Various threats to the USA and world peace the Echelon organizations have to deal with, be it rogue politicians or military, terrorist groups who get their hands on high-tech weapons or nefarious corporations.
Georgian Information Crisis
President Kombayn Nikoladze
The President of Georgia during most of the Georgian Information Crisis in the first Splinter Cell. He has a deep hatred of America, and seeks to attack it subversively while conquering the neighbor Azerbaijan.
- Big Bad: Of the first game.
- Boom, Headshot!: How he meets his end, courtesy of Sam Fisher on Lambert's orders.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: He came to power in Georgia by using his ample funds from the oil business.
- Cult of Personality: Giant helmsman-style portrtaits of him can be seen at some points in Georgia.
- He Knows Too Much: His knowledge of "The Ark" (a nuclear suitcase bomb) necessitated his assassination by Fisher before either he or his successor Cristavi could make any use of it.
- Meaningful Name: "Kombayn" means "grain harvester" or "combine", likely a reference to grain working given by his likely Soviet parents.
- The work a combine does is "reaping" a harvest, a modern variation of the age-old scythe; the Georgian President whose name is synonymous with "Reaper" orchestrates a genocidal reaping against the Azerbaijani people and anybody who gets in his way with modern technology.
- My Death Is Only The Beginning: Although it's not elaborated on, in later games it's mentioned that assassinating him created several unforseen negative implications, enough that Third Echelon makes a significant effort to capture the major villains of the next two games alive.
- Non-Action Big Bad: Fisher catches him unarmed, and he doesn't carry weapons nor tries to defend himself otherwise.
- President Evil: Eventually ousted, though, before his assassination.
- Smug Snake: Believed he could take on the United States and NATO. Even with his electronics-warfare weapons, this takes balls.
- To be fair, Nikoladze never wanted to fight either but Sam exposed his war crimes.
An ex-Spetsnaz Russian mercenary who works as President Nikoladze's right hand man.
- Bald of Evil: He has either a "parachutist" haircut or a balding, and he's both brutal and sadistic.
- Boss Battle: He personally shows up to deal with Fisher at the end of the Abattoir mission after Fisher saved the American and Chinese hostages from waves of mooks.
- The Dragon: Nikoladze's main enforcer.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: He was in the Spetsnaz (Russian Special Forces) before going mercenary.
- Former Regime Personnel: He started his career in the Soviet military.
- The Mafiya: A lieutenant of it.
- Mook Lieutenant: He's the chief of Nikoladze's mercenaries.
- Private Military Contractors: He works as a mercenary and Nikoladze hired his services.
- Psycho for Hire: His mook mercenaries tend to talk about how cruel and brutal he is.
- Renegade Russian: Vicious, works as a hired gun, and, of course, Russian.
- Retired Badass: He was a Spetsnaz once.
A Canadian computer genius hired by President Nikoladze to keep the world blind to Georgia's activities, Masse is the man who instigated the Georgian Information Crisis by using his "Masse Kernels" to disrupt information networks.
- Chekhov's Gunman: His "Masse Kernels" show up in the hands of Displace International in the third game, where they are ultimately destroyed for good.
- The Cracker: Instigated the "Information Crisis" that the conflict in the original Splinter Cell is named for.
- Non-Action Guy: He's just The Cracker and has no fighting capability. When Fisher finds him in the Kola Cell mission, he runs away for cover in fear.
- Post-Climax Confrontation: Fisher tracks him and kills him after assassinating Nikoladze.
- Post-End Game Content: The PC and Xbox versions of the first Splinter Cell include three additional missions after the Presidential Palace one. The first of them has Fisher infiltrating an abandoned factory near Severomorsk in the Kola peninsula to find Masse, kill him and retrieve his algorithms.
President Varlam Cristavi
The CIA-chosen Georgian President who replaces Nikoladze after he goes renegade and into hiding.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Cristavi was one of Nikoladze's ministers and betrayed him by plotting a CIA-backed coup, becoming president of Georgia to put an end to the crisis. Later on Cristavi offers protection to Nikoladze in exchange for the Ark's location, with the actual intent to keep the Ark for himself, and has Nikoladze's guards shot by his own Elite Mooks.
- Corrupt Politician: A CIA-appointed president. He also wants to keep the Ark for himself instead of handing it over to the Americans, for some reason.
- A Lighter Shade of Black: He's corrupt and wants to keep the Ark for himself, but overthrows the much worse Nikoladze and offers to bring "aid and reconciliation" to Azerbaijan, which Nikoladze invaded in the prior weeks.
- Karma Houdini: Pandora Tomorrow confirms he is still the President of Georgia despite his attempt to steal the Ark for himself.
