Steve Pieczenik

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Steve R. Pieczenik
Born (1943-12-07) December 7, 1943 (age 76)
Havana, Cuba
OccupationAuthor, publisher, civil servant, psychiatrist
GenreWar novel, spy

Steve R. Pieczenik (/pəˈɛnɪk/; born Havana, Cuba, December 7, 1943) is an American writer, former United States Department of State official, psychiatrist, and publisher.

Early life and education[edit]

Pieczenik was born in Cuba of Jewish parents from Russia and Poland and was raised in France.[1] His father, a doctor from Dombrovicz who studied and worked in Toulouse, France,[2] fled Poland before World War II. His mother, a Russian Jew from Białystok, Poland,[2] fled Europe after many of her family members were killed. The couple met in Portugal, where both had fled ahead of the Nazi invaders.[2] Pieczenik was born in Cuba in 1943.[2][3] After living in Toulouse for six years, Pieczenik's family migrated to the United States, where they settled in the Harlem area[2] of New York City, New York.[4] Steve Pieczenik was 8 years old when his parents received their entry visa to the United States.[2]

Pieczenik is a classical pianist and wrote a full-length musical at the age of 8.[3]

Pieczenik is a Harvard University-trained psychiatrist and has a doctorate in international relations from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).[2] After being drafted, Pieczenik says the navy assigned him to St. Elizabeth's Hospital insane asylum where he oversaw several wards of criminally insane patients. After he ordered a lobotomy which ended up killing a man, who was also born in the asylum, an autopsy revealed the man had only half his brain.[5]

Pieczenik's autobiography notes that he attended Booker T. Washington High School in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. Pieczenik received a full scholarship to Cornell University at the age of 16.[2] According to Pieczenik, he received a BA degree in Pre-Medicine and Psychology from Cornell in 1964, and later received his M.D. from Cornell University Medical College. He attained his PhD in international relations from MIT while studying at Harvard Medical School.[3] Pieczenik claims to be the first psychiatrist ever to receive a PhD focusing on international relations.[4]

While performing his psychiatry residency at Harvard, he was awarded the Harry E. Solomon award for his paper titled: "The hierarchy of ego-defense mechanisms in foreign policy decision making".[2]

An article written by Pieczenik, "Psychological dimensions of international dependency", appears in the American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol 132(4), Apr 1975, 428–431.[6]

Professional life[edit]

Pieczenik was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under Henry Kissinger, Cyrus Vance and James Baker.[2] His expertise includes foreign policy, international crisis management and psychological warfare.[7] He served the presidential administrations of Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush in the capacity of deputy assistant secretary.[8]

In 1974, Pieczenik joined the United States Department of State as a consultant to help in the restructuring of its Office for the Prevention of Terrorism.[1]

In 1976, Pieczenik was made Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for management.[1][4][9][10]

At the Department of State, he served as a "specialist on hostage taking".[11] He has been credited with devising successful negotiating strategies and tactics used in several high-profile hostage situations, including the 1976 TWA Flight 355 hostage situation and the 1977 kidnapping of the son of Cyprus' president.[1]

As a renowned psychiatrist, he was utilized as a press source for early information on the mental state of the hostages involved in the Iran hostage crisis after they were freed.[12] In 1977, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Mary McGrory described Stephen Pieczenik as "one of the most 'brilliantly competent' men in the field of terrorism".[13] He worked "side by side" with Police Chief Maurice J. Cullinane in the Washington, D.C. command center of Mayor Walter Washington during the 1977 Hanafi Siege.[14]

In 1978, Pieczenik was known as "a psychiatrist and political scientist in the U.S. Department of State whose credentials and experiences are probably unique among officials handling terrorist situations".[1]

