Tracy Walder
Former CIA Officer and FBI Agent

Tracy worked as Staff Operations Officer (SOO) at the Central Intelligence Agency’s Counterterrorism Center Weapons of Mass Destruction Group. During her time at the CIA, Tracy traveled to war zones, black sites, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. During her time in Afghanistan, Tracy received many awards for her service from both the CIA and foreign intelligence offices. Among her awards were four Exceptional Performance Awards from the Director of the CIA, two Special Activity Awards, a Meritorious Unit Citation Award, a DCI Counterterrorism Center Medal, and two Operation Enduring Freedom Targeting Awards.


After the CIA, Tracy became a Special Agent at the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, specializing in Chinese counterintelligence operations. During her time at the FBI, Tracy conducted arrests and worked with various squads in her field office, such as cyber crime, fraud, and the Mexican mafia. Tracy is one of very few women to have worked on the operational sides of both the CIA and the FBI.


Following her time at the CIA and FBI, Tracy enrolled in both a master’s and a teaching credential program, receiving the award for student of the year. Tracy began teaching high school history in 2007. Currently she teaches AP US History, AP Comparative Government, and a self-created course on espionage and foreign affairs at an all-girls school in Dallas, Texas, where she recently received the honor of teacher of the year.


Tracy has done a TED talk and is a sought-after public speaker throughout Dallas and the Dallas World Affairs Council. She has given many talks throughout Texas, ranging from national security, foreign policy, the role of women in law enforcement and special operations communities, and education. Tracy earned her degree in history from the University of Southern California and her Master’s in Education from Chapman University.

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The Unexpected SpyFrom the CIA to the FBI, My Secret Life Taking Down Some of the World’s Most Notorious Terrorists
St. Martin's Press

When Tracy Walder enrolled at the University of Southern California, she never thought that one day she would offer her pink beanbag chair in the Delta Gamma house to a CIA recruiter, or that she’d fly to the Middle East under an alias identity. The Unexpected Spy is the riveting story of Walder's tenure in the CIA and, later, the FBI.

Understanding the Role That Failed States Play in the Perpetuation of Terrorism Tracy takes the audience through a “walk” of failed states (Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, etc.) and shows them the new terrorist groups that emerged from each.
No One Cares What You Have to Say: Understanding the True Role of Electronic Surveillance in the 21st Century Tracy provides the audience with information as to how signals intelligence is really used and why the government cannot possibly listen to every conversation. She also discusses Chinese espionage (from her time at the FBI) and how they are particularly engaging in the theft of intellectual property rather than spying in the classical sense.
Armed, Pink, and Blonde: Why Society Has a Difficult Time Accepting the Dichotomy of Femininity and Special Ops Tracy discusses why, during her time both at the FBI academy and then as an agent, she was constantly told to act more masculine despite passing all her tests and being the only woman in her class not to fail out.
Why a Former FBI Agent and CIA Officer Does Not Think Teachers Should Be Armed Tracy helps the audience understand that arming teachers is far more than training them how to shoot a gun. That is the easy part. Situational awareness is the driving factor as to whether someone will use a gun in a violent situation. This training takes years, and most people cannot complete it.
The Real Roots of Al Qaida
Why Not? How a One-Word Question Can Hold Us Back From Achieving Our Full Potential

Deadline wrote about Tracy Walder’s story being turned into a television show.

VoyageDallas interviewed Tracy Walder about her life.

Follow Tracy Walder on Twitter and check out her personal website.