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Forensics, counterintelligence, and the IWP experience: In the words of certificate alumna Nancy Berthold

The story below is written by Nancy Nostrand Berthold, who received a Certificate of Graduate Study in Counterintelligence from IWP in May 2012.

As IWP students realize, the history of intelligence and counterintelligence is riddled by forgeries and deceptions, which were often accepted at face value by policymakers, thus, affecting historical outcomes.  This still astounds me as a certified questioned document examiner.   The US Government has some world-class examiners but, if no one questions a document in the first place, dire incidents can occur.

While attending GWU graduate school in forensic science, I took several classes from Dr. Dave Crown.  Dr. Crown said that he worked for the State Department but actually was the forensic lab director for the CIA.   He certainly did not encourage me – there were practically no women in the monopolistic field – but, I wanted to have a job just like his.  I succeeded and “rode the rails” as a testifying expert witness for 25 years in practically every state and territory, garnering convictions for master forgers, counterfeiters and con men and women of every description.  I worked for the FBI, the USSS, and US INS which later became Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  One of the highlights of my career was serving on the Interpol taskforce which developed the Lost and Stolen Travel Document File.  This database can be accessed by any inspector, 24-7, from any port of entry.  Along the way, my husband Mark and I were blessed with a beautiful daughter, Eva.

For the last 6 years, I have served as the forensic lab director for the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.   We protect Treasury’s ability to collect revenue.  We deal with domestic terrorists like Sovereign Citizens, anarchists and skinheads.  (Dr. Harmon’s course on Terrorism and Counterterrorism has direct applicability to my position, and I wish that I had taken his class many years earlier.)  I also serve on the forensic committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, as well as the White House sponsored advisory Sub-committee on Forensic Sciences.

My intention was only to take one or two IWP classes in order to bolster my intelligence credentials for a Senior Executive Service level position.  However, I learned so much and was so inspired by professors like both deGraffenreids, Eugene Poteat and Dr. Thomas, that I ended up taking six courses, earning a certificate and serving on the first student council.   I will be officially retiring soon; however, I am not opposed to continuing in some meaningful work because, like everyone associated with IWP, I believe in the mission of protecting America.   Dr. Lenczowski’s “pride and joy” made an impact in my life, and I am grateful for it.

Nancy Nostrand Berthold
Certificate of Graduate Study Recipient, 2012

Nancy Berthold, Commencement 2012, Photo by Thomas Zeeb

Above: Commencement, May 19, 2012
President John Lenczowksi, Dean Charles Smith, Nancy Berthold 
Photo by Thomas Zeeb