Milton Bearden


Milton Bearden is a Distinguished Fellow at the Center for the National Interest.

During his thirty-year career with the CIA, Bearden was a station chief in Pakistan, Nigeria, Sudan, and Germany, and he also served in Hong Kong and various postings in Europe. In 1986, he was put in charge of the CIA’s covert support to mujahedeen fighting against Soviet forces in Afghanistan. He later became chief of the storied Soviet/East European division in CIA’s Directorate of Operations during the collapse of USSR and end of the Cold War.

Bearden is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, with a BA in linguistics, and of the Yale Institute of Far Eastern Languages. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the Intelligence Medal of Merit, the Donovan Award, and the Federal Cross of Merit from the German Federal Republic for his service in Germany at the end of the Cold War. He is the author of The Main Enemy: The Inside Story of the CIA’s Final Showdown with the KGB (with James Risen) and The Black Tulip: A Novel of War in Afghanistan. His work has appeared in the New York TimesWall Street JournalForeign Affairs, and The National Interest. He has also consulted on several films, including The Good Shepherd and Charlie Wilson’s War.