Robert Grenier (CIA officer)

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Robert Grenier
Robert Grenier CIA.jpg
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Counterterrorism Center
In office
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Succeeded byMichael D'Andrea
Personal details
Robert Grenier
EducationDartmouth College (AB)
University of Virginia (MA) [1]
OccupationIntelligence officer
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/serviceFlag of the Central Intelligence Agency.svg Central Intelligence Agency
UnitSpecial Activities Division Northern Alliance Liaison Team
Battles/warsUnited States invasion of Afghanistan

Robert L. Grenier is a career Central Intelligence Agency officer who served as the agency’s top counter-terrorism official from 2004 to 2006.


Grenier joined the CIA in January 1979 and worked field assignments in North Africa, Middle East and Western Europe till 1991. Grenier was station chief in Algiers, Algeria in 1990. He served as Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Peter Tarnoff (1993–94) and first Chief of Operations, Counter-Proliferation Division (1994–96). From 1996 to 1999, Grenier was Director of Operational Training at Camp Peary, Virginia.

Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq[edit]

In 2001, Grenier was the CIA station chief in Islamabad, Pakistan, where he helped plan covert operations in support of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. He was part of the Northern Alliance Liaison Team which landed in Afghanistan on September 26th, 2001, 15 days after the events of 9/11. In the summer of 2002 he was promoted to the chief of the Iraq Issues Group, where he helped coordinate covert operations in support of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Grenier served as Director, CIA's Counterterrorist Center for about a year, but was fired from that position on 6 February 2006 by the Director of the National Clandestine Service Jose A. Rodriguez, Jr. .[2] He was succeeded by Michael D’Andrea.[3] In 2006, Grenier joined Kroll, Inc., as Managing Director.

CIA leak case and Libby trial[edit]

In early 2006, Grenier was identified in court documents in connection with the CIA leak grand jury investigation and charges against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Grenier told Libby on June 11, 2003, one month before the leak of Valerie Plame's CIA identity, that she worked for the CIA and was involved in arranging her husband Ambassador Joseph Wilson's 2002 trip to Niger.[4] Libby claims to have forgotten about the conversation.

On January 24, 2006, Grenier testified in Libby's trial on perjury and obstruction of justice charges, telling jurors that Libby asked him for information about Joseph Wilson's investigatory trip to Niger on June 11, 2003, and that he reported back to Libby about Wilson's wife's involvement in the trip, as well as Wilson's wife's employment by the CIA, later on June 11. Grenier did not mention Plame's name to Libby, which appeared in a column by Robert Novak a month later.

Grenier testified that it was unusual to get a call from Libby, and unusual to be called out of a meeting with CIA director George Tenet to supply Libby with answers. Wilson was sent on the February 2002 investigatory mission by the CIA, Grenier said, because the Office of the Vice President wanted answers about reports of uranium purchases from Niger, although the State Department and the Bureau of Intelligence and Research were interested in the CIA's take as well. Grenier testified that later media reports about the leak, which suggested Libby may have originally learned about Plame a month later from journalists, prompted him to contact CIA lawyers about his earlier conversations with Libby. According to Grenier, Libby thanked him personally a few days later for the information about Wilson's trip, telling him it had been "useful".[5]

Post-intelligence career[edit]

In 2009 Grenier was appointed Chairman of ERG Partners, an independent financial and strategic advisory firm solely focused on the security and intelligence sectors.[6] He is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Political commentary[edit]

In the wake of the Trump administration, Grenier argued in an op-ed for The New York Times and interview with NPR that widespread violence from "the dawn of a sustained wave of violent insurgency within our own country, perpetrated by our own countrymen" may be imminent, describing former President Trump's popularity as "insurgency leadership" in "subversion of the Constitutional order." He compared Trump's enduring presence in American politics to Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden, suggesting that avoiding reconstruction era violence requires a sustained domestic counter-insurgency campaign to "affect the environment" and a concerted effort to publicly shame and permanently diminish Trump. He described conviction of the former president in his second impeachment trial as a national security imperative.[7][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Personal Website | Robert Grenier".
  2. ^ Gellman, Barton & Linzer, Dafna (February 7, 2006). "Top Counterterrorism Officer Removed Amid Turmoil at CIA". Washington Post.
  3. ^ Cockburn, Andrew (2015). Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins. Henry Holt and Company. ISBN 9780805099270.
  4. ^ Meek, James Gordon (May 23, 2006). "2 in CIA to testify Libby lied on leak". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on June 1, 2006. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Wheeler, Marcy (January 24, 2007). "Robert Grenier testimony liveblogging, January 24, 2007".
  6. ^ "About Us". ERG Partners. Archived from the original on August 18, 2011. Retrieved May 7, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Grenier, Robert (2021-01-27). "Opinion | How to Defeat America's Homegrown Insurgency". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-02-03.
  8. ^ Kelly, Mary Louise (February 2, 2021). "Former CIA Officer: Treat Domestic Extremism As An Insurgency". NPR.

External links[edit]