Rita Katz has studied, tracked and analyzed international terrorists and their financial operations for more than six years. Since well before September 11, she has personally briefed government officials, including former terrorism czar Richard Clarke and his staff in the White House, as well as investigators in the Department of Justice, Department of the Treasury and the Department of Homeland Security on the financing and recruitment networks of the radical Islamist terrorist movement. Many of her leads have prompted the government to investigate and take legal action against individuals and organizations suspected of ties to terrorism. On numerous occasions, Katz has gone undercover to events organized by various terrorist front groups to collect information crucial to her efforts to understand and document the activities of radical Islamist activists in the U.S. She also trains and deploys others as part of her own undercover network.
Before founding the SITE Institute in 2002, Katz served as Research Director of the Investigative Project in Washington, DC. Born in Iraq and a graduate of the Middle Eastern Studies program at Tel Aviv University, Katz speaks both Arabic and Hebrew with native fluency.
Katz is the author of TERRORIST HUNTER: The Extraordinary Story of a Woman who Went Undercover to Infiltrate the Radical Islamic Groups Operating in America. Her commentary on terrorism issues frequently appears in prominent media outlets, including The New York Times, the Washington Post, “60 Minutes” and The Wall Street Journal.
Katz was born in Basra, Iraq, to a well-to-do Jewish family in 1963. After her father was executed by Saddam Hussein’s regime, she fled with her family to Israel, where she grew up fluent in both Arabic and Hebrew. Katz received her degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the prestigious Middle Eastern Studies department at Tel Aviv University and immigrated to the United States in 1997.