In 1978 Pieczenik was a special envoy for President Jimmy Carter to Italy to assist in the search for Italy's Prime Minister Aldo Moro. Pieczenik, as an international crisis manager and hostage negotiator in the State Department, was sent to Italy on March 16, 1978, the day that Moro was kidnapped, and was involved in the negotiations for the release of Moro. He was part of a "crisis committee" headed by Francesco Cossiga, the interior minister. Moro was held for 54 days, Pieczenik said the committee was jolted into action by the fear that Moro would reveal state secrets in an attempt to free himself. Moro's widow, Eleonora, later said Henry Kissinger had warned her husband against his strategy of Historic Compromise (Italian: Compromesso storico). "You will pay dearly for it," he is alleged to have said. A false statement, attributed to the Red Brigades, was leaked saying that Moro was dead. Pieczenick revealed that this had a dual purpose; to prepare the Italian public for the worst, and to let the Red Brigades know that the state would not negotiate for Moro, and considered him already dead. Moro was shot and placed in the back of a car in central Rome, midway between the headquarters of the Communist Party and the Christian Democrats. In a documentary Cossiga admitted the committee had taken the decision to release the false statement. Pieczenik said that Moro had been "sacrificed" for the "stability" of Italy.[15]

On September 17, 1978 the Camp David Accords were signed. Pieczenik was at the secret Camp David negotiations leading up to the signing of the Accords. He worked out strategy and tactics based on psychopolitical dynamics. He correctly predicted that given their common backgrounds, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin would get along.[2]

In 1979, he resigned as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State over the handling of the Iranian hostage crisis.[3]

In the early 1980s, Pieczenik wrote an article for The Washington Post in which he claimed to have heard a senior U.S. official in the Department of State Operations Center give permission for the attack that led to the death of U.S. Ambassador Adolph Dubs in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1979.[16]

Pieczenik got to know Syrian President Hafez al-Assad well during his 20 years in the Department of State.[2]

In 1982, Pieczenik was mentioned in an article in The New York Times as "a psychiatrist who has treated C.I.A. employees".[17]

In 2001, Pieczenik operated as chief executive officer of Strategic Intelligence Associates, a consulting firm.[18]

Pieczenik has been affiliated in a professional capacity as a psychiatrist with the National Institute of Mental Health.[19]

Pieczenik has consulted with the United States Institute of Peace and the RAND Corporation.[20]

Pieczenik began mentorship of Drew Paul, founder of[21] is now the production company responsible for Pieczenik's web and media releases.[22][23][24]

As recently as October 6, 2012, Pieczenik was listed as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).[25] According to Internet Archive, his name was removed from the CFR roster sometime between October 6 and November 18, 2012.[26] Publicly, Pieczenik no longer appears as a member of the CFR.[27]

Pieczenik is fluent in five languages, including Russian, Spanish and French.[1][2][3]

Pieczenik has lectured at the National Defense University.[7]

Writing ventures[edit]

Pieczenik has made a number of ventures into fiction, as an author and as a business partner of Tom Clancy for several series of novels.[28]

He studied medicine and writing, beginning with drama and poetry. But eventually "I turned to fiction because it allows me to address reality as it is or could be."[2]

Pieczenik received a listed credit as co-creator for both Tom Clancy's Op-Center and Tom Clancy's Net Force, two best-selling series of novels, as a result of a business relationship with Tom Clancy. He was not directly involved in writing books in these series, but "assembled a team" including the ghost-writer who did author the novels, and someone to handle the "packaging" of the novels.[28][29] The Op-Center series alone had earned more than 28 million dollars in net profit for the partnership by 2003.[28]

He's also credited under the pseudonym Alexander Court for writing the novels Active Measures (2001), and Active Pursuit (2002).[30]

Pieczenik has had at least two articles published in the American Intelligence Journal, a peer-reviewed journal published by the National Military Intelligence Association.[31]

In September 2010, John Neustadt was recognized by Elsevier as being one of the Top Ten Cited Authors in 2007 and 2008 for his article, "Mitochondrial dysfunction and molecular pathways of disease." This article was co-authored with Pieczenik.[32]

