Flynt Leverett

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Flynt Leverett (born March 6, 1958 in Memphis, Tennessee) is a former senior fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C. and a professor at the Pennsylvania State University School of International Affairs. From March 2002 to March 2003, he served as the senior director for Middle East affairs on the National Security Council (NSC).

Prior to serving on the NSC, he was a counterterrorism expert on the Policy Planning Staff of the U.S. State Department, and before that he served as a CIA senior analyst for eight years. Since leaving government service, Leverett served as a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy before becoming the director of the Geopolitics of Energy Initiative in the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation.

Professional life[edit]

Professor Leverett graduated with the degrees of B.A., B.M., from Texas Christian University and went on to earn M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton University. His areas of professional expertise include U.S. Middle East and Persian Gulf policy, international energy affairs, and international security. He is a founding faculty member of the School of International Affairs of Pennsylvania State University. He has testified before Congress, and has appeared on numerous major television news-oriented broadcasts.[1]

Op-ed controversy[edit]

As a former national security official granted a security clearance, Leverett is required to seek prior approval of articles from the CIA's Publication Review Board. Such reviews are conducted as a precaution to prevent leaks of classified information.[2]

On December 16, 2006 Leverett was denied permission to publish a 1,000 word opinion piece, co-written with his wife, Hillary Mann and based on his previously approved 35 page paper "Dealing with Tehran: Assessing U.S. Diplomatic Options Toward Iran." The longer paper and its shorter piece are critical of the George W. Bush administration's refusal to engage in "comprehensive" negotiations with the government of Iran.[3][4]

Leverett had intended to publish the shorter article in The New York Times. In a statement to the online publication Talking Points Memo, he disputed the official justification for the decision.

In the same statement, Leverett places the blame for quashing the op-ed piece on "White House staffers... working for Elliott Abrams and Meghan O'Sullivan, both politically appointed deputies to President Bush's National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley."


Books and reports[edit]

  • Leverett, Flynt (2004). US-Iran relations : looking back and looking ahead. Abu Dhabi: Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research. 
  • — (2005). Inheriting Syria : Bashar's trial by fire. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press. 
  • —, ed. (2005). The road ahead : Middle East policy in the Bush administration's second term : planning papers. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press. 
  • — (2006). Dealing with Tehran : assessing U.S. diplomatic options toward Iran (PDF). New York: The Century Foundation. Retrieved 2015-07-29. 
  • Leverett, Flynt; Leverett, Hillary Mann (2013). Going to Tehran : why the United States must come to terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran. New York: Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt. 


  • Leverett, Flynt; Leverett, Hillary Mann (November 2012). "The mad mullah myth : the dangers of misunderstanding Iran's strategy". Revision. Harper's Magazine 325 (1950): 53–55. 



  1. ^ Pennsylvania State University School of International Affairs, official website faculty profiles, last accessed 9 May 2013,
  2. ^ Aftergood, Steven (2006-09-26). "CIA Regulations on Pre-Publication Review Posted". Secrecy News: from the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy. Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved 2006-12-18. 
  3. ^ Goldenberg, Suzanne (2006-12-18). "Bush accused of gagging critic of Iran policy". Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 2006-12-18. 
  4. ^ "Flynt Leverett Blasts White House National Security Council Censorship of Former White House Officials Critical of Bush Policies". The Washington Note. December 16, 2006. URL accessed December 18, 2006.

External links[edit]