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Bill Harlow is a writer, consultant and public relations specialist with over thirty years of experience including assignments in some of the toughest communications positions in the U.S. government. He spent seven years as the top spokesman for the Central Intelligence Agency and four years at the White House handling national security media matters for two Presidents.
Since August 2004, Harlow has been in private practice, providing public relations advice to government agencies, trade associations, and prominent public figures. From 2004-2009 he was an on and off-air consultant to NBC News and appeared on such programs as NBC Nightly News and MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews.
From 1997 to 2004 he was chief spokesman for the CIA. In that position he dealt with national and international news media on some of the most sensitive issues and operations of the United States government. He coordinated all public communications for the Director of Central Intelligence and was responsible for employee communications for the Agency’s worldwide workforce. He was a member of the Senior Intelligence Service.
Prior to joining the CIA, Harlow had a distinguished 25 year career in the United States Navy, concluding with the rank of Captain. He was Assistant White House Press Secretary for Foreign Affairs and National Security during both the Reagan and George H.W. Bush Administrations. Harlow traveled the world with two Presidents, helping to set up summit meetings and deal with media interest on some of the most news worthy events of modern times including the fall of the Soviet Union and the first Gulf War.
In addition to his military and government communications career, Harlow is an accomplished writer. He co-authored: "Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives" with Jose Rodriguez, the former Director of the CIA's National Clandestine Service. The book debuted at #2 on the New York Times best seller list on May 20,2012. Harlow as also co-author of George Tenet’s 2007 New York Times #1 best seller “At the Center of the Storm.” Harlow’s highly acclaimed novel, “Circle William,” was published by Scribner in 1999 and in paperback by Pocket Books in 2001. Paramount Pictures optioned the story to develop it as a major motion picture.
In 2008 Harlow joined forces with long-time NBC TV correspondent Fred Francis to form: “15-Seconds” – a media training and crisis communications consulting firm.
He has been awarded the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, two Defense Superior Service Medals, three Legions of Merit, the Presidential Service Badge and numerous other military and Intelligence Community commendations.