Ltc. (ret.) Karen U. Kwiatkowski is a retired U.S. Air Force officer whose assignments included duties as a Pentagon desk officer and various roles for the National Security Agency.

After retiring, she become a noted critic of the U.S. involvement in Iraq. Kwiatkowski is known for her insider essays denouncing a corrupting political influence on military intelligence, especially leading up to the 2003 Iraq. In 2012, she challenged incumbent Bob Goodlatt in the Republican primary for Virginia’s 6th district in the U.S. House of Representatives.

While in the Air Force, she wrote two books, Africa: African Crisis Response Initiative: Past Present and Future (2000) and Expeditionary Air Operations in Africa: Challenges and Solutions (2001). She contributed to Ron Paul: A Life of Ideas (2008) and Why Liberty: Personal Journeys Toward Peace and Freedom (2010). She has been featured in several documentaries, including Why We Fight (2005). She has written for since 2003 and her work has appeared in Salon and The American Conservative. She has an MA in Government from Harvard, an MS in Science Management from the University of Alaska, and a PhD in World Politics from The Catholic University of America; her thesis was titled Angola, A Case Study of the Implementation of the Reagan Doctrine. She is a founding member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

Areas of Expertise

  • National Security Intelligence interagency process

  • Iraq Wars – Intelligence case study

  • U.S. policy in Africa

  • National Security Agency operations

Recent News

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    Senior EMN Fellow Retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson shares what the public doesn’t know about former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who died on Monday. After standing by Powell’s side for more than a decade, Wilkerson gives an exclusive look at Powell’s internal conflict, blind spots and disillusionment over his role in the Iraq War.
  • Matthew Hoh: The Open Highway
    Matthew Hoh joins Eric Paul Erickson, host of The Open Highway podcast, to discuss his experience as a foreign policy strategist, disabled combat veteran and former State Department official who made worldwide headlines in 2009 when he resigned to protest the Obama administration’s escalation of the War in Afghanistan. 
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