Hillary Mann Leverett, former State Department official and co-founder of The Race For Iran, discusses her article “Misrepresenting the Iran-Al-Qa’ida ‘Connection;'” how US hardball diplomacy with Iran squandered an opportunity to acquire al-Qaeda’s “next bin Laden” Saif al-Adel; why the US protected the MEK even though the group was on the State Department’s terrorism list and fought with Saddam’s regime against US troops in Iraq; Iran’s cooperation with the US on terrorism issues (both countries had grievances against al-Qaeda), including official talks between 2001-03; Iran’s problems repatriating Egyptians and bin Laden family members capturing after fleeing Afghanistan; and how the US media misleads Americans into believing Iran supports al-Qaeda.
MP3 here. (20:08)
Hillary Mann Leverett has more than 20 years of academic, legal, business, diplomatic, and policy experience working on Middle Eastern issues. In the George W. Bush Administration, she worked as Director for Iran, Afghanistan and Persian Gulf Affairs at the National Security Council, Middle East expert on the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff, and Political Advisor for Middle East, Central Asian and African issues at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. From 2001-2003, she was one of a small number of U.S. diplomats authorized to negotiate with the Iranians over Afghanistan, al-Qa’ida and Iraq. In the Clinton Administration, Leverett also served as Political Advisor for Middle East, Central Asian and African issues for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, Associate Director for Near Eastern Affairs at the National Security Council, and Special Assistant to the Ambassador at the U.S. embassy in Cairo. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and a Watson Fellowship, and in 1990-1991 worked in the U.S. embassies in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Egypt and Israel, and was part of the team that reopened the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait after the first Gulf War.
Ms. Leverett has published extensively on Iran as well as on other Middle Eastern, Central and South Asian, and Russian issues. She has spoken about U.S.-Iranian relations at Harvard, MIT, the National Defense University, NYU, the Norwegian Institute for International Affairs, and major research centers in China. She has appeared on news and public affairs programs on BBC, CNN, MSNBC, and Al Jazeera (Arabic and English), and was featured in the highly acclaimed BBC documentary, Iran and the West. Along with Flynt Leverett, she appeared in the PBS Frontline documentary, “Showdown With Iran”, and was profiled in Esquire magazine. She has provided expert testimony to the U.S. House Government Reform and Oversight Committee.
Ms. Leverett is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Brandeis University. She also studied at the American University in Cairo and Tel Aviv University.