- Torture Always Works: Cristavi learned the true purpose of the Ark by capturing and having one of Nikoladze's men tortured. Sam Fisher recovers the recording of this interrogation in the last mission.
Operation Pandora Tomorrow
The leader of an East Timorese revolutionary/terrorist group called "Darah Dan Doa" ("Blood and Prayer"), Suhadi Sadono is one of the two members of the Big Bad Duumvirate in the second game.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Despite not displaying any remarkable combat skills previously, when you go up against him at the end of the game he has crazy good aim and can kill Sam with one shot from his pistol. You're not supposed to fight him directly.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: With Norman Soth.
- Cigar Chomper: Several videos and cinematics show him with a cigar in his mouth.
- Feet of Clay: Although the news media portrays Sadono as a cunning and capable guerrilla leader, it's discovered over the course of the campaign that - though charismatic - he's rather incompetent and his successes are mostly due to his allies and his insurance policy.
- Dead Man Switch: His "Pandora Tomorrow" scheme involves several sleeper agents in the U.S. who will detonate smallpox bombs if he is killed or captured, in order to prevent the U.S. interfering with his revolutionary uprising.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Apparently because Karlthson was a woman, he couldn't resist her requests to have full access to his facility when she was captured.
- Expy: He not only looks and dresses like Che Guevara — not to mention sharing similar beliefs about violent revolution — but it's even revealed in-game that Sadono's image and likeness have been adapted for shirts and other merchandise as a symbol of rebellion. Sound familiar?
- Far East Asian Terrorists: A terrorist from East Timor (neighbor country to Indonesia), in Southeast Asia.
- Frontline General: He's seen taking to the field alongside his rebel troops. This is part of his Evil Plan; since his death would result in a mass terror attack, American forces are forced to withdraw whenever he shows up rather than risk killing him.
- Lima Syndrome: Toward Ingrid Karlthson.
- Magnificent Bastard: He devises an elaborate scheme to hold the United States hostage with the threat of a smallpox outbreak if he is killed, making him effectively untouchable and forcing the Americans to back off.
- Narcissist: He's quite vain and arrogant. In one cutscene he is seen fighting alongside his troops, and he stops to wink at the camera.
- Nice Hat: Wears a beret similar to the one worn by Che.
- One-Man Army: One of Pandora Tomorrow's goals is to turn Sadano into one of these. Since millions will die in smallpox bombings if he is killed in combat, whenever he takes to the field, U.S. forces are forced to retreat so as not to risk killing him, making him look like some sort of superhero to the local populace. Part of Sadano's reason for coming up with the scheme was likely to become a Fake Ultimate Hero and play into his ego.
- Psychopathic Manchild: According to Karlthson, he has a child's view of war, seeing no difference between soldier and civilian, and seeing them all as legitimate targets.
- You Can't Thwart Stage One: You have a perfect opportunity to shoot Sadano in the face in the game's prologue level, well before he's implemented his Pandora Tomorrow scheme and without putting any of the hostages at risk. This results in an immediate mission failure for deviating from your orders to avoid engaging with the enemy.
A former CIA agent who took up sides with Suhadi Sadono, Soth is one of the two villains of the second game.
- Bald of Evil: He's a hairless terrorist.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: With Suhadi Sadono.
- Code Name: mortified_penguin.
- Deep Cover Agent: How he started out. Then he went too deep.
- Dragon-in-Chief: Sadono is the face of Pandora Tomorrow, but it's Soth that does all the planning and all the legwork.
- Evil Cripple: Has a prosthetic leg, courtesy of the car bomb that he blamed on Uncle Sam.
- FaceHeel Turn: He was a former CIA agent before going rogue.
- Handicapped Badass: Is apparently still fit enough to lead commando raids even with only one leg. His prosthetic limb also doesn't handicap him in any way during the final shootout.
- Not in This for Your Revolution: Soth doesn't give a damn about Sadono's revolution. He just wants to get revenge on America for burning him all those years ago.
- Rogue Agent: Was "burned" by the Agency while in deep cover in Indonesia. This got him blown up by the people he was embedded with. He survived, minus one leg, and ended up hooking up with Sadono to get revenge on America.
- Western Terrorists: A former CIA agent who turned against his country.
East Asian Crisis
Douglas "Doug" Shetland
Shetland is the CEO of Displace International. He is a former Force Recon Marine who was considered for the Splinter Cell program, and a friend of Sam's. He is also the Big Bad of the third game, trying to spark World War III in North Korea through the utilization of the destruction of the USS Walsh.
