Gary Berntsen

23-year Veteran of CIA, Best-Selling Author of Jawbreaker

Gary Berntsen is a retired 23-year Veteran of CIA's Clandestine Service, and the best-selling author of Jawbreaker: The Attack on Bin Laden and Al Qaida. As one of CIA's most decorated officers, Berntsen led many of the Central Intelligence Agency's most important counterterrorist deployments and served as a Senior CIA Field Commander for a decade around the globe. Recent reports confirm that Paramount Pictures has purchased the option for Jawbreaker.

Selected to lead CIA's deployment after the East Africa bombings and then again to lead in Afghanistan following the September 11, 2001 attacks, Berntsen was at the forefront in confronting al Qaeda and the Taliban and a pivotal figure in the United States victory in Afghanistan.

Berntsen's knowledge of Intelligence, Counterterrorism and Foreign Affairs provides for an informed and dynamic presentation in our ongoing struggle with Jihadist Terrorists. Having served on the ground in multiple insurgencies, Berntsen provides his audience with gritty, informed understanding of what needs to be done in order to achieve victory in the long war that we face. In assignments as varied as the Middle East South Asia, Latin America and the Balkans he conducted cutting edge operations against many of the world's most dangerous terrorist groups.

At the core of his success was the ability to lead under adverse conditions and inspire the men and women under his command. The CIA awarded Berntsen the Distinguished Intelligence Medal and the Intelligence Star respectively in 1998 and 2004. In 2006, Intelcon, a private sector supporter of the Intelligence Community awarded him the first William F. Buckley Award for Leadership, named after the kidnapped and murdered CIA Station Chief in Lebanon in 1984.

Berntsen has appeared on national television and radio. He has been interviewed extensively by Tim Russert, Bill O'Reilly, Chris Mathews and John Kaisch to name just a few. Central to his presentation is the need to lead, over come obstacles and inspire others.

Gary released his first piece of fiction in August 2008. The book is titled The Walk-In and tells the story of an American CIA case officer dealing with an Iranian defector from the Quds Force. The defector claims that a catastrophic attack is imminent and the American case officer must decide what to believe.

In November 2008, Berntsen published Human Intelligence, Counterterrorism, and National Leadership: A Practical Guide. This book was written to serve as a manual for the incoming president and White House staff and includes highly specific recommendations and policy prescriptions for human intelligence and counterterrorism operations.

Berntsen continues expressing his opinions and analysis to the news media and several government entities including police departments and federal agencies.

To book Gary Berntsen call Executive Speakers Bureau at 901-754-9404.

See Below for Full Bio

  • Speaking Topics:

    Leadership, Motivation, Overcoming Adversity, Politics & Current Events

  • Travels From:

    New York

  • Price:

    $10,000 - $15,000

    Notes on Fees

  • Videos
  • Full Bio
  • Speech Topics
  • Books
  • Testimonials
  • News

CIA Case Officer Gary Berntsen Discusses The Growing Number of Americans Joining ISIS

Gary Berntsen

Gary Berntsen is a retired 23-year Veteran of CIA's Clandestine Service, and the best-selling author of Jawbreaker: The Attack on Bin Laden and Al Qaida. As one of CIA's most decorated officers, Berntsen led many of the Central Intelligence Agency's most important counterterrorist deployments and served as a Senior CIA Field Commander for a decade around the globe. Recent reports confirm that Paramount Pictures has purchased the option for Jawbreaker.

Selected to lead CIA's deployment after the East Africa bombings and then again to lead in Afghanistan following the September 11, 2001 attacks, Berntsen was at the forefront in confronting al Qaeda and the Taliban and a pivotal figure in the United States victory in Afghanistan.

Berntsen's knowledge of Intelligence, Counterterrorism and Foreign Affairs provides for an informed and dynamic presentation in our ongoing struggle with Jihadist Terrorists. Having served on the ground in multiple insurgencies, Berntsen provides his audience with gritty, informed understanding of what needs to be done in order to achieve victory in the long war that we face. In assignments as varied as the Middle East South Asia, Latin America and the Balkans he conducted cutting edge operations against many of the world's most dangerous terrorist groups.

At the core of his success was the ability to lead under adverse conditions and inspire the men and women under his command. The CIA awarded Berntsen the Distinguished Intelligence Medal and the Intelligence Star respectively in 1998 and 2004. In 2006, Intelcon, a private sector supporter of the Intelligence Community awarded him the first William F. Buckley Award for Leadership, named after the kidnapped and murdered CIA Station Chief in Lebanon in 1984.

Berntsen has appeared on national television and radio. He has been interviewed extensively by Tim Russert, Bill O'Reilly, Chris Mathews and John Kaisch to name just a few. Central to his presentation is the need to lead, over come obstacles and inspire others.

Gary released his first piece of fiction in August 2008. The book is titled The Walk-In and tells the story of an American CIA case officer dealing with an Iranian defector from the Quds Force. The defector claims that a catastrophic attack is imminent and the American case officer must decide what to believe.

In November 2008, Berntsen published Human Intelligence, Counterterrorism, and National Leadership: A Practical Guide. This book was written to serve as a manual for the incoming president and White House staff and includes highly specific recommendations and policy prescriptions for human intelligence and counterterrorism operations.

Berntsen continues expressing his opinions and analysis to the news media and several government entities including police departments and federal agencies.

To book Gary Berntsen call Executive Speakers Bureau at 901-754-9404.

Terrorism and Counterterrorism

Corporate Security and Intelligence

Crisis Management

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