Former Director of CIA speaks at OU

On March 8th, 2005,

I had the opportunity for the second time in my life to hear a former director of the CIA speak in front of me. The first was Robert Gates at my Eagle Scout banquet and this time, on this day, I had the chance to hear George Tenet speak. He spoke about the war on terror, 9/11, the importance of languages, and the importance of a college education. The discussion lasted more than an hour with twenty minutes dedicated to answering students’ questions. In regards to 9/11, Mr. Tenet stated that even if there was not a communication breakdown between the FBI and the CIA, the attacks would have still occurred. Maybe not on that day, but maybe later on. What he said next was probably the most disturbing for anyone in my age group… that Iran, not Iraq should be our biggest concern in the Middle East. He said that if Iraq succeeds and democracy takes shape, the clerics in Iran will lose control. He said Iran is a bigger threat than North Korea and China combined. Because once Iran goes into total chaos, that is when ugly war will start to happen. Mr. Tenet also stated with cold hard facts that Iran funds terrorists and gave concrete examples. One example is how Iran funds the Al-Axah (sp) brigade that resides in Lebanon under the guidance of Syria. He maintained that China is an economic threat, however, he said that Communism there will slowly start to die out. Capitalism is gaining a strong hold, slowly but surely and with that driving the Chinese economy, the red ink will stop to flow. He did say that the US underestimated China’s growth. In the end, George Tenet spoke about the importance of knowing and understanding two langages or more. He said that before 9/11, the intelligence world did not have much concern with foreign languages up until the late 1990’s. He validated my reasons for learning a foreign language, or two. To be able to serve my country in a way that I can best use my talents to defend my country.

Matt Luria