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 Paul R. Pillar

Paul R. Pillar

, National Intelligence Officer for Near East and South Asia,

National Intelligence Council




Mr. Pillar was appointed National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia in October 2000 upon returning to the Intelligence Community from the Brookings Institution, where he was a Federal Executive Fellow. He joined CIA in 1977 and has served in a variety of analytical and managerial positions, including as chief of analytic units covering portions of the Near East, the Persian Gulf, and South Asia. He previously served in the NIC as one of the original members of its Analytic Group. He has been Executive Assistant to CIA's Deputy Director for Intelligence and Executive Assistant to DCI William Webster. He headed the Assessments and Information Group of the DCI Counterterrorist Center and from 1997 to 1999 was deputy chief of the center. Mr. Pillar is a retired officer in the US Army Reserve and served on active duty in 1971-1973, including a tour of duty in Vietnam.



Mr. Pillar received an A.B. summa cum laude from Dartmouth College, a B.Phil. from Oxford University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University. He is the author of books on peace negotiations and counterterrorist policy.

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updated Sun. April 3, 2022

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by Paul R. Pillar Though fully justified, the sudden attention paid to the exploitation, including for political purposes, of information on millions of Facebook users in ways that ought to make those users uncomfortable—and to how Facebook does not seem… Continue Reading ...
by Paul R. Pillar. Donald Trump appears poised to make one of the most damaging moves yet of his presidency: to pull out of the multilateral agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which severely restricts Iran's nuclear program and closes all pathways to a possible Iranian ...

Former CIA operative Paul R. Pillar praised her apolitical relationship with the White House in an NPR article, as did her former supervisor, Robert Baer. The Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity memo however, closes with a recommendation that Trump rescinds the nomination in the name of ...
John Bolton has a glaring record of extreme and bombastic views and behavior. First-hand recollections of that record include, for example, former State Department officer Greg Thielmann's description of Bolton's performance as one of the most enthusiastic promoters of the Iraq War. The following ...
One of the more intriguing news reports about the rapid rise to power of the 32-year-old Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), concerns how he isolated his mother, placing her under house arrest for a time. He kept her away from his father, the mentally declining King Salman, and devised ...
Saudi Arabia's U.S.-backed military campaign in Yemen, now almost three years old, not only drives the world's worst humanitarian crisis, but also deepens the terrorist threat to the United States. After more than 1,000 days of war, 22 million Yemenis – more than the population of Florida – need ...

President Trump announced on Tuesday that he would nominate Mike Pompeo, the director of the C.I.A., to be the next secretary of state now that Rex Tillerson has been pushed out. This is bad news for the country and the world. If confirmed, Mr. Pompeo will bring to the job not the discretion and objectivity ...
In July 1951, armistice talks began that eventually, after two years of difficult negotiations, would halt the Korean War. The locale was the city of Kaesong, which was just south of the 38th parallel but on the North Korean/Chinese side of the front line. The lead negotiator for United Nations forces was U.S. ...
Long after Donald Trump leaves office, analysts will continue to discuss the roots of his presidency's excesses and outrages. They will offer explanations about larger phenomena in politics and society that go beyond Trump himself and that helped to make possible the damage he has inflicted on the ...
Vladimir Putin's video show about formidable new Russian strategic weapons, which took up half of the Russian president's recent state of the nation address, has given defense analysts plenty to chew on. The presentation, which Putin probably was aiming at his domestic audience as well as an ...
by Paul R. Pillar. Later this week Secretary of Energy Rick Perry will lead a U.S. delegation to negotiate a possible nuclear cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia. The subject already has been a point of contention between Riyadh and Washington. Saudi Arabia wants to establish a large-scale nuclear ...
by Paul R. Pillar. John Bolton has a glaring record of extreme and bombastic views and behavior. First-hand recollections of that record include, for example, former State Department officer Greg Thielmann's description of Bolton's performance as one of the most enthusiastic promoters of the Iraq War.
Paul R. Pillar served in the CIA for 28 years. He is a nonresident senior fellow at the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University. President Trump's nominee to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Gina Haspel, will become, if confirmed, the first career professional of the agency to rise ...
The sudden attention to the exploitation, including for political purposes, of information on millions of Facebook users in ways that ought to make those users uncomfortable—and to how Facebook does not seem to have cared about such abuses—has been tardy and myopic even though the attention is ...
The unethical blurring of private interests and public business is a hallmark of Donald Trump's presidency. That blurring has increasingly involved U.S. foreign policy. The possible effects on U.S. foreign relations may be subtle and largely out of public view, but they arise every time, for example, foreign ...
The cauldron of intervention known as the Syrian war has recently become even more likely to boil over than it was just a few weeks ago. There are two immediate dangers of escalation. One is the outbreak of another war between Israel and its neighbors. A reminder of this danger has come from events ...
The cauldron of intervention known as the Syrian war has recently become even more likely to boil over than it was just a few weeks ago. There are two immediate dangers of escalation. One is the outbreak of another war between Israel and its neighbors. A reminder of this danger has come from events ...