Authored Novels[edit]

  • Mind Palace (1985)
  • Blood Heat (1989)
  • Hidden Passions (1991)
  • Maximum Vigilance (1993)
  • Pax Pacifica (1995)
  • State of Emergency (1997)[33]
  • Active Measures (as Alexander Court, 2001)
  • Active Pursuit (as Alexander Court, 2002)
  • My Beloved Talleyrand (2005)[34]
  • Terror Counter Terror (2007)[35]
  • Steve Pieczenik Talks (2014)[36][37]
  • American Warrior in Crises (2019)

Series Co-Creator, with Tom Clancy[edit]


  • My Life Is Great! Why Do I Feel So Awful? (self-help, 1990)
  • Foundations and Applications of Medical Biochemistry in Clinical Practice. With John Neustadt. (textbook, 2009) [32]


In 1992, Pieczenik told Newsday that in his professional opinion, President [George H. W.] Bush was "clinically depressed." As a result, he was brought up on an ethics charge before the American Psychiatric Association and reprimanded. He subsequently quit the APA.[3]

He calls himself a "maverick troublemaker. You make your own rules. You pay the consequences."[38]

The role he played in the negotiations to bring about the release of Aldo Moro, an Italian politician kidnapped by the Red Brigades, is fraught with controversy.[39]

