CIA Director to discuss national security, public privacy

Lauren Florence

Central Intelligence Agency director John O. Brennan will discuss the role of intelligence in protecting the United States from national security threats and appropriate supervision of intelligence surveillance on campus Tuesday.

Hosted by the University’s Intelligence Studies Project, Brennan will be joined by UT System Chancellor William McRaven, former CIA director Porter Goss and Intelligence Studies Project director Steve Slick.

The Intelligence Studies Project was formed in 2013 by UT’s Clements Center for National Security and the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law after concurring that intelligence and national security were understudied by universities.

Liam Kozma, global policy studies graduate student, said this could be a “once in a lifetime” event because it’s uncommon for CIA directors to discuss intelligence and national security at a public event. Kozma said he looks forward to hearing Brennan’s thoughts on how the CIA takes precautions to protect the American public’s privacy.

“The country is facing increasingly complex threats from states, non-state actors, homegrown terrorists and cyber criminals while being heavily scrutinized by the American public over perceived intrusions into their privacy and individual rights,” Kozma said.
Brennan has been the CIA director since 2013 and manages intelligence collection and analysis, covert action and counterintelligence liaison relationships with foreign intelligence services, according to the event website.

Brennan served at the White House for four years as assistant to President Obama for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism before becoming the CIA director. As an assistant to the president, Brennan gave advice on counterterrorism strategies and helped organize the government’s policies for responding to terrorism, cyber attacks, natural disasters and pandemics, according to the
event website.

Finance sophomore Ali Prasla said she is attending the event as an opportunity to learn more about the intelligence community than what movies portray. Prasla said she is also concerned about privacy protection in the United States.

“The Snowden revelations revealed a lot of troubling things about the American security apparatus,” Prasla. “This would be a good opportunity to see the other side of the argument.”

The lecture is scheduled for at 3 p.m. at the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center.