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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.
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.
Views on Iran
Leverett was heavily criticized for his articles during the 2009 Iranian Green Movement protests. After the government announced official election results, millions of Iranians took on the streets in a peaceful protest against the rigged presidential election. The demonstrations were brutally crushed by the Iranian regime’s security forces that left hundreds dead, and thousands of dissidents were injured, arrested and tortured. In a New York Times Op-Ed co-authored with his wife Mann Leverett, Flynt described the Iranian opposition movement as weak and not representing “anything close to a majority.” The piece then went on to criticize President Obama’s Iran policy as “half-hearted efforts.” The Leveretts’ Op-Ed was harshly criticized by Abbas Milani. Calling the Leveretts’ Op-Ed “the most infuriating op-ed of the new year,” Milani pointed out how Obama’s extensive efforts to reach out to the Ayatollah had been rejected and ridiculed by the regime. In a 2010 article in the Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg described the Leveretts as “cynical foreign policy realists,” and criticized their reasons for a policy of conciliation between the US and a “regime that rapes and murders its own citizens” as "semi-inexplicable."
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.
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.
|“||The White House is demanding, before it will consider clearing the op-ed for publication, that I excise entire paragraphs dealing with matters that I have written about (and received clearance from the CIA to do so) in several other pieces, that have been publicly acknowledged by Secretary Rice, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, and that have been extensively covered in the media.||”|
|— TPM cafe , link|
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
- 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.
- Leverett, Flynt (2006-12-18). New America Foundation Discussion on Iran Issues (TV-Public Affairs). Washington, D.C.: C-SPAN.
- Pennsylvania State University School of International Affairs, official website faculty profiles, last accessed 9 May 2013, http://sia.psu.edu/faculty/flynt_leverett
- Leverett, Flynt; Leverett, Hillary Mann (2010-01-05). "Another Iranian Revolution? Not Likely". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
- MILANI, ABBAS (2010-01-08). "The State of the Opposition is Strong". New Republic. Retrieved 2018-01-01.
- Goldberg, Jeffrey (2010-01-12). "Bad News for Hillary Mann Leverett". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2018-01-01.
- 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.
- Goldenberg, Suzanne (2006-12-18). "Bush accused of gagging critic of Iran policy". Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 2006-12-18.
- "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.
- Profile at New America Foundation
- Bush Administration Guilty of Strategic Malpractice - Expert
- How Bush Bungled The War on Terror? Flynt Leverett in Democracy Now
- Biography at New American Foundation
- Publications on the Brookings Institution Website by Flynt L. Leverett
- The Story of Leverett and Mann by Our World in Balance
- Video (with mp3 available) of conversation with Leverett and David Frum on Bloggingheads.tv
- Flynt Leverett interviewed on Conversations from Penn State
- Appearances on C-SPAN