Gretchen is the Executive Director of The Satao Project, a consultancy supporting governments, communities and industries to find solutions to grand scale corruption and complex, transnational organized crime problems. She is also Executive Director of the Center on Illicit Networks and Transnational Organized Crime (CINTOC), and a board member at the Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance. She co-chaired an OECD Task Force on Wildlife and Environmental Crime in 2016, and is considered a leading authority on the intersection of crime and terrorism, money-laundering and transnational crime.
Gretchen is the author of Seeds of Terror, a ground-breaking book that traced the role the opium trade has played in three decades of conflict in Afghanistan. She spent five years researching the book, which Barrons called “a well-written, well-documented and exemplary work of journalism.” Gretchen later authored a paper about the Haqqani network with West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center, along with chapters in leading academic books about how crime syndicates impacted peace-building efforts in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s D-Company, the Pakistani Taliban and the intersection of crime and conflict.
She has supported U.S. Central Command, U.S. Special Operations Command and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counter Narcotics and Global Threats in understanding and countering the convergence of conflict and organized crime.
Gretchen has testified before the U.S. Congress and is a frequent commentator on television and radio including CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, NPR, Fox, Reuters, and New York Times. She has delivered presentations on her work for the Pentagon, the State Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, Special Operations Command, the Navy Seals, more than a dozen think tanks and universities, and for thousands of U.S. servicemen and women deploying to Afghanistan.
Gretchen holds a Masters’ Degree in International Relations from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, where she was awarded the Sié Chéou-Kang security and diplomacy fellowship and the Association of Former Intelligence Officers Life’s Choices Foundation Scholarship to study transnational organized crime. A former research faculty member at George Mason University, she lectures regularly at universities and think tanks about the intersection of crime and conflict, and how to understand and disrupt transnational illicit networks.
In a past life, Gretchen worked as a foreign correspondent, covering Pakistan and Afghanistan for more than a decade, first for The Associated Press and later for ABC News. She was nominated for an Emmy for her coverage of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and won the SAJA Journalism Award for a 2010 story on ex-Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf. She has also reported from Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Mexico, Egypt and Kosovo. Gretchen has published editorials in the New York Times, the Washington Post and Foreign Policy, among other places. She speaks English and Spanish.