In 2017, Pieczenik spoke on Alex Jones's radio show denying the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting occurred as reported, labeling it a "false flag" operation.[40]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Toth, Robert C. (April 21, 1978). "U.S. scientist aids in Moro search". St. Petersburg Times. Los Angeles Times. pp. 9A. Retrieved May 14, 2011. Credited with devising negotiating strategy and tactics
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Kaye, Helen (July 7, 1995). "US psychiatrist and ME expert analyzes region". The Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2011. He was deputy assistant secretary of state under Henry Kissinger, Cyrus Vance and James Baker.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Mansfield, Stephanie (February 27, 1995). "He's Been There, Done That; Steve Pieczenik, Tom Clancy's Man on the Inside". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2011. His father, a doctor, fled Poland before World War II. His mother, a Russian Jew, fled Europe after many of her family members were killed. The couple met in Portugal, where both had fled ahead of the Nazi invaders.
  4. ^ a b c "Biography". Steve Pieczenik. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
  5. ^ "No Agenda Show, Episode 993: 17:40–19:24". December 24, 2017.
  6. ^ Pieczenik, Steve R. (April 1975). "Psychological dimensions of international dependency". The American Journal of Psychiatry. 132 (4): 428–431. doi:10.1176/ajp.132.4.428. PMID 1119594. Analyzes the psychological consequences of international dependency
  7. ^ a b Kelley, Matt (February 26, 2002). "Rumsfeld: Pentagon to Close Office". Associated Press. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2011. Dr. Steve Pieczenik, a psychological warfare expert who has worked for the State Department and lectured at the National Defense University.
  8. ^ Romano, Lois (June 10, 1992). "The reliable source". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2011. Pieczenik served as deputy secretary during the Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush administrations.
  9. ^ Goleman, Daniel (March 8, 1985), "Seat of Power And Woe", The New York Times, retrieved May 5, 2011
  10. ^ Kenneth Rapoza (April 18, 2012). "Osama bin Laden Already Becoming the New Roswell". Forbes. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
  11. ^ Geyer, Georgie Anne (January 18, 1980). "We Have Ignored Soviet Paranoia". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. pp. 7A. Retrieved May 14, 2011. U.S. State Department specialist on hostage taking
  12. ^ Taubman, Philip (January 28, 1981), "Conflicts in Mental Reports Raise Questions on Captives", The New York Times, retrieved May 5, 2011
  13. ^ McGrory, Mary (March 13, 1977). "How Experts Can Tame Terrorists". The Pittsburgh Press. pp. B2. Retrieved May 14, 2011. One of the most "brilliantly competent" men in the field of terrorism...
  14. ^ McGrory, Mary (March 13, 1977). "Balking terrorists requires expertise". Eugene Register-Guard. pp. 17A. Retrieved May 14, 2011. the command center of Mayor Walter Washington and worked "side by side" with Police Chief Maurice J. Cullinane
  15. ^ Moore, Malcolm (March 11, 2008), "US envoy admits role in Aldo Moro killing", The Daily Telegraph, London, archived from the original on September 24, 2012, retrieved May 5, 2011
  16. ^ "Coverup charged in death of U.S. envoy". Spokane Daily Chronicle. United Press International. February 18, 1981. p. 15. Retrieved May 14, 2011. I was present. I heard it.
  17. ^ Taubman, Philip (October 13, 1982). "Psychiatrists describe kafkaesque portfolio". The New York Times. Retrieved May 14, 2011. Dr. Steve R. Pieczenik, a psychiatrist who has treated C.I.A. employees.
  18. ^ Stanton, John J. (December 1, 2001). "U.S. Intelligence Community Reaches Crossroads: CIA official says agency is implementing reforms to address new threats. (Analysis)". National Defense. National Defense Industrial Association. Retrieved May 14, 2011. Steve Pieczenik, chief executive officer of Strategic Intelligence Associates, a consulting firm.
  19. ^ "THE ANNUAL REPORT OF THE SUPERINTENDENT 1976" (PDF). Retrieved May 7, 2012.
  20. ^ "U.S. Negotiating Behavior" (PDF). Retrieved May 7, 2012.
  21. ^ Blabor. "Attention Americans." Blabor Blog., November 4, 2016 Published. Web. January 23, 2017 Accessed.Retrieved from
  22. ^ Steve Pieczenik Talks. (November 4, 2016). Steve Pieczenik Talks - Get the Truth. . Retrieved from
  23. ^ YouTube. (November 4, 2016). US Takeover May Be Near (7m40s)[Video file]. Retrieved from
  24. ^ "Drew Paul", Wikipedia, April 13, 2020, retrieved April 13, 2020
  25. ^ "Membership Roster – Council on Foreign Relations 10/06/2012". Archived from the original on October 6, 2012. Retrieved April 23, 2013.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  26. ^ "Membership Roster – Council on Foreign Relations 11/16/2012". Archived from the original on November 18, 2012. Retrieved April 23, 2013.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  27. ^ "Membership Roster – Council on Foreign Relations Current". Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  28. ^ a b c "Thomas L. Clancy, Jr. v. Wanda T. King, No. 112, September Term 2007" (PDF). Retrieved May 7, 2012.
  29. ^ "Steve Pieczenik: Books". Retrieved May 7, 2012.
  30. ^ "Steve Pieczenik". Steve Pieczenik. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
  31. ^ "AIJ 2004 to 2010 – National Military Intelligence Association". November 12, 2002. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
  32. ^ a b "Montana Integrative Medicine – Bozeman, MT :: About". Retrieved May 7, 2012.
  33. ^ Pieczenik, Steve (1997). State of Emergency (First ed.). Putnam Adult. ISBN 978-0-399-14323-6.
  34. ^ "Barnes and Noble". April 27, 2012. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
  35. ^ "Steve Pieczenik". Retrieved March 3, 2020.
  36. ^ "STEVE PIECZENIK TALKS: The September of 2012 Through The September of 2014".
  37. ^ Pieczenik, Steve R. (2014). Author. ISBN 978-0-692-31068-7.
  38. ^ Mansfield, Stephanie (February 27, 1995). "HE'S BEEN THERE, DONE THAT". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
  39. ^ "L'esperto Usa: "Così manipolammo il caso Moro"". Il Sole 24 Ore (in Italian). Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  40. ^ Borchers, Callum (June 19, 2017). "After his Megyn Kelly interview, Alex Jones is still promoting a Newtown conspiracy theory". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 9, 2020.

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