Timmerman, Kenneth R. 1953-

views updated

Timmerman, Kenneth R. 1953-


Born November 4, 1953, in NY; son of Clarence A. and Mildred W. Timmerman; married Christina Olofsson, April 18, 1987; children: five. Education: Goddard College, B.A., 1973; Brown University, M.A., 1976.


Home—Kensington, MD. Office—Foundation for Democracy in Iran, 7831 Woodmont Ave., Ste. 395, Bethesda, MD 20814. E-mail—[email protected].


Paris Voices, founder and editor, 1977-80; Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta, GA, special correspondent from Beirut and Paris, with extended tours in Lebanon, Syria, Israel, and Iraq, 1983-85; Monch Publications, special correspondent from Paris, France, for Defense and Armament and Military Technology, 1985-87; Newsweek, special correspondent from Paris, 1986-87; Middle East Defense News, Paris, publisher, 1987-93; Defense Electronics, international correspondent, 1987-93; Middle East Data Project, founder and head, 1987—; U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC, member of professional staff, Committee on Foreign Affairs, 1993; Time magazine, reporter, 1994; American Spectator, reporter, 1994-95; Iran Brief, publisher, 1994-2000; Foundation for Democracy in Iran, cofounder, president, and chief executive officer, 1995—. Guest lecturer at Centre des Hautes Etudes Militaires and Centre d'Analyse sur la Scurit Européene, 1991; guest on European and U.S. television programs, including Nightline, 60 Minutes, and Frontline.


Joe Petrosino Prize for Investigative Reporting, Certosa di Padula, 1987, for an investigation of an Iranian arms-procurement ring.


The Iskra Scrolls (novella), Handshake Press (Paris, France), 1980.

The Wren Hunt (novel), Bran's Head Books (Frome, England), 1982.

Fanning the Flames: Guns, Greed, and Geopolitics in the Gulf War, syndicated by New York Times Syndication Sales, 1987, published in book form as Ol ins Feuer, Orell Fusli (Zurich, Switzerland), 1988.

La Grande Fauche: Le vol de la haute technologie (nonfiction), Editions Plon (Paris, France), 1989.

The Poison Gas Connection: The Chemical Weapons Programs of Iraq and Libya (monograph), Simon Wiesenthal Center (Los Angeles, CA), 1990.

The Death Lobby: How the West Armed Iraq (nonfiction), Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1991.

The BNL Blunder: How the U.S. Policy Allowed a Bank in Atlanta to Help Finance Saddam Hussein's War Machine (monograph), Simon Wiesenthal Center (Los Angeles, CA), 1991.

Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Cases of Iran, Syria, and Libya (monograph), Simon Wiesenthal Center (Los Angeles, CA), 1992.

Selling out America: The American Spectator Investigations (nonfiction), Xlibris (Philadelphia, PA), 2000.

Shakedown: Exposing the Real Jesse Jackson (nonfiction), Regnery (Washington, DC), 2002.

Preachers of Hate: Islam and the War on America (nonfiction), Crown Forum (New York, NY), 2003.

The French Betrayal of America (nonfiction), Crown Forum (New York, NY), 2004.

Countdown to Crisis: The Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran (nonfiction), Crown Forum (New York, NY), 2005.

Shadow Warriors: The Untold Story of Traitors, Saboteurs, and the Party of Surrender (nonfiction), Crown Forum (New York, NY), 2007.

Honor Killing (novel), Middle East Data Project (Bethesda, MD), 2007.

Work represented in anthologies, including Fiction '82, edited by Richard Peabody, Gargoyle Press, 1982. Contributor to periodicals and Web sites, including Reader's Digest, American Spectator, Wall Street Journal, and NewsMax.


Kenneth R. Timmerman has written extensively about the Middle East and the region's relations with the United States. He also has dealt with U.S. domestic politics, as in Shakedown: Exposing the Real Jesse Jackson, about the prominent African American civil rights activist and onetime presidential aspirant. He makes a case that Jackson has used lies and manipulations to advance his career and has exploited his political influence for personal enrichment. He says Jackson has intimidated his opponents through various means, even, at least early in his career, by employing members of street gangs.

The book drew strong reactions, with some critics finding it convincing and well-documented, others deeming it overstated and based on flimsy evidence. Timmerman "has done us a great service by collecting the dossier on Jackson between two covers," reported Rod Dreher in the National Review. Dreher called Shakedown "an exhaustive, just-the-facts account," which "demonstrates that Jackson has always been a self-promoting egotist with boundless chutzpah, little regard for the rules, and an uncanny ability to manipulate the market—in his case, the market in white guilt—for immense personal gain."

Patricia J. Williams, writing in the Nation, commented: "There are perfectly respectable reasons to disagree with, dislike or distrust Jesse Jackson," but she thought Timmerman had greatly exaggerated "Jackson's flaws as a human being." She continued: "In reality, Jackson is imperfect. In Timmerman's rendition, he is a bloated monster of evil impulses and global appetites…. The distance between the real Jackson and Timmerman's gargoyle is inhabited by myth, stereotype, unsubstantiated accusation, illogic and careless innuendo." She found the book marked by "racialized animus" and "class bias."

Dreher noted that Shakedown addresses only Jackson's public career, not his private life, which has included an extramarital relationship in which he fathered a child. He pronounced the book's focus "fair enough," yet wished for "a broader perspective." Still, he found the work a successful effort that will leave readers viewing Jackson with "contempt and cynicism."

