Carlos Luria
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Carlos Luria

Fee Range1: $ 2500 - $5000

CIA Insider, Author & Lecturer


AuthorCurrent EventsHistoryInternational Affairs


South Carolina


Carlos Luria

Carlos LuriaCIA Insider, Author & Lecturer

In its approach to Intelligence, America is unique: it hungers for the product; disdains its methods – but tolerates them when it feels threatened. That love/hate relationship is mirrored in CIA’s uneven performance: it achieves some brilliant successes – and suffers some abysmal failures. Carlos Luria was steeped in that process for 30 years. 

He was born and raised in Germany, educated in England and America, and recruited by CIA’s Clandestine Service as the nation geared up to meet the Soviet threat. His field and Headquarters tours gave him an unvarnished view of both the strengths and weaknesses of America’s approach to Intelligence. As an insider, he saw at first hand what worked and what didn’t, and the lessons are as valid today as they were during the Cold War. They form the basis of his talks. 

Carlos was awarded the Career Intelligence Medal, but chose early retirement when his first wife developed cancer. The couple was avid about sailing, bought a 37’ sloop and explored the Caribbean and the South Atlantic for 3 ½ years until she died. The loss of his second wife, also to cancer, spurred him to write a memoir, Skating on the Edge, in part an ode to his wives, and in part a chronicle of his CIA years. The respected quarterly journal, Studies in Intelligence, praised it as a “balanced, honest, first-hand account of life in CIA; definitely worth reading.” The book’s royalties are donated to charity. 

Appalled by the transformation that occurred when America became the world’s only super-power, abandoned its moral compass and panicked on 9/11, Carlos began to speak out.  No major, industrial nation, he argues, can survive without timely and accurate information, but a democracy must obtain such intelligence without trashing its core values – too grossly. The terrorist, he insists, can be defeated, but by brains rather than by brawn. With candor and with humor, his multi-media presentations explore the challenges and their solutions. 



ARGO:  The Background        The film about the  CIA’s rescue of six Americans trapped in Iran in 1979 tells only half the story.  Carlos was the EXO of the component that played the key role in their escape, and the background of the events leading up to it are as gripping as the escape itself. 

We Came That Close:  The Cuban Missile Crisis    2012 marked the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis – a bogus crisis the January 2013 issue of the Atlantic asserts, that was manufactured by President Kennedy for political purposes.  The talk explores the COBRA Operation that confirms the author’s facts (though no his conclusions).  It provided the ‘perfect intelligence’ that alerted us.  Only it wasn’t quite ‘perfect’ – as Secretary McNamara discovered, 30 years later. 

1961:  The Watershed Year    It was called the Cold War’s most dangerous year:  the botched attempt to overthrow Castro; the disastrous Summit with Nikita Khruschchev; the Berlin Wall; and the Soviet and American confrontation of October that almost started WWIII.  The talk explores the events that led to the Berlin Wall – and the operation that tipped us off. 

The Terrorist’s Playbook     Many believe that the terrorist is out to kill Americans.  In part, perhaps, but his aim is far more ambitious:  to get us to destroy ourselves.  It is the classic Sun Tzu model, articulated 2500 years ago:  The opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.  And it is working.  Even a botched attempt such as Times Square creates a fear that makes the public willing to further whittle away its Constitutional protections in pursuit of Security.




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