XZRS: Lt. Col. Bill Cowan, USMC - Intelligence, Terrorism and National Security


Manage episode 276408044 series 1449088
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Intelligence, Terrorism and National Security - Lieutenant Colonel BILL COWAN is a retired Marine Corps officer and has been a public speaker and Fox News Channel contributor on matters of national security and terrorism for the past 12 years. During the height of the Iraq War he was designated by the New York Post as the best military analyst on television. A Naval Academy graduate, he served 3 1/2 years on combat assignments in Vietnam as a Marine Corps infantry officer. A platoon commander during the siege of Khe Sanh, he subsequently spent an additional 2 1/2 years as an infantry advisor in the Rung Sat Special Zone. Decorated many times for heroism, he was also awarded three purple hearts for wounds received. Following the taking of hostages in Iran in 1978 and the formation of special mission units (SMU's) to conduct operations of a sensitive, highly skilled nature, he turned down a plum White House assignment to instead become one of the early members of the Pentagon's super secret Intelligence Support Activity (ISA). While there he was a key member of the team that hunted down those responsible for the bombing of the U.S. Marine Compound in Beirut. Working directly with CIA Chief of Station William Buckley, Cowan and the team identified many of the targets and developed a plan for retaliation. Regrettably, the Pentagon refused to take action. Buckley, who was taken hostage by Hezbollah and brutally tortured, died in captivity. Bin-Laden himself termed the U.S. a 'paper tiger' for failing to respond to the bombing or to Buckley's murder. In addition to a 30 year career of special missions and activities in support of the Pentagon and the CIA, most of them into the tumultuous Middle East, Bill's experiences include service as a U.S. Senate staff assistant to Senator Warren Rudman, including working as the Senator's principal staffer during the Iran/Contra hearings and helping write the law which created the U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa; a clandestine rescue operation conducted with former CIA Director William Colby which resulted in the repatriation of a number of Americans stranded in Iraqi-occupied Kuwait; and, successful negotiations with the Iranians at the behest of the White House to secure the release of Western hostages being held in Beirut. Well known to Hezbollah, the Syrians, and the Iranians for his work against them, he is one who can speak with authority on matters of interest to many Americans. In 1995, while being interviewed by 60 Minutes' Mike Wallace in front of the destroyed U.S. Embassy in Beirut Bill opined that it was just a matter of time before we saw a similar incident in the U.S. Ironically he was less than a half mile from the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, as he watched American Airlines Flight 77 cross in front of him and hit the Pentagon. He was subsequently one of Wallace's first guests on 60 Minutes following the tragic events of 9/11. Known for telling it like it is, he's angered Republican and Democratic administrations alike with his no-nonsense approach, always basing his analysis and opinions of years of 'hands on' experience, not on academic or policy minded jargon. - www.colonelcowan.com

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