Veteran Senior CIA Officer to Speak on Afghanistan

From: Public Affairs

April 20, 2009

Milton Bearden, one of the most senior officers in the Central Intelligence Agency's clandestine services who managed the covert assistance to the Afghan resistance during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, will speak at James Madison University as part of the Guardian Lecture Series. The free public lecture, "Afghanistan, An American 'Adventure,'" is sponsored by the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs.

DATE: Wednesday, April 22, 2009
TIME: 7 p.m.
LOCATION: Room 159, ISAT/CS Building


"At a time when the President has announced a new strategy for Afghanistan, we are very honored to have one of the select senior officials who has real experience working with insurgents in that country to analyze the implications of that policy," said Dr. J. Peter Pham, director of the Nelson Institute. Noting that Bearden has just published a widely discussed essay in the foreign policy journal The National Interest arguing that the United States needs a "radical rethinking" of its approach to Afghanistan in order to "reverse a failing enterprise" that threatens to "be Obama's War, as surely as Iraq was Bush's War and Vietnam was Johnson's War," he added that "even those who won't find themselves in agreement with Milt Bearden will want to hear the insights of an American whose service has literally shaped of the world in which we now live."

In addition to the public presentation, Bearden will also lead a roundtable discussion for JMU faculty earlier in the day.

About Milton Bearden
Milton Bearden retired from the Central Intelligence Agency in 1994, after 30 years in the CIA's clandestine services. During a career that tracked the Cold War from the overthrow of Nikita Khrushchev and the detonation of the first Chinese atomic bomb in the mid-1960s, through the hauling down of the hammer and sickle over the Kremlin and the reunification of Germany in the 1990s, Bearden rose through the ranks to become one of CIA's most senior officers.

Bearden is the author of "The Black Tulip," a novel of war in Afghanistan (Random House 1998, 2002). He is a frequent contributor to the op-ed pages of the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and has contributed to Foreign Affairs and to the book on Sept. 11, 2001, "How Did This Happen?" published by Public Affairs. He is a consultant for CBS News, and is co-author, with James Risen, of the award-winning "The Main Enemy," a nonfiction account of the end of the Cold War published by Random House in May 2003.

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