- Bald of Evil: Or in the least thinning brown hair.
- Big Bad: Of Chaos Theory.
- Big Bad Friend: To Fisher.
- Cool Old Guy: Lampshaded by Grim in Pandora Tomorrow, who comments: "Could almost believe the two of you are competing for the title "World's Most Amoral Reluctantly-Aging Badass".
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: He is the head of Displace International, and is hellbent on expanding its power even if it means world war.
- Destination Defenestration: At the end of their showdown, Sam throws him through a rooftop window to his death after either shooting him or stabbing him.
- Elite Mooks: Shetland's handful of personal bodyguards are equipped with thermal vision goggles and are the only enemies in the original 4 games to be able to see Fisher even in complete darkness.
- Evil Former Friend: A big case of this between him and Fisher.
- FaceHeel Turn: In time for his turn as Big Bad.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: In Pandora Tomorrow, he's at first a hostage to the Darah Dan Doa, then contributes to a mission briefing and has his contractors cover Sam with sniper fire. Come the sequel, he's the big bad, along with Ottomo, and not only manages to start a second Korean War, but also very nearly gets Japan involved.
- I Surrender, Suckers: Tries to pull this on Sam during their last confrontation in Chaos Theory. It doesn't work.
- Knight Templar
- Majorly Awesome
- Motive Rant: He gives a pretty impressive rant on what drove him to fund terrorists and try to start World War III. Basically after being disillusioned with the American political system, he wants to shake up the world order in the hopes that whatever comes out the other side is an improvement.
- Puzzle Boss: The "final confrontation" with Shetland involves the player navigating a maze of pipes to defuse a series of bombs while dealing with a handful of Elite Mooks. The actual short hand-to-hand fight on the roof that follows is more of a Cutscene Boss encounter.
- Retired Badass
- Semper Fi: Formerly.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: Force Recon specifically.
- You Wouldn't Shoot Me: He tells Sam that he wouldn't shoot an old friend. Sam either does shoot him or puts his gun away and stabs him when Shetland tries to kill him.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters:Sam: You're a murderer, and a war criminal!
Shetland: Those are the only names the state has for the revolutionaries, Sam! You only become a hero after the war is over.
Milos Nowak / "Milan Nedich"
- Asshole Victim: Given the fact that he tried to start World War III, murders his own men, was involved in kidnapping Morgenholt, and was a war criminal before that, there's a lot of enjoyment in turning him into a corpse.
- Big Bad: Subverted. He is really The Dragon.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul
- Morton's Fork: The second of two characters in the game who Sam will kill regardless of which button you press to take him out after interrogating him.
A naive computer theorist who wants to promote world peace through his protection by Displace International. His "Dvorak" algorithms are used by Shetland in an attempt to provoke World War III. Mentioned in the second game, he shows up in the third.
- The Dreaded: Rumored to have gone insane by the events of the third game, he becomes this to Third Echelon in their investigation of the stolen algorithms on which he has intimate knowledge, having reverse-engineered Philip Masse's handiwork from the third game.
- The Evil Genius: In the third game, though he's not evil, nor does he know what is being done with his work until it is too late for him.
- Reluctant Mad Scientist: He is a chronicaly naive computer theorist who only wants to use his unblockable magic hacker-program to promote the course of 'world peace'. Too bad he chose Shetland as a partner.
- Smart People Wear Glasses
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Shetland murders him once Zherkezhi realizes that Shetland is using him.
Information Self-Defense Force
Admiral Toshiro Otomo
An old-fashioned Japanese admiral, he is the head of Japan's new electronic warfare branch. He turns out to be the game's second big-bad, alongside Douglas Shetland, using the Dvorak algorithms to launch false-flag operations to start a war in the Koreas and re-militarize Japan.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: He's working with Shetland to cause a war between North and South Korea, though ultimately for different reasons than Shetland.
- Chekhov's Gunman: He does not seem to be a very important character at first, providing only some color to a few of the briefings. Then he turns out to be party to the sinking of the Walsh and the war in Korea.
- Even Evil Has Standards: He's completely mad with power and was willing to betray his own nation to see his imperialist agenda fulfilled, but when captured he refuses to lie in the face of the evidence and makes the honorable decision to take full responsibility for his actions.
- Evil Counterpart: If Shetland is this to Fisher, then Otomo is one to Lambert, being Lambert's Japanese counterpart as the head of their information warfare division.
- Expy: Some of his mindset is quite similar to that of Yukio Mishima: nostalgia for Imperial Japan's order, planning a military coup to restore it and ultimately committing Seppuku. He's also similar to Yamata from Debt of Honor, especially in how he tries to kill himself but is stopped so he can face public trial.
