Michael A. Sheehan

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Michael A. Sheehan
Sheehan Photo.jpg
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict & Interdependent Capabilities
In office
Preceded byMichael Vickers
Deputy Commissioner for Counter Terrorism
In office
Assistant Secretary General of Mission Support
United Nations
In office
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Counter Terrorism
In office
PresidentBill Clinton
Personal details
Born(1955-02-10)February 10, 1955
Red Bank, New Jersey, U.S.
DiedJuly 30, 2018(2018-07-30) (aged 63)
Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.
Counter Terrorism Expert
Military service
AllegianceUnited States of America
Branch/serviceUnited States Army

Michael A. Sheehan (February 10, 1955 – July 30, 2018)[1] was an American author and former government official and military officer. He was a Distinguished Chair at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York and a terrorist analyst for NBC News.


Sheehan graduated from Christian Brothers Academy in New Jersey in 1973 and the United States Military Academy (West Point) in 1977. Sheehan has a Master of Science in Foreign Service from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service as well as one from the United States Army Command and General Staff College.

Military career[edit]

He served as an officer in the infantry and Special Forces. He had several overseas assignments, as a commander of a "counter-terrorism" unit in Panama, a counterinsurgency advisor in El Salvador, an infantry company commander in Korea, and on peacekeeping duty in Somalia and Haiti. Also while on active duty, he served in the White House on the National Security Council staff for Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Department of State[edit]

In 1998, he was appointed Coordinator for Counterterrorism with the rank and status of Ambassador-at-Large at the United States Department of State and was confirmed by the United States Senate for this position in 1999.[2] Following an assignment as Assistant-Secretary-General at the United Nations in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (2001 to 2003),[3] Sheehan served as Deputy Commissioner of Counter Terrorism for the New York City Police Department until May 2006.[4]

According to General Daniel P. Bolger's book "Why We Lost", at an acrimonious meeting in the Clinton White House, Mr. Sheehan asked the members of the Armed Forces present: "Does Al Quaeda have to hit the Pentagon to get your attention?"

In an Interview to a local TV channel, former head of the ISI, General Ziauddin Butt said that US did not intend to capture Osama Bin Laden. Of the officers US sent to probe for him, one was a retired major named Sheehan who was extremely unprofessional. At night when we were supposed to discuss the matter, he was so drunk that we had no chance of discussing this matter.[5]

Life after diplomatic service[edit]

Sheehan then served as President and co-founder of Lexington Security Group, an international consulting firm that specializes in providing international law enforcement, internal security, and national defense organizations with strategic guidance, unit training, and individual mentoring to manage emerging security challenges.[6] He was a partner in Torch Hill Investment Partners, a private equity group in New York City that specializes in the defense, intelligence and security sectors.[7] He was also a terrorism analyst for NBC News and a fellow at New York University's Center on Law and Security.[8]

Return to federal service[edit]

The White House nominated Sheehan to become Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict on November 1, 2011.[9] The U.S. Senate Senate Armed Services Committee held his confirmation hearing on November 17, 2011,[10] and he was confirmed by a voice vote on December 17, 2011.


Sheehan died in Bethesda, Maryland from multiple myeloma on July 30, 2018, aged 63.[11]


Sheehan is the author of the book Crush the Cell: How to Defeat Terrorism Without Terrorizing Ourselves ISBN 978-0-307-38217-7 [12][13] [14]


  1. ^ Schudel, Matt (1 August 2018). "Michael A. Sheehan, Army vet and terror expert who warned of bin Laden, dies at 63". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  2. ^ United States Department of State – History of the Department of State During the Clinton Presidency (1993-2001)
  3. ^ United Nations – Press Release – Secretary-General Appoints Michael Sheehan as Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations
  4. ^ City of New York, Press Release, May 20, 2003 – Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly Appoint Michael Sheehan As Deputy Commissioner For Counter Terrorism
  5. ^ Tahir W (2012-04-07), US was not after Osama Bin Laden (Ex Pakistani Intelligence Chief), retrieved 2019-03-22
  6. ^ LSG at a glance
  7. ^ Torch Hill Investment Partners – Investment Team Archived 2008-10-04 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Law and Security – Michael Sheehan
  9. ^ http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/11/01/presidential-nominations-and-withdrawl-sent-senate
  10. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-10-17. Retrieved 2012-10-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Michael Sheehan, Prescient Counterterrorism Expert, Dies at 63". The New York Times. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  12. ^ Sheehan, Michael A. (2008). Crush the Cell: How to Defeat Terrorism Without Terrorizing Ourselves. New York: Crown Publishers, an imprint of Random House. ISBN 978-0-307-38217-7.
  13. ^ Random House – Listing for Crush the Cell: How to Defeat Terrorism Without Terrorizing Ourselves
  14. ^ Op-Ed Contributor - The Hatfields and McCoys of Counterterrorism - NYTimes.com

External links[edit]