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Nearly a decade after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the CIA is leading the fight against Al-Qaeda and its extremist allies. CIA is also pursuing proliferators of nuclear weapons, defending against cyber-attacks, and collecting intelligence on a range of global challenges.
How does a secret intelligence agency operate in a free and open society? What are the legal rules governing intelligence activities? And how does the CIA work to protect our country while abiding by the Constitution and upholding our values?
Leon Panetta has been grappling with such questions since he became the 19th director of the Central Intelligence Agency on February 13, 2009.
As director, he leads the agency and manages human intelligence and open-source collection programs on behalf of the intelligence community.
Panetta has dedicated much of his life to public service. Before joining the CIA, he spent 10 years co-directing with his wife, Sylvia, the Leon and Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy, based at California State University, Monterey Bay. The institute is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit center that seeks to instill in young men and women the virtues and values of public service.
In March 2006, he was chosen as a member of the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan committee established at the urging of Congress to conduct an independent assessment of the war in Iraq. From 1994 to 1997, Panetta served as Chief of Staff to President Clinton. Prior to that, he was director of the Office of Management and Budget, a position that built on his years of work on the House Budget Committee.
Panetta represented California’s 16th (now 17th) Congressional District from 1977 to 1993, rising to Budget Committee chairman during his final four years in Congress.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a law degree, both from Santa Clara University.
Join us for a conversation with Leon Panetta on national security and the law. Get ticket information.