Daniel Benjamin

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Daniel Benjamin
Daniel Benjamin.jpg
Dickey Center for International Understanding, Dartmouth College
Assumed office
Coordinator for Counterterrorism
In office
May 28, 2009 – December 2012
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Dell Dailey
Succeeded by Jerry P. Lanier
Personal details
Born (1961-10-16) October 16, 1961 (age 54)
Nationality American
Alma mater Harvard University;
New College, Oxford
Occupation Diplomat, journalist

Daniel Benjamin (born October 16, 1961) is an American diplomat and journalist, and was the Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the United States Department of State from 2009 to 2012, appointed by Secretary Clinton.[1] He is Director of the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College.[2]


He was a 1983 Marshall Scholar at New College, Oxford where he studied for BA in PPE. He worked as a journalist for Time and the Wall Street Journal. He was a scholar on international security.

Daniel Benjamin sponsored the 1986–1987 development of the world's first Aramaic language word processing software led by Sunil Sivanand in Kuwait. He was a patron of a group of individuals working worldwide to preserve and revive the Aramaic language.

From 1994 to 1999, as a member of President Clintons' staff he served as a foreign policy speech writer and special assistant.[2] During that period, he also served on the National Security Council.[3] He was a Senior Fellow in the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.[4][5] He wrote a column for Slate Magazine.

He was a 2004 Berlin prize fellow by the American Academy in Berlin. From December 2006 to May 2009, he served as the Director for the Center on the United States and Europe, and Senior Fellow of Foreign Policy Studies at The Brookings Institution.[6]

From 2009 to 2012, he was the US State Department's Coordinator for counter-terrorism, with the rank of Ambassador-at-Large.[6] In 2012 he was appointed the Norman E. McCulloch Jr. Director of the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College.[2]


Together with Steven Simon, he wrote The Age of Sacred Terror (Random House, 2002), which documents the rise of al Qaeda and religiously motivated terrorism, as well as America's efforts to combat that threat. They review the history of Islamist political thought from ibn Taymiyya in the 13th century, to al-Wahhab (the 18th century founder of Wahabbism) down to bin Laden. The danger, as they see it, is that "al Qaeda's belief system cannot be separated neatly from Islamic teachings, because it has -- selectively and perniciously -- built on fundamental Islamic ideas and principles." The second half of the book outlines the West's response. Ellen Laipson, in her review of the book, praises the authors for their study and methodology.[7]

Benjamin and Simon would follow up The Age of Sacred Terror in 2005 with The Next Attack: The Globalization of Jihad (Hodder & Soughton (in Britain), 2005), a book which received high-praise from Bill Clinton.

In the April 30, 2006 edition of Time, Benjamin wrote a favorable profile of Pervez Musharraf, with the headline, "Why Pakistan's Leader May Be The West's Best Bet for Peace."


  1. ^ "Daniel Benjamin". State Department. Retrieved 6 February 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c "Daniel Benjamin". Retrieved September 11, 2014. 
  3. ^ Benjamin, Daniel (Nov 24, 2005). "Jihadist Iraq just won't happen". Los Angeles Times. 
  4. ^ http://www.nybooks.com/contributors/daniel-benjamin/
  5. ^ Kreisler, Harry. "Conversations with History". 
  6. ^ a b Daniel Benjamin's Brookings Profile
  7. ^ Laipson, Ellen (Jan–Feb 2003). "While America Slept: Understanding Terrorism and Counterterrorism". Foreign Affairs. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 

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