In 1980, John O Brennan came across an advertisement in ‘The New York Times’ about recruitment in CIA. He applied and was selected to work as a Career Trainee in CIA's Directorate of Operations.
In 1981, he became a part of Directorate of Intelligence (DI), the agency’s analytic branch.
Between 1982 and 1984, he was appointed the political officer at the U.S. embassy in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia.
From 1984 to 1989, he handled numerous analytic assignments in DI’s office of Near Eastern and South Asian Analysis.
The beginning of the 1990s saw him assuming charge of terrorism analysis in the Director of Central Intelligence's Counterterrorist Center.
In 1994 -95, during the tenure of former US President Bill Clinton, he served as CIA's daily intelligence briefer at the White House.
Between 1995 and 1996, he functioned as the Executive Assistant to George Tenet who was then working as CIA Deputy Director.
Beginning 1996, he took charge as CIA’s Chief of Station in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He continued in his position till 1999.
In 1999, he became the Chief of Staff to George Tenet, who had by then been elevated to the position of CIA Director.
Continue Reading Below
He worked in the above role till 2001 when he was appointed Deputy Executive Director of the CIA. He continued in the position for a couple of years.
In March 2003, he took charge as the Director of the newly established CIA Terrorist Threat Integration Center and worked there till December 2004.
From October 2004 to August 2005, he managed the efforts of different agencies that worked towards establishing an organisation that became the National Counterterrorism Center. He became the Interim Director of the organisation.
John O Brennan’s association with CIA ended for the time in 2005 with his retirement.
Thereafter, he worked for private sector between November 2005 and January 2009. During this time, he served as the Chairman of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) and the CEO of The Analysis Corporation (TAC).
He carried on his responsibilities as the head of TAC even after it was taken over by Global Strategies Group in 2007.
In 2008, he joined the-then Senator Barack Obama as his Intelligence adviser during latter’s presidential campaign.
When Barack Obama became the President of the US, Brennan was considered for the post of Director of the CIA. However, accusation against Brennan regarding his involvement in ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ used during President George W. Bush administration, led to withdrawal of his name.
In its place, he was appointed Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, a position for which confirmation from the Senate was not needed. In this role, for the next four years, he advised the President on counterterrorism strategy.
Continue Reading Below
Additionally, he also helped frame the US Government’s policy towards terrorism, cyber-attacks, natural disasters, and pandemics.
In May 2011, he was present in the Situation Room when the US Special Forces raided the compound of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan and eventually killed him.
During his tenure, he played a crucial role in CIA’s controversial use of drones, to target terrorists in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Afghanistan.
In January 2013, he was nominated by President Obama for the post of director of the CIA.
In March 2013, after his confirmation hearings the previous month, he was sworn in as the Director of the CIA. His involvement in the controversial drone programme and ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ used during President Bush administration came under severe questioning during the confirmation hearings.
In 2015, he declared modification in the structure of the agency owing to cybersecurity threats and complicated counterterrorism landscape.
While working as the Director of CIA, he supervised the agency’s investigation which concluded that Russia had interfered in US presidential election of 2016.
In 2017, when President Obama’s tenure ended, Brennan left the CIA.
Later, in 2017, The University of Texas at Austin appointed him a Distinguished Non-Resident Scholar at the university to advance scholarly study of national security and intelligence. In addition, he was also appointed Senior Advisor to the university’s Intelligence Studies Project (ISP).
In 2017 again, he was appointed to the position of distinguished fellow for global security at the Fordham Law School's Center on National Security.
He is also the world affairs consultant for Kissinger Associates, Inc, a New York based international geopolitical consulting firm.
In 2018, he joined NBC News and MSNBC as Senior National Security and Intelligence Analyst.
He is also writing his memoir which is supposed to be released soon.
He has been severely critical of President Donald Trump on several occasions. In August 2018, his security clearance was revoked by President Trump.