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Robert Grenier

Former Director, CIA Counter-Terrorism Center; Highly decorated veteran, Central Intelligence Agency's Clandestine Service; Renowned expert on the Middle East and South Asia

Travels From:
District Of Columbia
Fee Range:
$10,000 - $15,000

Featured Videos

Robert Grenier | KIOGA Lunch Speakers

State of Democracy: Robert Grenier

HUMan INTelligence in the Digital Age: Global Agenda

Speaker Resources

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  •  Robert  Grenier


A highly decorated twenty-seven year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Clandestine Service and a renowned expert on the Middle East, South Asia, and Counterterrorism, Mr. Grenier played a central leadership role in the greatest national security challenges of his time. When 9/11 struck, he was the CIA’s overseas Chief of Station for Pakistan and Afghanistan. After preparing the original War Plan for U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, approved by President George W. Bush on September 24, 2001, Mr. Grenier went on to organize and direct the joint CIA/Special Forces teams which combined with Afghan militias under Hamid Karzai and Gul Agha Shirzai to drive the Taliban and al-Qa’ida from southern Afghanistan.

Later, as the U.S. prepared to invade Iraq, Mr. Grenier was brought back to Washington and named CIA Iraq Mission Manager, responsible for all CIA intelligence operations and analysis in that country, and representing CIA in all White House policy deliberations on Iraq for a two and a half year period.

Speech Topics

It’s not just about oil anymore.  Terrorism, refugee flows, political instability, and both regional and great-power military rivalries are also driving America’s current preoccupation with the Near East.  But make no mistake:  Oil and gas resources still underlie the power dynamics of the region, and access to them remains critically important.  Robert Grenier, a 27-year veteran of the CIA’s Clandestine Service, former Director of the CIA CounterTerrorism Center, former State Department Petroleum Officer, and a former overseas operative with 15 years in covert field operations throughout the Middle East and South Asia, shares his understanding of current developments in the region and what they mean for our country and our industry.

The recent wave of terrorist outrages both here and in Europe has made Americans alternately saddened, frightened, angry – and confused.  And their confusion is being fed, rather than alleviated, by their politicians.  Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and their supporters offer starkly different views of the terrorist threat, both foreign and domestic, and of what should be done about it.  Let Robert Grenier, for years the CIA’s top counterterrorism operative, sort fact from fiction on both sides, and provide some reliable answers about what is happening, why, and what we can and should do about it.

Many American businesses lose out on lucrative overseas opportunities, in part by following the lead of the U.S. government, whose risk-avoidance policies are completely inappropriate to business. Many foreign firms are not so encumbered, and so take business which by rights ought to be yours. Robert Grenier, a former CIA operative and former head of counterterrorism at CIA, who lived and thrived for many years leading people in the most dangerous environments overseas, shares his techniques for correctly assessing and then managing risks in the most challenging and least-transparent parts of the world.

Robert Grenier spent years both as a CIA field operative and as a senior Washington-based leader. He understands the subterranean conflicts between the tactical “doers” and the strategic “overseers” in any organization, and how their sharply differing roles and perspectives, and the very different pressures they face make conflict between them inevitable. Grenier draws on his experience in both government and business to explain why those tensions exist, how they can be bridged, and how ultimately the natural tension between “headquarters” and the “field” can be harnessed to improve your organization.

As an overseas CIA operative and as a senior Washington-based intelligence official, Robert Grenier oversaw the rendition, detention, interrogation, and directed killing of terrorists around the globe during the early days of the war on terror. In the process, he navigated the shifting and treacherous terrain among the White House, the Justice Department, Congress, the public and the press. Since then, in the business world, he has seen the same basic ethical issues play out in a different context. He now draws on that experience to shed light on how senior leaders and managers of organizations both large and small can meet their sometimes conflicting responsibilities toward shareholders, employees, customers, stakeholders and the public at large through adherence to the principles of ethical leadership.