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Bruce Riedel

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Citizenship  American
Name  Bruce Riedel
Role  Author

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Born  1953 (age 61–62)Queens, New York, USA
Alma mater  Brown University Harvard University Royal College of Defence Studies
Occupation  Academian, counter-terrorism expert, and author
Education  Brown University, Harvard University
Books  Deadly Embrace: Pakistan, The search for al Qaeda, Avoiding Armageddon: America - I

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Bruce O. Riedel (born 1953) is an American expert on U.S. security, South Asia, and counter-terrorism. He is currently a senior fellow in the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, and a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He also serves as a senior adviser at Albright Stonebridge Group.


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Riedel, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) analyst and counter-terrorism expert, served in the Agency for 29 years until his retirement in 2006. He has advised four presidents on Middle East and South Asian issues in the White House on the staff of the National Security Council (NSC).

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He is a contributor to several periodicals and an author of books examining topics related to his areas of expertise — counter-terrorism, Arab-Israeli relations, Persian Gulf security, and South Asia, especially India and Pakistan.

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Youth and education

Riedel was born in 1953 in Queens, New York. He was just a year old when his father — a political adviser at the United Nations — moved his family to Jerusalem and later to Beirut. After much travel, Riedel obtained a B.A. (1975, Brown University) in Middle East history and an MA (1977, Harvard) in Medieval Islamic history. From 2002 to 2003, he attended the Royal College of Defence Studies in London.


CIA years : 1977 – 2006
In 1977, Riedel began a career as an analyst for the CIA, where he spent most of his professional life. After serving 29 years, he retired in 2006.

During his tenure at the CIA he held several positions, including:

  • Various assignments, Central Intelligence Agency (1977–1990)
  • Deputy Chief Persian Gulf Task Force, Central Intelligence Agency (1990–1991)
  • Director for Gulf and South Asia Affairs, National Security Council (1991–1993)
  • National Intelligence Officer for Near East and South Asian Affairs at the National Intelligence Council (1993–95)
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Near East and South Asian Affairs, Office of the Secretary of Defense (1995–1997)
  • Special Assistant to the President, and Senior Director for Near East Affairs on the National Security Council (1997–2001)
  • Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Near East and North African Affairs, National Security Council (2001–2002)
  • Member, Royal College of Defence Studies, London, UK (2002–2003)
  • Special Advisor, NATO, Brussels, Belgium (2003–2006)
  • 2006 – to present
    Riedel is currently a senior fellow in the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, and a professor at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. He also serves as a senior adviser at Albright Stonebridge Group.

    Riedel was a policy adviser to the 2008 presidential campaign of Barack Obama. In February 2009, Obama appointed him chair of a White House review committee formed to overhaul U.S. policy on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    In 2011, he served as an expert advisor to the prosecution of al Qaeda terrorist Omar Farooq Abdulmutallab in Detroit. In December 2011, Prime Minister David Cameron asked him to advise the UK’s National Security Council on Pakistan.

    In a February 2013 article published on the website of the Brookings Institution, Riedel discussed "false flag ops" in relation to Algerian counter-terrorism units. In his article "Algeria a Complex Ally in War Against al Qaeda", he described the Algerian counter-terrorism unit DRS and its methods: "(The) DRS is (…) known for its tactic of infiltrating terrorist groups, creating “false flag” terrorists and trying to control them.", Riedel writes. "Rumors have associated the DRS in the past with the Malian warlord Iyad Ag Ghali, head of Ansar al Dine AQIM’s ally in Mali, and even with Mukhtar Belmukhtar, the al-Qaeda terrorist who engineered the attack on the natural gas plant."

    On 14 February 2012, in an article for American news website The Daily Beast, Riedel quoted former ISI chief, Gen. (retired) Ziauddin Khwaja, as saying that former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf "knew bin Laden was in Abbottabad".


  • Secretary of Defense Distinguished Service Medal (1997)
  • Distinguished Intelligence Medal (2001)
  • Department of State Meritorious Honor Award (2006), for work in the intelligence and defense communities
  • Publications

    Riedel is a contributor to several journals and magazines; and an author of several books.

  • Edmund S. Hawley; Bruce O. Riedel; James A. Urry (1976). Papers on Intelligence Activities. Brown University. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  • Bruce O. Riedel (1998). The Oslo Impasse: Where Do We Go from Here? : with Keynote Address by Bruce O. Riedel. Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  • Bruce Riedel (1975). Truman, American Diplomacy and a Middle Eastern Peace Settlement, 1949 - 1952. Brown University. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  • John Kiriakou; Michael Ruby; Bruce Riedel (27 February 2012). The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA's War on Terror. Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 978-1-61608-628-2. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  • Kenneth M. Pollack; Daniel L. Byman; Akram Al-Turk; Pavel Baev; Michael S. Doran; Khaled Elgindy; Stephen R. Grand; Shadi Hamid; Bruce Jones; Suzanne Maloney; Jonathan D. Pollack; Bruce O. Riedel; Ruth Hanau Santini; Salman Shaikh; Ibrahim Sharqieh; Shibley Telhami; Sarah E. Yerkes (1 October 2011). The Arab Awakening: America and the Transformation of the Middle East. Brookings Institution Press. ISBN 978-0-8157-2227-4. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  • Amb. Ronald E. Neumann (Ret.) (31 October 2009). The Other War: Winning and Losing in Afghanistan. Potomac Books, Inc. ISBN 978-1-59797-427-1. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  • Which Path to Persia: Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran, (Brookings Institution Press, June 2009)
  • Al Qaeda Strikes Back, (Brookings Institution Press, May/June 2007)
  • Bruce Riedel (15 March 2010). The Search for Al Qaeda: Its Leadership, Ideology, and Future. Brookings Institution Press. ISBN 978-0-8157-0451-5. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  • Bruce Riedel (17 January 2012). Deadly Embrace: Pakistan, America, and the Future of the Global Jihad. Brookings Institution Press. ISBN 978-0-8157-2274-8. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  • Bruce O. Riedel (2013). Avoiding Armageddon: America, India, and Pakistan to the Brink and Back. Brookings Institution Press. ISBN 978-0-8157-2408-7. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  • Bruce Riedel (28 July 2014). What We Won: America's Secret War in Afghanistan, 1979–89. Brookings Institution Press. ISBN 978-0-8157-2585-5. 
  • Bruce Riedel (6 November 2015). JFK's Forgotten Crisis Tibet, the CIA, and Sino-Indian War. Brookings Institution Press. ISBN 978-0-8157-2699-9. 
  • Personal life

    Riedel is married and lives in the US. His wife, whom he met at the CIA, continues to work at the agency as a Middle East analyst.


    Bruce Riedel Wikipedia