Richard Clarke: Former National Coordinator for Security

Richard Clarke: Former National Coordinator for Security

 By Charles Joseph | Cybersecurity Advocate
 Last update: November 25, 2023

Richard Clarke is a well-known figure in the field of counter-terrorism and cyber security. He is recognized for his service in the US government, mainly in intelligence and counter-terrorism operations. Clarke served for about 30 years, during which he worked under three different Presidents: Reagan, Clinton, and both Bushes. His pivotal role was as the National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism during the Clinton Administration. After leaving public service, Clarke turned to writing and has authored several popular books on national security issues.

1. Richard Clarke’s Role in the US Government

Richard Clarke is celebrated for his lengthy and significant service in the US government. His career spanned across the administrations of three presidents: Reagan, Bush, and Clinton. During these periods, he played a pivotal role in national security, infrastructure protection, and counter-terrorism.

Clarke broke into the public service scene during the Reagan administration. His talents and dedication quickly became apparent, leading to his appointment as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence. It was during this time that Clarke earned his reputation as a proficient intelligence operative.

Under the Clinton administration, Clarke rose to prominence when he was appointed as the National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism. This appointment saw him play a significant role in handling and coordinating the nation’s security measures and responses to terrorist threats.

2. Influence on Counter-terrorism Policies

One of Richard Clarke’s key contributions in the US government was his influence on shaping counter-terrorism policies. He was a leading voice on matters of national security, and his insights and recommendations often played a crucial part in determining the direction of these policies.

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Following the alarming rise in global terrorism in the 1990s, Clarke was among those who spearheaded a change in the US’s approach towards counter-terrorism. He advocated for a more proactive and preventative stance, which greatly influenced the adaptation and implementation of policy changes.

Even after his departure from public service, Clarke continues his advocacy for strong and efficient counter-terrorism measures. His influence on policies related to national security and anti-terrorism continues to be felt and respected in the corridors of power.

3. Transition from Public Service to Writing Career

After dedicating nearly 30 years to public service, Richard Clarke transitioned into a new phase of his career as a writer and commentator. His understanding and experience of national security issues have greatly influenced his writing style and content.

Clarke has penned several books on national security matters. His first book, “Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror,” became a bestseller. It offered an insightful, behind-the-scenes look at America’s counter-terrorism efforts, particularly focused on the 9/11 attacks.

Besides writing books, Clarke also contributes articles and analysis to various news outlets and academic journals, continually sharing his knowledge and perspective on topics of counter-terrorism and cyber security. His writing’s strength continues to stem from his years of experience and in-depth understanding of the complexities of the war on terror.


Richard Clarke’s extensive career in the US government and his influence on counter-terrorism policies have left an indelible mark on the nation’s security landscape. His subsequent transition to a writing career allowed him to continue sharing his insights and expertise, solidifying his position as a key voice in the discourse on national security and counter-terrorism.

Key Takeaways

  • Richard Clarke had a significant 30-year career in the US government, serving under both Bush administrations, the Reagan administration, and the Clinton administration.
  • As the National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism under Clinton, Clarke played a major role in shaping and executing the nation’s counter-terrorism strategies.
  • Clarke influenced major counter-terrorism policy changes, pushing for a more proactive and preventative approach.
  • After leaving public service, Clarke became a successful author, providing insightful commentaries on national security issues.
  • His writings, which include his best-selling book “Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror,” draw on his vast experience in the field of counter-terrorism.

Related Questions

1. What specific policy changes did Clarke advocate for?

Clarke championed many changes to counter-terrorism policies, where he suggested a more proactive and preventative approach to handling terrorism threats in place of mere reactive strategies.

2. Does Richard Clarke still contribute to current counter-terrorism discussions?

Yes, despite having left public service, Richard Clarke continues to influence discussions on counter-terrorism through his writings and frequent media appearances.

3. Are there other books written by Richard Clarke apart from “Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror”?

Yes, Richard Clarke has authored several other books related to national security and cyber threats including “Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It”.

4. How did Clarke’s experience in the government affect his writing career?

His years of firsthand governmental experience profoundly influence Clarke’s writing—he offers insightful, behind-the-scenes perspectives that are difficult for other authors to replicate.

5. How did Richard Clarke influence cyber security policy?

Clarke, a recognized expert in cyber security, was a key player in shaping America’s policies in this area. He consistently advocated for sturdy defense mechanisms against potential cyber threats and the necessity of staying ahead in the domain of cyber warfare.

"Amateurs hack systems, professionals hack people."
-- Bruce Schneier, a renown computer security professional