Center on National Security: John O. Brennan on Undaunted
On Thursday, October 15th at 2pm, celebrate the recent release of Undaunted: My Fight Against America’s Enemies, At Home and Abroa by John O. Brennan. He will be joined by Samantha Power for an online discussion.
In this brutally honest memoir, Brennan, the son of an Irish immigrant who settled in New Jersey, describes the life that took him from being a young CIA recruit enamored with the mystique of spy work, secretly defiant enough to drive a motorcycle and sport a diamond earring, and invigorated by his travels in the Middle East to being the most powerful individual in American intelligence. He details his experiences with very different presidents and what it’s been like to bear responsibility for some of the nation’s most crucial and polarizing national security decisions.
Undaunted: My Fight Against America’s Enemies, at Home and Abroad offers a rare and insightful look at the often-obscured world of national security, the intelligence profession, and Washington’s chaotic political environment. But more than that, it is a portrait of a man striving for integrity; for himself, for the CIA, and for his country.
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Former CIA Director John O. Brennan’77 came to the Center on National Security as a distinguished fellow for global security after 33 years of government service. He served as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama from 2013 to 2017. Before becoming Director, Mr. Brennan served at the White House for four years as Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. 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 the 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 the National Counterterrorism Center. In 2004, he became the Center’s Interim Director.
Samantha Power is a Professor of Practice at the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Law School. From 2013-2017, Power served as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and a member of President Obama’s cabinet. From 2009-2013, Power served on the National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights. Power began her career as a journalist, reporting from places such as Bosnia, East Timor, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sudan, and Zimbabwe, and she was the founding executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Kennedy School. Power’s book, “A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide won the Pulitzer Prize in 2003. She is also the author of the New York Times bestsellers Chasing the Flame: One Man’s Fight to Save the World (2008) and The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir (2019), which was named one of the best books of 2019 by the New York Times, Washington Post, Economist, NPR, and TIME. Power earned a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.