Todd Bensman is the author of the forthcoming book “America’s Covert Border War: The Untold Story of the Nation’s Battle to Prevent Jihadist Infiltration“, due in February 2021 from Bombardier Books. 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, speaks, and grants media interviews about the nexus between immigration and national security. He has testified before Congress as an expert witness and regularly appears on radio and television outlets. Separately, he writes about homeland security for Homeland Security Today, Townhall, The Federalist, and other publications, and serves as a Writing Fellow for the Middle East Forum. He also teaches terrorism, intelligence analysis, and journalism as a university adjunct lecturer.
For nearly a decade prior to joining CIS in August 2018, Bensman led counterterrorism intelligence for the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division and its multi-agency fusion center. Before his homeland security service, Bensman was a journalist for 23 years, covering national security after 9/11 as a staff writer for major newspapers.
In 2009, Bensman left journalism to join 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 the Intelligence Community, prompted or advanced FBI counterterrorism investigations, and produced confidential human sources.
He routinely briefed DPS leadership, elected leaders and members of Congress about domestic and international threats. Holding a DHS 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 25 countries. As an investigative projects reporter, he authored long-form 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 reporting on corruption 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.