On Friday, April 15, 2011, Fred Burton, author of Chasing Shadows: A Special Agent’s Lifelong Hunt to Bring a Cold War Assassin to Justice spoke at IWP. He began by sharing with students and other attendees his experiences working for STRATFOR, a company based in Texas that provides strategic intelligence on global business, economic, security and geopolitical affairs. This company is able to conduct intelligence and analysis without the bureaucratic aspects which can often hinder this process in Washington. He described the structure of the company, its analyst development program, the types of contracts it works on, and its response system for major international incidents.
He then discussed his experiences in the US Diplomatic Security Service, and his work restructuring the Texas Depart of Public Safety, Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division. Mr. Burton ran the different DHS counterterrorism centers, and worked to ensure that they were sharing information with one another effectively.
He continued his discussion by addressing current and potential future major threats. He described how the Chinese are strategically embedding their supporters in US academia, which has been a good strategy for their intelligence system. He also discussed threats from Iran, and the fact that Iranian intelligence systems are growing in Mexico. He mentioned that the US even needs to be careful with its close allies who are conducting intelligence operations in our country.
He concluded his talk with a discussion of his book, which he published for the sake of the two daughters of an assassination victim, Israeli Air Force pilot Joe Alon, who was killed in Chevy Chase, MD in July 1973.