The Bourne Directory

"I've given 30 years and 2 marriages to this agency, I shoveled shit on four continents, I'm due to retire next year. But if you think I'm gonna sit here and let you dangle me with this, you can go to hell."
―Abbott to Pamela Landy[src]

Ward Abbott was a corrupt CIA section chief who originally acted as Alexander Conklin's superior and as such is one of the few with classified knowledge of Operation Treadstone. He later conspired with Russian oligarch Yuri Gretkov in the theft of CIA seed money. Abbott was a major antagonist in the Bourne film series, serving as the overarching antagonist in the 2002 film The Bourne Identity, the main antagonist in the 2004 film The Bourne Supremacy and a posthumous antagonist in the 2007 film The Bourne Ultimatum.

He was portrayed by actor Brian Cox in both films.



As of 2004, Ward has been an employee for over 40 years, and in his own words, "shovelling shit on four continents", meaning he also served in assignments abroad, and was due to retire in a year. He was also one of the leading men on creating Operation Treadstone alongside Dr. Albert Hirsch and Neil Daniels, and became the Head of the department, appointing Alexander Conklin as the operating chief.

In the late 90s, he conspired with Yuri Gretkov to steal $20 million from an undisclosed CIA black fund, presumably keeping his half, while Gretkov used his share to establish an oligarchy by buying shares from major oil pipelines. Russian politician, Vladimir Neski, was an outspoken opponent of the oil privatization in post-soviet Russia. As Neski was in the way and had the potential to jeopardize Gretkov's business, Abbott ordered Conklin to have Neski killed. In turn, Conklin created a training operation for his new Treadstone recruit, Jason Bourne, who successfully assassinated Neski. Since this was an off-the-books mission, it was never shown in Treadstone logs to prevent any leaks. He presumably bribed Conklin to keep quiet, since $720.000 was found on Conklin's private account in a Swiss bank.

Despite being a de facto Head of Treadstone, all control and agency was left at Conklin's discression. While Conklin was assuming that it was due to mutual trust in his own abilities, in reality, it was to for Abbott to maintain plausible deniability and have Conklin take the fall in case the program suffered setbacks. As such, while Abbott and Conklin maintained contact at a social level, Abbott held his ground and never directly questioned Conklin about any Treadstone operations.

The Bourne Identity[]

Following the news of a failed assassination attempt on the African dictator Nykwanna Wombosi, Abbott confronts Conklin about Treadstone and his involvement for the first time. Conklin assures his superior that it will be taken care of and any evidence connecting them to the assassination attempt will be eliminated, along with Jason Bourne. As Conklin fails again and again to apprehend Bourne, Abbott loses faith in his abilities and acts on his own. He has Treadstone operative Manheim kill Conklin, and shuts down the operation. Meeting before the Oversight Committee, he tells them them that Operation Treadstone was an advanced game program, a theoretical-exercise that had been terminated due to its high cost. He later proceeds to introduce Operation Blackbriar, led by Noah Vosen which plays a significant part in The Bourne Ultimatum.

The Bourne Supremacy[]

"I'm not sorry."
―Abbott's last words[src]

Two years later, Abbott is forced to help fellow CIA Deputy Director Pamela Landy track down Bourne once again, this time to learn of the CIA operative who stole $20 million. The name of the operative was in the Neski Files, which Landy and her team were attempting to buy off of a source before they were assassinated by Kirill, who would plant evidence to incriminate Bourne. Landy suspects Conklin and Bourne had something to do with the stolen money. Unbeknownst to Landy and everyone else, Abbott is actually responsible and in league with Kirill and Gretkov.

Abbott later accompanies Landy to Berlin, after retrieving former Treadstone handler Nicky Parsons in Amsterdam. He is adamant about killing Bourne on sight, where Landy hopes to bring him in. Because of Parsons, Bourne learns that Abbott was the head of Treadstone rather than Conklin. Meanwhile, Danny Zorn shows Abbott evidence that Bourne was framed, to which Abbot asks him to repeat his theory, only to be stabbed and murdered by Abbott afterwards.

After visiting the hotel room where he assassinated the Neskis, Bourne recalls the details of the mission. He tracks Abbott down and records an incriminating conversation between the director and Gretkov before revealing himself. Caught, Abbott admits to issuing the assassination attempt in Goa that resulted in the death of Marie Kreutz (Bourne's girlfriend) as well as the plan to frame Bourne. Bourne spares Abbott's life and leaves him with his gun, later mailing the confession and Neski files to Landy. Not long after his departure Landy arrives, having learned of Zorn's mysterious death, Abbott takes Bourne's handgun and pulls the trigger to himself, committing suicide in front of a horrified Landy.

The Bourne Ultimatum[]

Abbott is mentioned by CIA Director Ezra Kramer of the last few events leading to his unexpected death.


  • Like Alexander Conklin, his name is never pronounced before the end credits of The Bourne Identity. Bourne himself only learns it by Nick Parsons in The Bourne Supremacy.
  • It is mentioned in an interrogation room with Pamela Landy that Abbott has been married multiple times but sacrificed them in the name of his country.
  • In the same interrogation scene, Abbott tells Landy he has "shoveled shit on four continents," suggesting he has been with the CIA for many years and worked across the world.