- FaceHeel Turn: Formerly Japanese intelligence, now villain.
- False Flag Operation: Along with Shetland, hacks into a North Korean missile battery and disables the Walsh's defenses, which results in the sinking of the Walsh and North Korea getting the blame. Then he prepares to launch a North Korean cruise missile at Japan, in order to steer public opinion towards re-militarizing Japan.
- Graceful Loser: Once his attempt at Seppuku fails, Otomo's sense of honor sees him confess to his crimes in public and taking all the blame.
- Insane Admiral: In spades.
- Knight Templar: He wants to make Japan a great military power again. To that end, he's willing to kill thousands of Koreans, Americans and Japanese to see it done.
- Seppuku: Attempts it once Sam breaches his inner sanctum. Sam saves his life because there has to be someone to take the fall for everything that's happened.
- The Stoic: He does not have much in the way of a sense of humor, though Grimm notes he is much nicer than he appears to be in person. Given the fact that he tries re-arming Japan to go to war with North Korea, this may not be an accurate assessment of the man.
- Walking Spoiler
John Brown's Army
The leader of John Brown's Army. Emile was a wealthy Mississippi citizen who sold all of his possessions in order to fund his revolutionary army. He believes America has become corrupt and has to be taken down and rebuilt.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Subverted in the Xbox 360/PC version. If you try to stealth kill him, he'll break out of Sam's grip and assume a fighting stance, but Sam will just drive his nasal bone into his brain with a single strike to the face, killing him. Played straight in the Xbox/PS 2 version in which you have a full-on Final Boss fight against him, due to him having a machine gun and Sam having lost his pistol inside a maze of laser tripmines.
- Bad Boss: He executes Enrica if the bomb fails to go off on the cruise ship, suspecting she was a mole who sabotaged the device, even though he had no evidence.
- Bald of Evil: Very much an example of such.
- Big Bad: Of Double Agent.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: Played with. Despite being a militia leader, he's got a black female liberal as his second-in-command. Likewise, he's taken his organization's name from a famous abolitionist.
- If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: He really likes pulling this, even on operatives who have already proven their loyalty.
- Properly Paranoid: He's got no less than two deep cover agents in his organization. Sadly, his tests don't prove anything since he's rather forgiving of mistakes comparatively speaking.
- Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: Is the leader of one of these, though John Brown's Army is much more effective than most examples thereof.
- Taking You with Me: When the Feds storm his secret HQ, he tries to use his nuclear bomb to blow up New York City rather than be taken alive.
- Dumb Muscle: He's a big brute who's not big on things like planning and tactics.
- The Dragon: To Dufraisne.
- Dragon Their Feet: It's possible to play Double Agent and not even kill him if a certain level isn't unlocked.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: His profile says he's racist, though he never expresses it in game.
- Properly Paranoid: He despises Sam, believing him to be bad news. His instincts turn out to be right in the end.
- Unskilled, but Strong: He has nowhere near the level of close combat training that Sam has, but if you try to stealth kill him he manages to counter and briefly give Sam some trouble through sheer brute strength. Sam quickly disables him with a few surgical strikes before snapping his neck, though.
A ruthless young member of John Brown's Army.
- Affably Evil: He's very nice to the people he considers his friends, but extremely cruel to the ones he does not.
- The Brute: He's prone to Kick the Dog moments when Sam won't do it.
- Evil Cripple: Downplayed. He has a pacemaker in his chest to keep his heart regular, but he's otherwise capable and healthy. You can kill him with your pistol's EMP attachment in version 2 of the game, however.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Has complete and utter faith in Sam Fisher's loyalty to the JBA.
Enrica Villablanca (Rachel Reenstra)
A former student activist who has found herself working for John Brown's Army.
- Affably Evil: Despite being blackmailed into becoming a member of the JBA, she's still a member and assists in their terrorist activities.
- The Dark Chick: Albeit, an Affably Evil one.
- Defecting for Love: In the PS 2/Wii version of Double Agent, Sam develops a genuine romantic attachment to Enrica, and is very pissed when she's killed by Third Echelon. In the Xbox 360/PC version, though, Sam's just playing her for info, and is perfectly happy to kill her in cold blood in order to achieve 100% Completion. She does help Sam by unlocking a coded door for him if he lets her live instead, but he can kill her before she walks away after the door is opened, and no option to knock her unconscious is available.
- The Medic: Serves in this role.
- Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Has a Ph.D. and is working for terrorists.
- Not in This for Your Revolution: Unlike the other members of the JBA, who are all hardcore anti-government militants, Enrica is essentially an Ivy League educated revolutionary wannabe who only sticks around because Emile has enough dirt on her to bury her.
