National Security Experts


Vincent Cannistraro

Biography provided by participant

Former CIA counter-terrorism chief and 27 year CIA veteran, Vincent M. Cannistraro has extensive, first-hand experience in international security issues. In his professional career as a clandestine CIA officer, Cannistraro served in a variety of foreign posts in the Middle East, Africa and Europe. In this capacity, he gained invaluable experience in foreign intelligence collection and counter-terrorism. In addition to his work with the CIA, Cannistraro served as Director for Intelligence Programs at the National Security Council under President Reagan, where he monitored the US intelligence community budget, coordinated the interagency approval process for covert action, and chaired the Afghanistan Working Group at the White House. He later worked under the Department of Defense, where he was Special Assistant for Intelligence in the office of the Secretary of Defense. Maintaining extensive high-level contacts in the Middle East, Cannistraro is a recognized expert on political violence and national security issues and has been a consultant to the Vatican on security affairs. He previously worked as a consultant on intelligence and terrorism for ABC World News and arranged the 1998 ABC interview with Usama bin Laden through his contacts in the Middle East. Cannistraro has published a number of articles in major American and European media on international security matters. He lectures at universities and government seminars, and has conducted international conferences on terrorism issues. In recognition of his expertise and exemplary work, Cannistraro was awarded the Secretary of Defense's Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service, as well as the CIA Medal for Distinguished Service.

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