Rudy Atallah

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Rudy Atallah was the Africa Counterterrorism director at the US Department of Defense, having retired, as a lieutenant colonel, U.S. Air Force, from a post as Africa Counter-Terrorism Director and Tunisia, Morocco Country Director in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense (OSD). He is founder and CEO of White Mountain Research, a firm that provides research and analysis to government and corporate clients that desire to anticipate and prevent security threats. [1]

Born in Lebanon and an immigrant to the U.S., he is an advisory board member of the U.S. Committee for a Free Lebanon.[2] He told an interviewer that "voting as a citizen of the United States is an "honor and privilege" as well as a right that U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Rudy Atallah says he never has taken for granted since leaving his native Lebanon to attend the University of Connecticut in the mid-1980s, later becoming a U.S. citizen and military pilot.[3]

From his travels, his photography is on many Internet sites, such as an 7000-year old rock carving of giraffes in Dabous, Niger [4]

Current events

Speaking in his consulting role, he told an interviewer, in August 2009, that al-Qaeda may be establishing a sanctuary in Yemen. "The Yemeni government, unfortunately, does not have a lot of control over the country...They have control over Sana'a and just right around the capital. And that's about it. And the rest of the country is pretty much lawless."[5]

He also spoke on the piracy situation off Somalia in September 2009, after the U.S. raid on al-Shabaab. Poverty and illiteracy drive piracy, he said, especially for men in the 16-25 age group. The pirates have transferred some of the traditions of camel rustling; they name a captured vessel after their favorite camel. Radical Islam was not described as part of the problem, but, he said, the pirate money bringing in alcohol and other un-Islamic ways are causing social tensions in the town of Eyl, a pirate stronghold. [6]

Military career

As a military officer, he served as a Command Pilot, Wing Safety Officer, Defense Attache and OSD Africa Counter-terrorism Director.

He is a Senior Pilot and aviation crash investigator. During the Gulf War, and in humanitarian relief to Somalia, he flew C-141 Starlifter transports.