- Optional Sexual Encounter: It's possible, though not required, for Sam and Enrica to hook up in Double Agent.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Sam.
- You Have Failed Me: Emile executes her when the bomb on the cruise ship fails to go off due to Sam's sabotage.
Lucius Galliard (Tyrone Benskin)
The CEO of Black Arrow and several other companies. Lucius is a member of Megiddo, a Nebulous Evil Organization with major influence that opposes President Patricia Caldwell.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive
- He Knows Too Much: Mere moments after Sam captures him, a sniper kills Galliard to prevent him from talking about Megiddo, with Sam getting barely any information about the group. The assassin is killed by a car bomb a few minutes later.
- The Man Behind the Man: He gives orders to both Reed and V.P. Samson on behalf of Megiddo.
- Villain with Good Publicity: When he is mentioned on a news program Sam can overhear, he is described as a well-known philanthropist.
Colonel Jeremy Prentiss (Trevor Hayes)
A colonel who works for Black Arrow, Prentiss serves as one of Tom Reed's allies during the fifth game,
- The Brute: Of the fifth game.
- Colonel Badass: Subverted, in that the best effort he makes against Sam Fisher is in a gunship with machine guns and missiles, and he still doesn't manage to hit him.
- Hellish Copter: Dies when his helicopter is hit by missiles fired from Vic Coste's own gunship.
- Sinister Shades
- Would Hit a Girl: And would take one hostage to try to protect himself from Fisher.
Major Shawn Robertson (Danny Blanco-Hall)
A major working for Black Arrow, he serves as one of Tom Reed's allies in the fifth game.
- Beard of Evil
- Black Dude Dies First: Robertson is the first of Conviction's villians to die.
- The Brute
- Explosive Instrumentation: When Sam sets off an EMP to stop Robertson from tracking down Grim, the console he is using electrocutes him and then explodes, setting his body on fire in his chair.
- Majorly Awesome: Subverted. He doesn't really do much at all, despite his rank.
- Scary Black Man
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: He and his men execute the scientists at White Box once they finished work on the EMP devices.
Majid Sadiq (Carlo Rota)
The leader of the Engineers and the mastermind behind the "Blacklist" plot against the United States.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Puts up a pretty good fight against Sam in the finale. He's basically the only guy besides Douglas Shetland who could actually fight Sam hand-to-hand on an even playing field.
- Bald of Evil
- Big Bad: Of Blacklist.
- Break Them by Talking: Does this successfully with a captured US soldier in Iraq before executing him. Tries this with Sam in London but Briggs pulls a Big Damn Hero moment.
- Character Tic: Plays with Sam's karambit whenever he gets hold of it in non-combat situations.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Has this performed on the US Secretary of Defense in order to get his information codes.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Does this to Briggs when attempting to escape the bunker and almost does this with Sam in their final confrontation.
- Defiant to the End: Attempts to pull this off with Sam at the end of their fight in Colorado. He fails, as Sam spares him.
- Evil Brit: Ex-MI-6.
- Faux Affably Evil: Drops his facade when he is called out on his actions.
- Fallen Hero: He's a former MI-6 agent turned terrorist ringleader. The implication of his character is to show what might have happened to Sam if the events of Conviction had played out differently.
- Final Boss: Has a true Boss Battle in his finale.
- Genius Bruiser: Conducts and plans a series of meticulous and incredibly destructive terrorist attacks while staying one step ahead of the protagonists, is a former MI-6 agent who knows most of the tactics Fourth Echelon will deploy against him and is one of the few antagonists of the franchise to come closest to killing Sam Fisher in a fair fight.
- Hannibal Lecture: Pulls off a creepy one on a helpless hostage in Iraq, reducing him to a sobbing wreck.
- Ink-Suit Actor: He looks exactly like Carlo Rota.
- Not So Different: He pretty much says this to Fisher, they're both men who kill in cold blood without regard for the law for a cause they believe in.
- Rogue Agent: Ex-MI6 agent.
- The Un-Reveal: His actual plan is never really elaborated on, aside from that he wants to get some kind of information from the Secretary of Defense's accounts, which he deems to be the most dangerous weapon available to the modern world. He knows not to give a Motive Rant to his enemies.
- Word of God is that, in addition to nuclear access codes, he was also seeking all of the United States' massive troves of information to expose their secrets to the world and destroy all of their international relationships.
- Villainous Breakdown: Has a brief but spectacular one when Briggs, against all his expectations, actually kills the Secretary of Defense complete with a Big "NO!" and a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.