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Secrets and Survival in the Mideast: A Former CIA Agent Shares Her Story

Evening Program with Book Signing

Wednesday, July 25, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Code: 1W0031

Michele Rigby Assad spent a decade in some of world’s most treacherous places as an undercover officer in the Central Intelligence Agency’s Directorate of Operations. Trained as a counterterrorism specialist, Assad worked in Iraq and other secret Middle Eastern locations, leading some of the most highly skilled operatives in the world.

Her job was a highly dangerous one—made even more challenging by the fact that Assad was working within a paternalistic culture that could not conceive of a woman being an intelligence agent or part of the messy world of terrorism and sectarian conflict.

Drawing on her recent memoir Breaking Cover: My Secret Life in the CIA and What It Taught Me About What’s Worth Fighting For (Tyndale Momentum), Assad reveals how she turned the factors seemingly working against her as a clandestine Mideast operative—including her small stature and her friendliness—into strategic advantages.

She discusses how she combined her knowledge of Arab culture with intuition, emotional intelligence, finely honed listening and observational skills, and the art of surprise to gain sensitive information from secret sources, thwart potential terrorist attacks, and know whom to trust when a single miscalculation could become a matter of life and death.

Assad’s book is available for sale and signing.

American Women's History Initiative

S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)