On Thursday, Jan. 18, former CIA Director John Brennan visited AU. He met with students from a variety of majors throughout the day, fielding questions about his career as a public servant in the CIA.
Brennan worked as a CIA agent for 25 years, during which he spent time as an analyst, station chief and, ultimately, director of the agency.
In an event open to the campus in York Performance Hall on Thursday night, Brennan was interviewed by President John Pistole on stage.
Together, they shared parts of their history working together in the federal government.
Pistole asked Brennan many questions about his time as a CIA agent and working with four White House administrations, from President George H. W. Bush to President Obama.
Under the Obama administration, Brennan served as the assistant to the president for Homeland Security from 2009-2013, and then as CIA director from 2013-2017.
Brennan often referenced how his upbringing shaped his character and would define his morality.
Born in New Jersey and raised by his parents in an Irish-Catholic neighborhood, Brennan said he learned early the difference between right and wrong and that has been a lesson that assisted his career in government.
From a young age, Brennan was fascinated by the story of Nathan Hale, an early American spy and hero, which inspired his interest in national security. Brennan said his ability to operate objectively and remain non-partisan served him well as he worked to protect the US in presidential administrations of both parties.
He adamantly defended the work of CIA agents and other public servants in light of recent political attacks on federal agencies, making note of the many sacrifices that the men and women make for work that remains nameless.
Brennan said he was impressed with his experience at AU and ended the event by thanking the school and praising the students.