Getting Hooked on Fred Burton's Book List

The Legendary Roger Staubach

Honored to have the legendary Dallas Cowboys QB Roger Staubach attend my discussion in Dallas on the Hezbollah threat, Iran and Beirut Rules. This is the second time, the Heisman Trophy winner and U.S. Naval Academy grad, has come to hear me speak. The first time was for my story on Benghazi, Under Fire. It was hard not to be star struck next to an idol you watched in great football games while growing up. My Dad would have enjoyed our discussion on Lee Roy Jordan, Walt Garrison, and Tom Landry.

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Fred Burton on i24 News Regarding Hezbollah Explosives Discovered in London

Hezbollah perfected the truck bomb. We learned this the hard way in the 1980’s when the American Embassy and Marine Barracks were hit in Beirut. We were never good at predicting where the org would strike next, as we watched unfold with the two attacks in BA, Argentina. Both of these events surprised us. Hezbollah always seemed to be one-step ahead of the intelligence community, so my hat’s off to MI5 for neutralizing this threat. The question becomes what were the targets?

Getting Hooked on Fred Burton's Book List

Fred Burton knows the ins and outs of counterterrorism and investigative work. For about two decades, he lived it. And, he says, it was living that life that got him hooked on reading about it.

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When I was a special agent in the 1980s, I used a black diplomatic passport and flew aboard Pan Am Clipper Class flights and U.S. Air Force Special Air Missions from Andrews Air Force Base. I could never sleep on a plane. I (like a lot of other special agents) read spy novels many times as I zigzagged around the globe on the hunt for the people behind various plane crashes, bombings, hostage-takings and hijackings. They kept my mind busy.

These days, Burton hosts Stratfor's popular "Pen and Sword" podcast. He still gets to bask in the fast-paced, exciting, and sometimes dangerous world — but from a cozy chair. Between reading and conversing with authors such as Annie JacobsenKate Winkler DawsonBrad Thor, Jack Carr, and Mark Greaney, Burton continues his own work as chief security officer at Stratfor, an advisor on public safety for many other organizations and writing best-sellers about his career.

Sometimes, stuffed inside my Ghurka carry-on bag, right next to my spy books, was a sealed, bright orange diplomatic pouch, containing classified documents or evidence from an attack. I never quite understood why the diplomatic pouch was bright orange? I would have made it black.

If you're interested in reading the books that kept Fred Burton awake and alert on many a clandestine flight, he shared some of his favorites below.

Interviewed by KEYE on Smart Home Devices

"There's a reason I don't own one," says Fred Burton, chief security officer at Stratfor, a geopolitical intelligence and forecasting firm based in Austin.

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As a former police officer and special agent Burton says you won't find any smart devices in his house -- especially locks. He's content with an old-fashioned deadbolt and key.

"I think that as criminals get more sophisticated, this is the kind of opportunity that affords them to be able to enter into your house," explains Burton.

Your chances of being targeted may be slim, but it's a risk he isn't willing to take.

"Some folks have a higher tolerance for risk, some folks don't think about risk, but this is the kind of issue you need to think about from a risk mitigation standpoint as well as if you have children at home," says Burton.