Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer (ret.) is a CIA trained former senior intelligence officer and the New York Times bestselling author of Operation “Dark Heart: Spycraft an Special Operations on the Frontlines of Afghanistan – And The Path to Victory.” His latest book is The Last Line. He is a frequent guest on Fox News and is available as a speaker at the Macmillan Speakers Bureau.
He is a senior fellow with both the London Center for Policy Research and the Center for Advanced Defense Studies. The opinions reflected here are those solely of Lt. Col. Shaffer — and are not the opinion of the London Center for Policy Research (LCPR), the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (CADS) or of any other group or organization with which Lt. Col. Shaffer is affiliated.
Lt Col Tony Shaffer (retired) is highly experienced intelligence officer, and recipient of the Bronze Star, with 30 years of field and operational experience.
Tony has commanded and directed several key operational intelligence organizations.
These include Special Mission Task Force STRATUS IVY, that conducted direct support to DoD compartmented activities (OSD, SOCOM, JSOC, Army) which was focused on offensive information operations.
In addition, he was in charge of Field Operating Base (FOB) Alpha, a joint DIA/CIA unit conducting classified collection and special operations support regarding terrorists just after the 9/11 attacks.
During the 1980s, Tony was a counterintelligence officer.
He deployed to Germany to conduct counterterrorism operations in 1985 as part of REFORGER and worked in New York City as part of Army’s anti‐terrorism efforts during OPSAIL 1986 – the re‐opening of the Statue of Liberty.
He also worked to monitor Soviet military officers visiting the United States during the INF Treaty missile eliminations, as well as a reserve tour with Army Foreign Counterintelligence Activity (FCA).
Lt Col Shaffer transitioned into the Foreign Intelligence area of focus with his graduation from “The Farm” in 1988, and his work at Air Force Special Activities Center (AFSAC) where he worked as a case officer.
He was brought to active duty by the Army for the first Gulf War in 1991 and transitioned into the Army’s Military Intelligence Excepted Career Program (MIECP) where he became the chief of Army’s global Controlled HUMINT collection program, and ran specific Special Access Program (SAP) operations that netted highly.
As a reservist during this period he was the senior HUMINT advisor to the J2/Senior Intelligence Officer of Joint Interagency Task Force East (JIATF‐E) that conducted counter‐drug operations in the Transit Zone. During this tour he was successful in integrating highly specialized hybrid technology/human intelligence operations to obtain high value intelligence information to support the operational forces.
In 1995, Tony transitioned to Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), as part of the consolidation of all Service (Army, Navy,Air Force, USMC) HUMINT into the Department of Defense. He became a Senior Intelligence Officer (Operations) and created Task Force STRATUS IVY that conducted the full spectrum of support to Department of Defense, Special Operations Command and other non‐DoD agencies.
This included support to the controversial counterterrorism project known as ABLE DANGER – a pre‐9/11 offensive operation suite designed to detect, degrade and counter Al Qaeda capabilities. In 2001, just after the 9/11 attacks, he was returned to active duty for a 30 month period, during which he commanded a DIA operating base (OB Alpha) and had two successful combat tours to Afghanistan.
During his two successful, undercover, combat tours he participated in the search for senior Al Qaeda leadership in Afghanistan. These operations provide him with a unique viewpoint on terrorism and its roots in southwest Asia.
His New York Times (NYT) and International bestselling memoir, Operation DARK HEART: Spycraft and Special Ops on the Frontlines of Afghanistan – and the Path to Victory, provides an unprecedented look at intelligence operations during a period in the Afghanistan war, in 2003, where a small number of operators were able to effectively control this large country.
In recognition of successful high risk/high gain operations Tony received the Bronze Star Medal (BSM) for performance as an Operations Officer of the HUMINT Support Detachment in Afghanistan supporting CJTF 180 and the Chief of the HUMINT Support Element (HSE) for CJTF 121.
Lt Col Shaffer serves a senior fellow at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (CADS) he has conducted multiple courses of instruction, to include the Psychology of Terrorism, Leadership and Effects Based Operations.
He has testified before Congress on key intelligence issues, lectured at the U.S. Army War College and is nationally known Subject Matter Expert (SME) intelligence collection and policy, terrorism, data mining, situational awareness and adaptive/disruptive technologies.
He is also a senior advisor to multiple organizations on terrorism, cyber operations and counterinsurgency issues and a member of the US Nuclear Strategy Forum. Tony is a frequent guest on national electronic media (TV and radio) and is frequently quoted in print media as an analyst regarding defense issues.