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Matthew Levitt

Fromer-Wexler Fellow
Director, Jeanette and Eli Reinhard Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence

Tel: 202-230-9550 (media inquiries only) 202-452-0650 (all other inquiries)
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Matthew Levitt is the Fromer-Wexler Fellow and director of the Reinhard Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at The Washington Institute.

Areas of Expertise

Lebanon, Palestinians, Terrorism

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Biography

Matthew Levitt is the Fromer-Wexler Fellow at The Washington Institute and director of its Jeanette and Eli Reinhard Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. From 2005 to early 2007, he served as deputy assistant secretary for intelligence and analysis at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. In that capacity, he served both as a senior official within the department's terrorism and financial intelligence branch and as deputy chief of the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, one of sixteen U.S. intelligence agencies coordinated under the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. During his tenure at Treasury, Dr. Levitt played a central role in efforts to protect the U.S. financial system from abuse and to deny terrorists, weapons proliferators, and other rogue actors the ability to finance threats to U.S. national security. In 2008-2009, he served as a State Department counterterrorism advisor to the special envoy for Middle East regional security (SEMERS), General James L. Jones.

From 2001 to 2005, Dr. Levitt served the Institute as founding director of its Terrorism Research Program (now renamed as above), which was established in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Previously, he served as a counterterrorism intelligence analyst at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), where he provided tactical and strategic analytical support for counterterrorism operations, focusing on fundraising and logistical support networks for Middle Eastern terrorist groups. During his FBI service, Dr. Levitt participated as a team member in a number of crisis situations, including the terrorist threat surrounding the turn of the millennium and the September 11 attacks. He has earned numerous awards and commendations for his government service at both the FBI and the Treasury Department.

Dr. Levitt holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Yeshiva University, as well as a master's degree in law and diplomacy and a doctorate from Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He was a graduate research fellow at Harvard Law School's Program on Negotiation and has taught at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, and Hopkins’ Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Levitt has served as an expert witness in several criminal and civil cases, lectured on international terrorism on behalf of the Departments of State, Justice, Defense, and Homeland Security, consulted for various U.S. government agencies and private industry, and testified before the Senate and House on matters relating to international terrorism. He has held fellowships with the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security (CCHS) at the George Washington University, is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and serves as a member of the international advisory board for both the Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Israel and the International Centre for Political Violence & Terrorism Research in Singapore. He serves on the advisory board of Foundation for Defense of Democracies' Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance (CSIF) and formerly served on the academic advisory board for the Emirati Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR).

Dr. Levitt has written extensively on terrorism, countering violent extremism, illicit finance and sanctions, the Middle East, and Arab-Israeli peace negotiations, with articles appearing in peer-reviewed journals, policy magazines, and the press, including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and numerous other publications. He is also a frequent guest on the national and international media, and the author of several books and monographs, including Hamas: Politics, Charity and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad (Yale University Press, 2006), Negotiating Under Fire: Preserving Peace Talks in the Face of Terror Attacks (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008), and Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon's Party of God (Georgetown University Press, 2013).

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Publications

Neither Remaining Nor Expanding: The Decline of the Islamic State

July 25, 2018

Policy Focus, Counterterrorism Lecture

The Rise of ISIL:

August 29, 2016

Policy Focus, Counterterrorism Lecture

From the Boston Marathon to the Islamic State: Countering Violent Extremism

April 1, 2015

Policy Focus, Counterterrorism Lecture

No Good Outcome:

November 26, 2013

Policy Focus

Fighting the Ideological Battle

July 8, 2010

Strategic Reports

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Most Recent Analysis

The Counter-ISIS Coalition Has Much to Do After Baghdadi’s Death

November 7, 2019

After Baghdadi: How the Islamic State Rebounds

October 28, 2019

Hezbollah Prioritizes Its Own Interests, Putting Lebanon at Risk

October 3, 2019

The Men Responsible for the AMIA Bombing Are Known—and Still at Large

August 12, 2019

Inside Hezbollah’s American Sleeper Cells: Waiting for Iran’s Signal to Strike U.S. and Israeli Targets

August 4, 2019

Hezbollah Isn’t Just in Beirut. It’s in New York, Too.

June 14, 2019

Europe Has Not Faced Up to the Threat of Hizbollah

June 9, 2019

Does Designation of the Revolutionary Guards Make a Difference?

April 18, 2019

What Will IRGC Designation Actually Do?

April 8, 2019

The Battle Against Extremism: Assessment and Prescriptions

March 25, 2019

See all analysis by this author

Selected Outside Publications

"Hamas's Ideological Crisis," in Current Trends in Islamist Ideology (2009)

"Foreign Fighters and Their Economic Impact: A Case Study of Syria and al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI)," in Perspectives on Terrorism September (2009)

"Hezbollah Finances: Funding the Party of God," in Terrorism Financing and State Responses: a Comparative Perspective (Stanford University Press, 2007)

"Hamas Social Welfare: In the Service of Terror," in The Making of a Terrorist: Recruitment, Training, and Root Causes (New York: Praeger Publishers, 2005)

"The Impact of Acute Security Crises on the Process of Ongoing Negotiations: Lessons from the Palestinian-Israeli Peace Process, 1993-1996" (Ph.D. dissertation, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, 2005).

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