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Former CIA Spy to Speak at WTAMU

April 5, 2017

CONTACT:    Dr. Bonnie Roos, 806-651-2465, broos@wtamu.edu

COPY BY:     Rana McDonald, 806-651-2129, rmcdonald@wtamu.edu

Former CIA Spy to Speak at WTAMU

 

CANYON, Texas—He’s been an international banker, a journalist, travel agent, book publisher and a fertilizer salesman, but James Olson also led a secret life, tapping phones, bugging rooms and jumping out of planes. Olson, a former chief of counterintelligence for the CIA, will share his story in a Distinguished Lecture presentation, “Spies and Spying: America at Risk,” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 12 at the First United Bank Center.

Olson is currently a faculty member at the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, where he teaches courses on intelligence and national security. His expertise in those subjects comes from his more than 30 years in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, where he lived the life of a spy in overseas assignmJames Olsonents in Moscow, Vienna and Mexico City.

A career as a spy was never on Olson’s radar. The Iowa native earned both a bachelor’s degree and a law degree from the University of Iowa. He’d planned on a career as a lawyer until an unexpected phone call landed him in Washington, D.C., for an interview with the CIA. He finished his law degree, passed the bar and then spent two years training to be a spy. He has experience in international affairs, economics, trade negotiations, intelligence support, counterintelligence, counterterrorism, counternarcotics and has served as a senior intelligence adviser to U.S. ambassadors and liaison with the State Department, Treasury Department, FBI, Pentagon and more.

He is the recipient of the Intelligence Medal of Merit, the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal, the Counterintelligence Excellence Medal and The Donovan Award as well as the Silver Star Award from the Bush School for excellence in teaching. Olson is the author of The Ten Commandments of Counterintelligence and Fair Play: The Moral Dilemmas of Spying.

The WTAMU Distinguished Lecture Series was created in 2007 to enhance education in the classroom. The series is funded through a portion of the student activity fees, and committee members strive to select speakers who appeal to a broad spectrum of the student body.

Olson’s lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Dr. Bonnie Roos at 806-651-2465 or broos@wtamu.edu.

 

—WTAMU—


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