas. Holding a DHS-sponsored security clearance, Bensman worked frequently with FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces, ICE and its Homeland Security Investigations, the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, the National Targeting Center, DHS Intelligence & Analysis Division, and the National Counterterrorism Center.
Prior to his government service, Bensman worked on staff for The Dallas Morning News, CBS, and Hearst Newspapers, covering the FBI, federal law enforcement and serving on investigative teams. He reported extensively on national security issues after 9/11 and worked in more than 25 countries. As an investigative special projects reporter in Texas, he authored long-form public service stories with emphases on homeland security and counterterrorism efforts. His reporting on migration from Islamic countries and cross-border gun smuggling to cartels earned two National Press Club awards (2008 and 2009), an Inter-American Press Association award, and two Texas Institute of Letters awards. His domestic reporting on corruption and government accountability spurred numerous federal investigations, indictments and convictions.
During the early 1990s, he reported on the Gulf War, to include scud missile attacks and refugee issues, from Israel, Egypt and Jordan. He went on to cover Eastern Europe from Prague, to include armed conflict in Moldova, and spent a year covering warfare in Bosnia, where he provided frequent dispatches from the siege of Sarajevo at the height of hostilities.
Bensman holds an M.A. in Security Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Homeland Defense and Security (2015, Outstanding Thesis designee). He also holds an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Missouri School of Journalism (2009). He holds an undergraduate degree in journalism from Northern Arizona University. In 2017, he completed a 350-hour State of Texas Command College leadership program sponsored by the Texas Department of Public Safety.