CHARLES SEIDEL (1956 - 2019)

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Service Information
Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home, L.L.C.
9902 Braddock Road
Fairfax, VA
Monday, May 20, 2019
3:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home, L.L.C.
9902 Braddock Road
Fairfax, VA 22032
View Map
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
3:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home, L.L.C.
9902 Braddock Road
Fairfax, VA 22032
View Map
Memorial service
Wednesday, May 22, 2019
3:00 PM
Vienna Presbyterian Church
124 Park St NE
Vienna, VA
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CHARLES B. SEIDEL Senior CIA Official Charles Bratton Seidel, age 62, passed away in his sleep on May 7, 2019 while on business in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Charlie, as he was known to all, was a 26-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency, where he rose to the top ranks of the clandestine service while serving in ten important field assignments.

Charlie was born on June 29, 1956 in Alexandria, Virginia to the late John J. Seidel Jr. and the late Annette Lewis Seidel. John was also a senior CIA officer who took his family abroad on a series of exotic foreign postings, which clearly made an impression on Charlie. After earning a B.A. at Drew University, spending a year skiing in Europe and working on the family farm in West Virginia, Charlie joined his father in the CIA in February 1980.

From start to finish in his CIA career, Charlie focused on the Middle East. He spoke Arabic fluently and loved Arab culture and history. His deep knowledge of the region, coupled with his infectious enthusiasm, won lifelong friends far and wide.

During critical periods, Charlie was not just a witness to history, he was a key player in its unfolding. Charlie was serving in Baghdad when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, and after a tense standoff, he was finally allowed to leave Iraq just before coalition military forces launched the successful campaign to eject Saddam from Kuwait. Charlie provided vital intelligence support to that effort, and he soon reprised that role while directing all CIA Iraqi operations in the Middle East immediately before the 2003 Iraq war. When U.S. forces moved into Baghdad following the fall of Saddam, Charlie was with them.

In addition to Iraq, Charlie had a special affection for Egypt and Jordan, where he spent almost 12 years as a senior U.S. intelligence representative, interacting with both governments at the highest levels. Charlie moved effortlessly through their societies; he was just as relaxed and friendly with carpet merchants and tea servers as he was with presidents and kings. In that regard, Charlie truly represented the best that America has to offer.

Charlie was a two-time recipient of the Intelligence Star for valor, the CIA equivalent of the U.S. military Silver Star. He retired from the CIA in June 2006, having earned the enduring respect and admiration of his colleagues in the Agency.

After his retirement, Charlie continued to work as a consultant in a wide range of private sector projects in the Middle East. Notably, he led field efforts to recover Libyan assets that were stolen by the Qadhafi regime after the dictator's fall. At the time of his death, he was working on a new project, one that he felt was important.

Charlie is survived by his loving wife of 37 years, Mary Bonvouloir Seidel of Syracuse, NY. Mary was a pillar of support to Charlie and the family throughout his career and travels. They enjoyed spending time together in Cape Cod and Saint Martin. Charlie is also survived by his children, Charlie (wife Tamsin), Matthew and Christine, and his brother John L. Seidel (wife Liz) and sister Anne Seidel Overington (husband Brian).

No one who met Charlie will ever forget him. His love of fine food, good cigars and whiskey was legendary, but his love for his wife, children, family and friends was boundless.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22 at Vienna Presbyterian Church, 124 Park St NE, Vienna, VA and will also be available to stream live at Visitation will take place on Monday, May 20 and Tuesday, May 21 from 3 to 8 p.m. at Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home, 9902 Braddock Road, Fairfax, VA.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The CIA Officers Memorial Foundation or the Barzani Charity Foundation.
Published in The Washington Post on May 16, 2019
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