Eric O'Neill

Eric O'Neill

Former FBI Operative Who Captured Robert Hanssen & Subject of the Film Breach

Speaker Categories: Cybersecurity and Big Data | Information Technology | Military | Information Technology | Intellectual Capital | Business Leaders and CEOs | Inspiring Lives | Safety

Travels From: DC, United States.

Speaker Fee Range: $10,001 to $20,000*

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Eric O'Neill Bio
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Former FBI Operative Who Captured Robert Hanssen & Subject of the Film Breach

In 2001, Eric O'Neill helped capture the most notorious spy in United States history: Robert Hanssen, a 25-year veteran of the FBI. The remarkable true events of his life are the inspiration behind the critically acclaimed dramatic thriller Breach, starring Ryan Philippe as O'Neill. The film set inside the FBI - the gatekeeper of the nation's most sensitive and potentially volatile secrets - is the story of the greatest security breach in US history.

Counterespionage

Only 26 years old, O'Neill was handpicked to serve as the focal point of an elaborate sting operation and assigned to FBI Headquarters to serve as Hanssen's subordinate. Preceding Hanssen's arrest, O'Neill worked with the spy within the information assurance division that protected all classified FBI intelligence. O'Neill gained Hanssen's trust and used that relationship to slowly draw the traitor out of deep cover. Engaged in a lethal game of spy versus spy, O'Neill found himself fighting to bring down Hanssen before the treacherous double agent could destroy him, his family, and the nation they were both sworn to serve.

Insider Threat

Throughout his 25-year career with the Bureau, Hanssen spent the last 22 years of his service selling thousands of pages of valuable classified documents to the former Soviet Union during the Cold War. His betrayal included identification of KGB agents who were spying on behalf of America and of the template for relocation of the president in the event of a catastrophic attack.

Surveillance

O'Neill began his career in the FBI as a graduate of the FBI's Intelligence Program. He spent the first five years of his career as a special surveillance group field operative tasked to surveil and monitor foreign, national, and domestic terrorists and spies. He transitioned from field operative to direct undercover work focusing on Hanssen. Although his prior training had focused on “ghosting” targets from the shadows, he engaged his target in conversation in order to elicit information needed to catch Hanssen in the act of espionage. The singular nature of the assignment, one with little backup or support, required O'Neill to draw from deep reserves of courage and confidence within himself to battle Hanssen's mind games and aggressive probing and learn to "stop reacting to Hanssen and begin acting."

Media

O'Neill's story is one of patriotism, of decisive action in the face of fear, and of learning to maintain confidence in ability even if it looks like success is impossible. He has told his story in national media, in print, on radio, and on television including 20/20, Nightline, Hardball with Chris Mathews, Fox News Power Player of the Week with Chris Wallace, CNN, CSPAN's Washington Journal, NPR's "Fresh Air with Terry Gross," World News Now, MTV, and Access Hollywood.

Breach

A talented motivational speaker and accomplished lawyer who weaves real life experiences into a presentation that is both entertaining and rewarding, Eric O’Neill provides practical insights into real work situations relevant to many industries. He speaks not only about Breach, but about the broader world of espionage and national security, economic and industrial espionage, fraud, internal investigations, corporate diligence, corporate defense, hacking and intellectual property theft, and other relevant topics.

Currently, O’Neill runs The Georgetown Group, a security firm out of Washington, DC, and continues to speak about his experience in the Hanssen case.

An Insider’s Look into the Robert Hanssen Investigation: How the FBI Caught the Worst Spy in American History

Motivational/security/cyber security: Learn intricate details of the investigation that caught the most damaging spy in United States History. Robert Hanssen spied for the Soviet Union and Russia for over 22 years. The FBI had a very narrow window of just a few months to catch him. This is the story of how we succeeded in one of the most impressive undercover operations ever orchestrated by the FBI.

A Spy Story: Setting Goals & Achieving Them through Courage, Confidence & Determination

Motivational/Leadership: My story of acting to take control of any situation and excel, not just succeed, takes place in the center of the FBI’s most important espionage investigation. Imagine being locked in a room for eight hours a day with the most ruthless and damaging spy in United States history. Imagine feeling unqualified and outgunned, knowing that the country depends on you to succeed despite the fact that no one has provided the means to do so. My story is not just an edge of your seat spy thriller. It is a story about discovering tools for success inside oneself by setting small goals that lead to big accomplishments until finally, through courage, confidence and determination, victory is achieved.

The Human Element: The Weakest Link In Every Security System Is Not A Computer

Trusted Insider: Security professionals must not only look outward when securing a system, they must become spy hunters, looking for internal exploits and penetrations that may not be easy to detect. Includes an analysis of Edward Snowden and other recent internal penetrations.

Corporate Security: The Top Ten Things You Should Be Doing To Secure Your Company

Blended Topic: This personal list was compiled over decades of work as an undercover operative in the FBI and security consultant. The keynote is a hot topic format of issues that are most critical to protecting information, set in a narrative of true stories that inform with actionable learning while they entertain. Issues looked at include: Creating a Culture of security; The Need for Diligence; Malware and Mobile technology; Phishing and Email hacks; Social Media Do's and Dont's; Dumpster Diving; Recruitment; Elicitation and Pretexting; Economic Espionage; and Preventing The Insider Threat.

How The World Will End: Cyber Security In A Shrinking World

Cyber Security: The global phenomenon of information sharing has created extraordinary innovation in communication, but has also become a gold mine for cyber criminals. This topic explores the current cyber threats facing industry, government and private individuals, from threats to national infrastructure, to corporate espionage and cyber terrorism, to identity theft and online fraud.

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Testimonials

  • "Eric O’Neill’s presentation on “An Insider's Look into the Robert Hanssen Investigation: How the FBI Caught the Worst Spy in American History” is a breathtaking insight into one of the worst spies in United States history. Eric presented on never before heard facts that wowed the audience and left everyone wanting more. His professional approach and mild mannered attitude were spot on for an engaging delivery. Everyone was so focused on Eric for the full hour that you could have heard a pin drop in a room of 1,000+ attendees. Eric is truly a once in a lifetime speaker that everyone should see and hear in person!"


    NCMS Seminar Committee
  • "Eric O’Neill totally captured our conference audience with his insights on cybersecurity and its similarity to locating spies within. Approximately 250 people were fully engaged and asking for more at the end of the hour. Eric is definitely a powerful speaker and not-to-be missed."


    Kathy Kimball, CISO University of Virginia
  • "Eric was the perfect guest speaker for our event. With an audience of IT Security folks, he not only captivated the room with his thrilling espionage story, but also incorporated our latest cybersecurity report and other cybersecurity themes into his talk. Eric has a long list of interesting topics he can speak on, and we hope that we can bring him back to speak again in the future."

    CloudLock
    Carrie Page , Manager, Events & Partner Relations
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