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NSA Historical Figures

Lester K. Myers

2020 Hall of Honor Inductee

Mr. Lester K. Myers is a giant in language use and analysis in the US Intelligence Community.  As a senior language analyst and subject matter expert, Myers had an extraordinary impact on national security issues relating to the Middle East. His language skills and area knowledge made him vitally important in situations spanning from the 1967 Arab-Israeli Conflict to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and beyond.  

One of Mr. Myers’ seminal contributions was development of a voice analysis capability in language, one of the hardest to master. During many crises, Mr. Myers spent countless hours analyzing voice communications, and providing insights not available from other sources.  

Mr. Myers mentored a huge cadre of language analysts over the years.  He annotated the only available dictionary in his particular language in the early 1980s, adding many definitions of terms he had discovered.  He stressed the importance of knowing history and culture to better understand the source material. He retired in the late 1990s but voluntarily returned to work immediately following the terrorist attacks of 9/11; continuing to serve for another 8 years.   

The effects of Mr. Myers’ work are strikingly evident today.  The work he did and taught others to do has saved countless American lives. His contributions not only provided key strategic and tactical intelligence to decision makers and warfighters, but transformed language analysis at NSA in ways that will reach far into the future.