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My Secret Life in the CIA

The CIA is looking for walking contradictions.

You must keep secrets but skillfully persuade others to tell you theirs. You have to love your country but willingly leave it behind for dangerous operations around the world. You need to live a double life but be trustworthy enough to carry out the nation’s most sensitive tasks.

Michele Rigby Assad was one of those people. Working undercover for the CIA, she served in treacherous areas throughout the Middle East—a woman leading some of the most highly skilled operatives on the planet.

The threats were real.

The missions were perilous.

And deep inside, Michele wondered: Could she really do this job or had she misunderstood her life’s calling?

In Breaking Cover, Michele has at last been cleared to drop cover and tell her story of incredible struggle, of unexpected challenges and thwarted missions, and most significantly, of powerfully realizing what really matters in the face of her greatest fears.

Coming February 2018!  Sign up for updates and announcements about “Breaking Cover.”

Available February 2018 at bookstores everywhere:

About Michele Rigby Assad

Michele Rigby Assad is a former undercover officer in the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s Directorate of Operations. Trained as a counterterrorism specialist, Michele served her country for ten years, working in Iraq and other secret Middle Eastern locations.

Upon retirement from active service, Michele and her husband Joseph (also a former agent) joined a group of Americans who wished to aid persecuted Christians. Their efforts resulted in the evacuation of a group from northern Iraq that was featured on ABC’s 20/20 in December 2015.

Michele holds a master’s degree in Contemporary Arab Studies from Georgetown University. Today she serves as an international security consultant, splitting her time between the Middle East, Florida, and Washington, D.C.

Photograph by Axel Muench  www.axelmuench.com

 What Others Are Saying about Breaking Cover

  • Michele Assad is one of our favs!  Her open, authentic and engaging style made her an immediate hit among our students, and her stories brought the classroom discussions to life.

    Dr. Robert Wharton Professor of Business @ La Tourneau University
  • Michele Assad’s stories of life in the CIA are riveting, and she tells them in a way that captures the astounding nature of her experiences in the Middle East. She challenged us to pursue a fresh perspective on the interaction between Christianity and Islam and the role of America in the world.

    Dr. Tom St. Antoine Professor of Communication and Director of the Frederick M. Supper Honors Program @ Palm Beach Atlantic University
  • Our organization has monthly speakers and we’ve seen and heard from our fair share of amazing people. Michele was different, however. She was unique to her story but her story was really all of our stories. We were able to relate to how we underestimate our own capabilities. Whether you are a CIA Intelligence Officer or a Homemaker, she shares how the power we all have to create our own destinies has always been within us. Wonderful presentation!

    Korrie Stevenson President / Winter Park Republican Women, Federated

Watch Michele on ABC’s 20/20 special, “Escaping ISIS”


Book Michele for your event

Michele has extensive experience:

  • speaking to large, live audiences (human rights conferences, women’s groups, civic organizations, church groups, college classrooms and chapel services),
  • being on television (providing interviews throughout her educational career and starring in a television commercial in Egypt), and
  • providing training for CIA officers on counterterrorism and counterintelligence issues.

Michele’s presentations are great for sales and negotiation training, managing teams, and working with colleagues/collaboration.

Michele enjoys speaking to women’s groups, providing personal security training to international travelers, and showing business teams how they can apply intelligence lessons to workplace productivity, sales and team culture.

What Dealing With Terrorists Taught Me About Business

  • How to build rapport using intelligence profiling secrets
  • How to read body language to learn how others are experiencing you or the environment
  • Learn to leverage a technique called “framing” to avoid confrontation and find ways to exploit areas of commonality

My Advantage as a Woman in the CIA

  • Use in-the-field techniques to turn challenging situations around so that you leave conversations in a positive way
  • Leverage women’s intuition to gain an “unfair” advantage in high-stakes negotiations
  • Ninja strategies to engage women and minorities in important conversations for collaboration and growth

Going Undercover: Finding Your Purpose in a Dangerous World

  • Secrets for escaping an attack or surviving an ambush that you can apply to pushing out of your comfort zone
  • How “going to war” teaches you to manage fear and elevates your game to elite levels
  • The role of faith in dealing with terrorists — and overcoming in life


Request a media interview, book Michele to speak, or ask Michele a question!

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