Timmerman's work in the realm of foreign policy is Countdown to Crisis: The Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran. Timmerman says Iran's nuclear research is not focused on peaceful applications but instead on developing weapons. He says the nation already has sufficient nuclear material for more than twenty bombs. He asserts that Iran was involved in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and that it is planning further ones with the help of the terror group Al Qaeda and its leader Osama Bin Laden, who he says has found refuge in Iran. U.S. intelligence agencies, Timmerman says, have not responded effectively to the danger posed by Iran.

Some reviewers thought Countdown to Crisis well-grounded in fact, while others questioned many of Timmerman's statements. "Every allegation is founded in documentation, every revelation is backed by evidence," asserted Michael J. Carson in Reviewer's Bookwatch. Amitabh Pal, however, writing in the Progressive, saw many "factual flaws" in the book. He dubbed the allegations about Iran's connections with September 11 and Bin Laden "ridiculous" and criticized Timmerman for quoting conversations he did not witness and thoughts he could not know.

Pal deemed Timmerman's analysis better on Iran's role in other terrorist activity, its disregard for human rights, and its efforts to develop nuclear capabilities, but even here, he said, there is "hyperbole and distortion." For instance, he related, most intelligence professionals, unlike Timmerman, think Iran is years away from producing nuclear weapons. Middle East Quarterly contributor Patrick Clawson, meanwhile, found Timmerman a bit too credulous about information from Iranian defectors, but he called the book "solid" overall, as well as "an engaging peek behind the curtain."

Timmerman once told CA: "I have ten years of hands-on experience in the Middle East as an investigative reporter, with a particular focus on technology transfer and the Third World arms industries. I have an international reputation as a nongovernmental analyst on unconventional weapons proliferation and technology transfer.

"I lived in France from 1975 to 1993. During this time, I conducted extensive investigations of arms and technology transfers, with a focus on the black and gray markets. I exposed Iraqi clandestine procurement networks in Jordan and France, and advised the United Nations Special Commission and the IAEA on Iraqi weapons programs. I also published a book-length investigation of the Iraqi arms industry, a study on high-technology Soviet espionage, a study of arms sales during the Iran-Iraq war, and three monographs on unconventional weapons proliferation and procurement networks."



American Spectator, June, 2004, Taylor Dinerman, review of The French Betrayal of America, p. 64.

Booklist, December 15, 1991, review of The Death Lobby: How the West Armed Iraq, p. 736; October 15, 2003, Vanessa Bush, review of Preachers of Hate: Islam and the War on America, p. 386.

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, September, 1992, William D. Hartung, review of The Death Lobby, p. 41.

Business Week, January 13, 1992, John Rossant, review of The Death Lobby, p. 16; May 3, 2004, John Rossant, "An Alliance in Ruins," p. 26.

Campaigns & Elections, April 1, 2002, review of Shakedown: Exposing the Real Jesse Jackson, p. 20.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, April, 1992, M. Tamadonfar, review of The Death Lobby, p. 1298.

Foreign Affairs Annual, 1992, review of The Death Lobby, p. 182.

Human Events, March 11, 2002, review of Shakedown, p. 10.

Los Angeles Times Book Review, December 22, 1991, Michael Krepon, "The Gunrunners of the Gulf," p. 2.

Middle East, November, 1992, review of The Death Lobby, p. 41.

Middle East Policy, spring, 1993, Ayad Al-Quazzaz, review of The Death Lobby, p. 142.

Middle East Quarterly, January 1, 2006, Patrick Clawson, review of Countdown to Crisis: The Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran, p. 87.

Nation, July 15, 2002, Patricia J. Williams, "‘The Enemy Within,’" p. 33.

National Review, April 22, 2002, Rod Dreher, "He Is Somebody," p. 41.

New York Times, January 29, 1992, Herbert Mitgang, "The Masters of War and the Monster They Made," p. B2.

New York Times Book Review, March 29, 1992, Bruce van Voorst, review of The Death Lobby, p. 10.

Officer, January 1, 2008, David Bockel, review of Honor Killing, p. 53.

Progressive, March 1, 2006, Amitabh Pal, "Iran's Nuclear Path," p. 48.

Publishers Weekly, March 25, 2002, Daisy Maryles, "Regnery's Latest Score," p. 18; September 22, 2003, review of Preachers of Hate, p. 96.

Reference & Research Book News, August, 2002, review of Shakedown, p. 50; August, 2004, review of Preachers of Hate, p. 51; November 1, 2005, review of review of The Death Lobby, p. 46.

Reviewer's Bookwatch, November 1, 2005, Michael J. Carson, review of Countdown to Crisis.

Wall Street Journal, February 7, 2006, Per Ahlmark, "Let the Nobel Go Nuclear," p. A26.

Washington Post Book World, April 14, 2002, Keith B. Richburg, "Rainbow's End," p. 10; April 18, 2004, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., "Lonely at the Top," p. 4.


Foundation for Democracy in Iran Web site,http://www.iran.org/ (May 13, 2008), brief biography.

Intelligence Summit Web site,http://www.intelligencesummit.org/ (May 13, 2008), brief biography.

Kenneth R. Timmerman Home Page,http://www.kentimmerman.com (May 28, 2008).

National Review Online,http://www.nationalreview.com/ (March 22, 2004), Kathryn Lopez, "The French Connection."