For more than a decade, Matt Olsen has been at the forefront of our nation’s national security efforts and has played a pivotal role in shaping our response to terrorism, cyber security, and surveillance. As the former director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Olsen has been at the center of the nation’s efforts to defend the country against a complex and expansive terrorism threat. In this role, Olsen was responsible for keeping senior leaders, including the president and the National Security Council, apprised of threats facing the country and for coordinating our efforts to identify and disrupt terrorist plots. He helped lead the counterterrorism community through several terror attacks, including the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the 2012 assault in Benghazi, Libya.
He now helps lead a cyber security technology firm, and with his unique experience and insightful analysis, Olsen provides an engaging and candid look at some of the most important and far-reaching challenges facing the country. He offers a discerning and compelling perspective on the security challenges facing the country and shares his insights on navigating crises and the role of leadership. He shares his views on evolving threats and developing hot spots around the world today and what American businesses should consider as they move forward, especially to protect against the increasingly complex challenge of cyber security.
Accolades from the Top. President Obama said, “Most Americans may not know Matt Olsen’s name, but every American is safer because of his service.” Congressman Mike Rogers, the former Republican chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said, “There are no doubt many, many people alive in the United States and around the world today because of Matt Olsen’s service and persistent dedication.”
Olsen earned a reputation of being a straight shooter and was the first senior official in 2012 to call the Benghazi attack an act of terrorism. He was also among the senior officials who warned Congress that Americans joining al Qaeda were becoming an acute threat on U.S. soil.
Intelligence Expertise at the Department of Justice. Prior to his service at NCTC, Olsen was the general counsel and chief legal advisor at the National Security Agency and an official at the Department of Justice. Olsen was also tapped to lead the government’s review of detainees at Guantanamo. In these positions, he played a leading role in shaping the government’s efforts to enhance cyber security and to conduct intelligence operations against foreign terrorist targets, while maintaining adherence to the rule of law and the protection of civil liberties. For 12 years, Olsen served as a federal prosecutor in the District of Columbia, prosecuting violent gang members, terrorists, and white-collar criminals. He became the first director of the United States Attorneys Office’s National Security Division in 2004, later rising to acting director. He also was special counsel to the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Academia and More. Olsen is a lecturer at Harvard Law School and a contributor for ABC News. He graduated from the University of Virginia and Harvard Law School.
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