Milton Bearden served thirty years in the Central Intelligence Agency’s clandestine services where he became one of the agency’s most senior officers before retiring in 1994. Mr. Bearden was awarded the CIA’s highest decoration, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, for his three years of service in Pakistan and Afghanistan in the 1980s. During that time, Mr. Bearden led the CIA Covert Action support the Afghan Resistance in their struggle against the Soviet Union.
During Mr. Bearden’s career, he directed the CIA’s clandestine operations in the Soviet Union, served as the CIA Chief in Nigeria and later Khartoum, and ended his career as the CIA Chief in Bonn where he worked with a newly reunified German government. For his service in Germany Mr. Bearden, was honored by the German President with the Federal Cross of Merit, the only such decoration ever given to a CIA Chief in the Federal Republic.
From 1989 to 1992, Mr. Bearden directed the CIA’s clandestine operations against a decaying Soviet Empire. During this period, Mr. Bearden was awarded the CIA’s unique Donovan Award, named after its founder.
Mr. Bearden is the author of The Black Tulip, a novel of war in Afghanistan. He is a contributor to the editorial pages of The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and has contributed to Foreign Affairs, The National Interest, and The National Journal. He also coauthored “How Did This Happen?” a book on September 11, 2001. Mr. Bearden also served as technical advisor to Robert DeNiro on Meet the Parents, Ronin and The Good Shepherd and worked with director Mike Nichols and producer Tom Hanks on the film Charlie Wilson’s War.
Mr. Bearden served in the United States Air Force with duty in the PACAF. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and of the Yale University Institute of Far Eastern Languages (Mandarin Chinese). He lives in Austin, Texas with his French-born wife, Marie-Catherine, a professor at the University of Texas.