Mr. Mike J. Boettcher is Senior Fellow, University of Oklahoma Center for Intelligence and National Security and the Gaylord Visiting Professional Professor, Gaylord College of Journalism & Mass Communications. Mr. Boettcher is one of the world’s most experienced foreign correspondents, covering wars and revolutions in every part of the globe and has been recognized with journalism’s top awards for his coverage of events that shaped the world since 1980. In a three-decade network career with NBC News and CNN, he received national recognition in all facets of broadcast journalism – breaking news, feature, war coverage and investigative reporting. He was also recognized for his investigations of the world’s most dangerous terrorist groups. As the chief correspondent for CNN’s terrorism investigation unit, a team he created in the summer of 2001, Boettcher was awarded a Peabody, his 3rd of four National Emmys and a National Headliner award. He also helped launch the era of 24-hour live news coverage when on June 1, 1980, he performed the first live satellite report for a fledgling network called CNN.
In three decades of assignments covering world conflict for NBC News and CNN, he has witnessed, investigated and been a victim of terrorism himself. He was kidnapped and threatened with execution in El Salvador in 1985. Twenty years later, he survived a suicide bomber attack and a roadside bombing in Baghdad. Boettcher covered the emergence of modern terrorist tactics in the early 1980’s in Lebanon when the U.S. Marine barracks was bombed, killing 241. He covered the Pan AM 103 tragedy in Lockerbie and was assigned to investigate it. Boettcher led NBC’s investigation of the Oklahoma City bombing and was one of three journalists allowed to speak to Timothy McVeigh in prison. Since 1998, when the U.S. embassies in Africa were bombed, he has been assigned to investigate every major Al Qaeda attack against American targets.
Boettcher, who was one of a small group of reporters embedded with U.S. Special Forces during Operation Iraqi Freedom, has reported extensively from Iraq and Afghanistan. His experience covering Iraq dates back to Operation Desert Storm in 1991 when he was embedded with U.S. Marines. That same year he won an Emmy for his coverage of the Kurdish refugee crisis in Iraq. He left NBC News in 2008 to pursue the ‘No Ignoring’ project – the only entity embedded full time with U.S. troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. As part of the project, he lectured weekly, via satellite, from Iraq to the University of Oklahoma’s groundbreaking War and Media class. He is writing a book about the threat Al-Qa’ida poses titled The Network.
Boettcher is frequently asked to lecture on the subject of terrorism and journalism at some of the world’s top institutions and corporations, including London’s Royal United Services Institute, Sweden’s National Defense College, Scotland’s St. Andrews University, West Point’s Senior Leaders Conference, U.S. Army Europe, U.S. Army War College, the Aerospace Industries Association, and General Dynamics Corporation.