by Paul R. Pillar. After more than a year of excesses by a president whom not only centrists and progressives but also a thinking conservative such as George Will can aptly assess to be the worst U.S. president ever, outrage fatigue has set in on many fronts. Throwing government ethics into the trash, ...
No matter how much some in the United States try to apply to the war in Yemen a Manichean template for seeing the conflict as a simple contest between good guys and bad guys, the complexities of the war keep intruding. Long overlooked has been how the supposedly good side—that is, the one on ...
by Paul R. Pillar. The most frequent and regular interaction that I, as a then-serving intelligence officer, had with the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI—referred to orally as “hip-see”) was in the 1980s. Part of my duties involved preparation of weekly classified briefings, presented ...
The most frequent and regular interaction that I, as a then-serving intelligence officer, had with the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI—referred to orally as “hip-see”) was in the 1980s. Part of my duties involved preparation of weekly classified briefings, presented to the committee ...
by Paul R. Pillar. Fifty years ago this Tuesday, communist forces launched the assaults across South Vietnam known as the Tet Offensive. The offensive marked an inflection point in the Vietnam War. President Lyndon Johnson denied a request the following month from his military commander in Vietnam, ...
As recently as a generation or two ago, the mainstream of American politics observed an important limit whereby domestic politics did not operate beyond the nation's boundaries. This did not mean there weren't sharp differences and vigorous debate about foreign policy, often along party lines.
Russian interference in domestic American politics is a large and complicated story, full understanding of which is only beginning to be reached by the media and independent analysts. Some of the lessons and implications of that story, especially as it relates to the 2016 election, can only follow completion ...
During the Cold War, no concept was more central to U.S. national security strategy and to the relationship between the superpowers than deterrence. The concept long predates the Cold War, of course, but during that four-decade competition between the United States and USSR, strategists and scholars ...
Published February 13, 2018 by Paul Pillar Leave a Comment · 33462702800_1335fd034a_b. by Paul R. Pillar As anyone who has not been in a sensory deprivation tank for the past two years knows, quite a big deal was made of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary… Continue Reading ...
As anyone who has not been in a sensory deprivation tank for the past two years knows, quite a big deal was made of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. President Trump has continued to refer from time to time to Mrs. Clinton's emails. The highlighting of this ...
President Trump and Ambassador Nikki Haley tried to bully the U.N. into accepting Trump's decision on Jerusalem as Israel's capital but – in a rare show of independence – most U.N. members pushed back, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar. By Paul R. Pillar. When North Korea began the Korean War ...
Bowing to Israeli-Saudi desires, the Trump administration is abusing the U.S. intelligence process to whip up a war fever against Iran, much like George W. Bush did on Iraq, reports ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar. By Paul R. Pillar. The most widely remembered episode of a U.S. administration using an ...
Even as the Islamic State's “caliphate” in Syria collapses, the U.S. government is keeping about 2,000 soldiers in-country despite lacking any legal right to be there, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar discusses. By Paul R. Pillar. Global Research, December 15, 2017. Consortiumnews 13 December 2017. Region: Middle East ...
The other day we learned that there are four times more U.S. troops in Syria than any earlier official figure had acknowledged. The discrepancy did not get much public attention perhaps because the numbers are small— about 2,000 troops in Syria, with the earlier official figure being 500—compared to ...
Trump's Scheme to Carve Up Palestine. President Trump's big idea for Israeli-Palestinian peace was the “outside-in” plan in which Israel's new Saudi allies would squeeze the Palestinians until they accepted a bogus “state,” as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains. By Paul R. Pillar. Global Research ...
In trying to rally American hostility toward Iran, CIA Director Pompeo and other U.S. officials are engaging in the same kind of distorted intelligence that led to the catastrophic Iraq invasion, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar. By Paul R. Pillar. Although nobody knows exactly where Donald Trump intends to ...
by Paul R. Pillar Although nobody knows exactly where Donald Trump intends to go with his campaign of seeking confrontation with Iran, his administration already has provided disconcerting parallels with the techniques an earlier U.S. administration used in selling its… Continue Reading ...
by Paul R. Pillar Anyone willing to think carefully and critically about the use of armed force against a target such as the Islamic State (ISIS or IS) would do well to ...
by Paul R. Pillar The anachronistic family enterprise known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has long been politically fragile. In some respects it is remarkable ...
Anyone willing to think carefully and critically about the use of armed force against a target such as Islamic State (ISIS) would do well to read ...
Donald Trump seems eager to learn at the knee of Vladimir Putin. During his Asian trip, Trump expressed his willingness to believe Putin's ...
By Paul R. Pillar. The anachronistic family enterprise known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has long been politically fragile. In some respects ...
by Paul R. Pillar. The anachronistic family enterprise known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has long been politically fragile. In some respects ...
The anachronistic family enterprise known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has long been politically fragile. In some respects it is remarkable ...
Donald Trump's tweets in response to the terrorist attack along a bike path in Manhattan demonstrated some of what we already knew all too ...
Paul R. Pillar is Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Studies of Georgetown University and an Associate Fellow of the Geneva ...
The latest attempt at reconciliation between the competing Palestinian parties Fatah and Hamas has produced a preliminary agreement that ...
by Paul R. Pillar. In Iraq, as in Syria, the imminent extinguishing of the mini-state of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS or IS) is raising the question ...
Paul R. Pillar, in his 28 years at the Central Intelligence Agency, rose to be one of the agency's top analysts. He is author most recently of Why ...
by Paul R. Pillar. The newest issue of Foreign Affairs features the theme of “America's Forgotten Wars,” with a cover illustration that juxtaposes a ...
Russian interference in domestic American politics is a large and complicated story, full understanding of which is only beginning to be reached ...
By Paul R. Pillar. Donald Trump's speech on Iran is the latest chapter in his struggle to reconcile his overriding impulse to denigrate and destroy ...
Trump's policies and rhetoric have caused international confidence in the United States to plummet to even lower depths. The United States' pushing ability has dropped along with the confidence. Paul R. Pillar is a contributing editor at the National Interest and the author of Intelligence and U.S. Foreign ...


 

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