Thomas (Tom) Pecora has 30 years of experience working in the security field, 24 years working in the CIA. He retired from the CIA as GS 15 Senior Security Manager working in protective operations, counterterrorism, and security training, most of it operating in low intensity conflict areas. Tom held senior security positions in the Middle East and Asia including Iraq from 2004 – 2005, where he was responsible for countrywide security programs ensuring the safety of all CIA personnel in high threat environments.
A seasoned protective operation veteran, Tom led teams protecting CIA personnel and visiting VIP personnel to include the President, Vice President, as well as Senate and Congressional Delegations. He spent 3 years providing protective operations training to foreign government protective services from Latin America, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. Tom received the CIA’s second highest award for valor – the Intelligence Star, for actions in Somalia in 1993. He also received 10 Exceptional Performance Awards. After retiring in 2013, he was awarded the CIA’s Career Intelligence Medal for service reflecting exceptional achievements. Tom has a Masters of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Marquette University.
Read BookTrib’s review of Thomas Pecora’s book, Guardian: Life in the Crosshairs of the CIA’s War on Terror.
Visit his publisher’s page on Post Hill Press for more information.
Biggest literary influencers:
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Ian Fleming, Frank Herbert
Last book read:
Dead Eye by Mark Greaney
The book that changed your life:
The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay – this book parallels my difficult childhood and my desire to achieve great things and have great adventures. It showed how as insignificant we may seem as an individual, we still have the capability to impact others and make a big difference.
Your favorite literary character:
“Burke” from the series by Andrew Vachss. Burke straddles the world between the criminals and the “civilians” never really living in either of them – something I have done with my CIA career. His fierce loyalty to his intentional, not biological family combined with his unique personal code give him a logical framework to operate in the midst of a chaotic world that does not understand him. Burke is willing to stand up to adversity and not give in to convenience or political expediency.
Currently working on:
A fictional thriller combining counter-terrorism and crime.
Words to live by:
“There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till.”
Advice to new and aspiring authors:
Writing about your passion helps you to enjoy the process.
Articles / Reviews:
“Thomas Pecora has finally answered the question of ‘Who Protects the Spies?’ In a groundbreaking personal account detailing a long and illustrious career in the service of the CIA, Pecora takes the reader on a wild travelogue of the last quarter century of high-threat American intrigue and, in the process, provides a rarely seen glimpse into the shadowy world of clandestine service and individual sacrifice.”
—Samuel M. Katz, NY Times bestselling co-author of Under Fire: The Untold Story of the Attack in Benghazi and Beirut Rules: The Murder of a CIA Station Chief and Hezbollah’s War Against America
“Tom’s book takes the reader through Tom’s twenty-four years of experience working in protective operations, counterterrorism, along with conducting security training programs in high-risk locations such as Mogadishu, Sudan, Bosnia, Philippines, and Iraq.
Although not intended to be a Protective Services Training Manual, Tom’s book supplies more educational content than most books that are meant to be training manuals. After more than forty plus years providing Protective Driving services, I was especially impressed with Tom’s discussion of how he and his team escaped a vehicle ambush in Mogadishu. Along with ‘Getting Off The X,’ Tom discusses the process used to get a severely wounded comrade back to safety. The end result is saving the individual’s life. This event is only one of the many real-life learning experiences that present the reader with invaluable lessons learned.
The book not only discusses the operational aspects of his career, but Tom also covers the seldom talked about toll that these professions can take on your personal life. He concludes his book with an outstanding discussion on the sorely needed topic of leadership in protective services operations, which in itself is worth reading the book.
You will not find many books that cover the topics and lessons learned from the experiences presented in Tom’s book, simply because few people on this planet have experienced
these events and are willing to share their knowledge.”
—Tony Scotti, President of the International Security Driver’s Association (ISDA), editor of the Security Driver Magazine, and Executive Vice President of Tony Scotti’s Vehicle Dynamics Institute (TSVDI)