John O Brennan Biography

(Former Director of CIA)
John O Brennan

Birthday: September 22, 1955 (Virgo)

Born In: North Bergen, New Jersey, United States

John O Brennan is a former American intelligence officer who worked as the 5th Director of CIA between March 2013 and January 2017 during President’s Barack Obama administration. Brennan’s association with the CIA began way back in 1980 when he started working for the CIA's Directorate of Operations. For the next 25 years, he served in various capacities including working as an analyst for Near East and South Asia, daily intelligence briefer to President Bill Clinton, station chief in Saudi Arabia, chief of staff to CIA Director, George Tenet and director of National Counterterrorism Center. Post this, he briefly worked for the private sector before returning to government service in Obama administration as Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. Before this, he served as an advisor to Obama on matters relating to foreign policy and intelligence during the latter’s presidential campaign in 2008 as well. He currently serves as senior national security and intelligence analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.

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Quick Facts

Also Known As: John Owen Brennan, John O. Brennan

Age: 66 Years, 66 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Kathy Brennan

father: Owen Brennan

mother: Dorothy Brennan

children: Jaclyn, Kelly, Kyle

Born Country: United States

Government Officials American Men

Notable Alumni: The University Of Texas At Austin

U.S. State: New Jersey

More Facts

education: The University of Texas at Austin, The American University in Cairo, Fordham University, Saint Joseph of the Palisades High School

Childhood & Early Life
John O Brennan was born to Owen and Dorothy Brennan on 22nd September, 1955 in North Bergen, New Jersey. His parents were Irish immigrants who moved to New Jersey in 1948. His father was a blacksmith.
He initially went to Immaculate Heart of Mary Elementary School and later joined Saint Joseph of the Palisades High School in New Jersey.
In 1975-1976, as an undergraduate, he learnt Arabic from the American University in Cairo.
In 1977, he completed his B.A. in political science from Fordham University.
He pursued his Masters of Arts in government with a concentration in Middle East studies from the University of Texas at Austin. He earned his MA degree in 1980.
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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.
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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.
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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.
Major Work
John O Brennan worked for the CIA in various positions for 25 years and was eventually appointed its director in 2013 (up till 2017) during President Barack Obama administration. With this, he became the first person after Robert M Gates to rise through the ranks of the agency and hold the top position of the director.
Awards & Achievements
John O Brennan has received numerous awards like the National Security Medal, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal and the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal. Additionally, he has also been the recipient of the Director of Central Intelligence Director’s Medal and the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Director’s Award.
Family & Personal Life
John O Brennan is married to Kathy Pokluda Brennan. The couple have two daughters - Kelly and Jaclyn, and a son, Kyle.

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