Young Leaders Network: A Conversation with John Brennan
Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Former CIA director and longtime intelligence official John Brennan visited NYU Washington, DC, to discuss his more than 30 years of service in government under Republican and Democratic presidents.
John Brennan has been a witness to, and participant in, key moments in recent American history, including such pivotal events as the first Gulf war, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Arab Spring, the hunt for Bin Laden, and Russia’s aggressive efforts to undermine U.S. national security. Mr. Brennan discussed a wide variety of subjects of topical interest, including issues surrounding climate change and national security.
This event was closed to the public. Only current NYU DC students, as well as students participating in The Archer Center of the University of Texas system in Washington, D.C., were invited to attend. The discussion was off-the-record.
John O. Brennan served as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from March 2013 to January 2017. As Director, he managed intelligence collection, analysis, covert action, counterintelligence, and liaison relationships with foreign intelligence services.
Before becoming Director, Mr. Brennan served at the White House for four years as Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. During that time, he advised the President on counterterrorism strategy and helped coordinate the US Government’s approach to homeland security, including its policies for responding to terrorism, cyber attacks, natural disasters, and pandemics.
Mr. Brennan began his service in government at the CIA, where he worked from 1980 to 2005. He spent most of his early career in the Agency’s main analytic arm, the Directorate of Analysis, specializing in the Near East and South Asia before directing counterterrorism analysis in the early 1990s. In 1994 and 1995 he was the Agency’s intelligence briefer to President Bill Clinton.
After an assignment as a Chief of Station in the Middle East, Mr. Brennan served from 1999 to 2001 as Chief of Staff to George Tenet, who was then Director of Central Intelligence. Mr. Brennan next worked as Deputy Executive Director of the CIA until 2003, when he began leading a multi-agency effort to establish what would become the National Counterterrorism Center. In 2004, he became the Center’s Interim Director. After retiring from the CIA in 2005, Mr. Brennan worked in the private sector for three years.
Mr. Brennan graduated from Fordham University in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. While enrolled at Fordham, he studied abroad at the American University in Cairo in 1975-1976. He later attended the University of Texas at Austin, where in 1980 he earned a master’s degree in government with a concentration in Middle Eastern studies.
Mr. Brennan was born on September 22, 1955, in Jersey City, New Jersey. He is married and has three children.