skip to Main Content

Jim Olson

Jim Olson
  • Professor Olson received his law degree from the University of Iowa in 1969.
  • He is a Senior Lecturer at the Bush School, where he teaches courses on intelligence, national security, and international crisis management.
  • He served for over 25 years in the Directorate of Operations of the Central Intelligence Agency, mostly overseas in clandestine operations.

Professor Olson received his law degree from the University of Iowa in 1969. He is a Senior Lecturer at the Bush School, where he teaches courses on intelligence, national security, and international crisis management. He served for over 30 years in the Directorate of Operations of the Central Intelligence Agency, mostly overseas in clandestine operations. In addition to several foreign assignments, he was Chief of Counterintelligence at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Professor Olson has been awarded the Intelligence Medal of Merit, the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal, the Donovan Award, and several Distinguished Service Citations. He is the recipient of awards from the Bush School and the Association of Former Students for excellence in teaching. Professor Olson is the author of Fair Play: The Moral Dilemmas of Spying, published by Potomac Books in 2006.

A Different Kind of Career: Under Cover in the CIA

Imagine living a lie for 31 years. That’s what James Olson and his wife Meredith did while spying for the CIA. Spying for his country was the furthest thing from his mind when Olson, a farm boy from Iowa, received a mysterious phone call that changed his life forever. In his presentation, Olson takes you inside the real world of being a CIA spy. He describes the rigorous training they receive and the difficult dilemmas that they face in the field on a daily basis. Olson explains how the global war on terror affects everyone and that the country needs to know that the United States will be hit again within its borders. The United States needs spies to protect the country and its vital interests.

James Olson, former CIA Chief of Counterintelligence, will describe his undercover career in the CIA, including how he was recruited, the training he received, the risks he and his wife faced (she was also a CIA operative), and the effect of this undercover lifestyle on their marriage and children. Mr. Olson will also discuss the role of the CIA in the current Global War on Terrorism and other current issues affecting the safety and security of American citizens. Finally, Mr. Olson will take the audience on an actual espionage operation he and his wife carried out in Moscow at the height of the Cold War. Time will be left at the end for Q&A

Back To Top