David Ignatius's Headshot

David Ignatius

Washington Post Foreign Affairs Columnist, Best-Selling Author - Panelist Blurb

Drawing from more than 40 years of on-the-ground reporting, Ignatius brings to the stage his insights and expertise on the threats to national security, cyberwar, artificial intelligence, and the spread of information. With his ability to explain and edify the most complex issues, Ignatius addresses the forces at play in an increasingly disrupted world and analyzes the implications of growing uncertainty and risk.

For more than 15 years, Ignatius has published his twice-weekly column for The Washington Post. Appearing in scores of news­papers around the world, his column has won the Overseas Press Club Award, the Gerald Loeb Award for Commentary, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Center for Journalists. In 2019, Ignatius won a special George Polk award for his coverage, nine articles in all, of the killing of Post columnist and his colleague Jamal Khashoggi.

Turning his experiences with the CIA into numerous spy novels, Ignatius has been praised for his “unparalleled understanding of the intelligence world.” According to former CIA Director Leon Panetta, “David Ignatius may call it a novel, but for those of us who know the work of the intelligence community, this book is nothing less than a real-life insight into the ongoing battle for dom­inance in the digital world.” Agents of Innocence, his first novel, is a classic of espionage fiction, drawing on his experiences cover­ing the CIA’s early-80s campaigns in the Middle East. The CIA recommends the book to young recruits and wrote on its website, “Though a novel, senior officers say this book is not fiction.” His other bestsellers include The Director and Body of Lies, which director Ridley Scott adapted into a feature film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe.

During the summer of 2023, he released a 4-part serialized novel­la titled “The Tao of Deception” in The Washington Post’s Opinion Section. “The Tao of Deception” is another spy thriller that very closely mirrors reality, telling a story of the CIA’s loss of Chinese intelligence assets over a decade ago. “While this isn’t a piece of journalism or a historical account, it will paint the battle between the CIA and the Chinese Ministry of State Security in true colors,” said Ignatius. His next book, Phantom Orbit is set for release in May, 2024.

A graduate of Harvard and Cambridge, Ignatius was a reporter for The Wall Street Journal and the executive editor of the Inter­national Herald Tribune. He has published articles in Foreign Affairs, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, and The New Republic. His first opera libretto, The New Prince, was an adaptation of Machiavelli’s The Prince and premiered at the Dutch National Opera in 2017.