A Master Class with the Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at Georgetown University, George Tenet. Previously, Prof. Tenet served as Deputy Director, Acting Director, and from 1997 to 2004 as Director of Central Intelligence during the Clinton and Bush administrations.
A Master Class with
George Tenet is a Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and Senior Research Associate at Georgetown’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. Prior to joining Georgetown University faculty, Mr. Tenet capped a long career in both the congressional and executive branches of government when he was sworn in as the eighteenth Director of Central Intelligence on July 11, 1997, following a unanimous vote by both the Select Committee on Intelligence and the full United States Senate. One of the youngest men to ever serve in that position, George Tenet led the U.S. intelligence community – comprised of all the foreign intelligence agencies of the United States government – and presided over the daily activities of one of its members, the Central Intelligence Agency.
Serving from 1997 to 2004, Director Tenet led efforts to rebuild and modernize the country’s capacity to acquire, analyze and disseminate information vital to U.S. security. In a tumultuous period noted for its dramatic challenges to U.S. security, Mr. Tenet was the first Director of Central Intelligence in three decades to remain in that role after the U.S. presidency had switched political parties, and his seven-year tenure in the Clinton and Bush administrations made him the second-longest serving Director in the history of the CIA. Prior to his appointment as Acting Director in December 1996, Tenet served as Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, having been confirmed in that post in July 1995.
Mr. Tenet came to the intelligence community from the National Security Council, where he was Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Intelligence Programs in the Clinton administration. In that office, he developed and coordinated interagency policies on virtually every aspect of intelligence and espionage from collection priorities to counterintelligence, and was responsible for coordinating all interagency activities concerning covert action. Before joining the NSC, Mr. Tenet was a member of President Clinton’s national security transition team, responsible for a comprehensive assessment of the intelligence community.
Previously, Mr. Tenet served as Staff Director of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence – under the chairmanship of Senator David Boren of Oklahoma – where he was responsible for coordinating all of the Committee’s oversight and legislative activities, which included the strengthening of covert action reporting requirements, the creation of a statutory Inspector General at the CIA, and the introduction of comprehensive legislation to reorganize U.S. intelligence.
Prior to being appointed Staff Director, Tenet directed the Committee’s oversight of all arms control negotiations between the Soviet Union and the United States. Tenet joined the Committee staff in August of 1985 at the behest of the Committee’s Vice Chairman, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont. Mr. Tenet came to the Select Committee after three years on the staff of U.S. Senator John Heinz, III of Pennsylvania, first as a legislative assistant covering national security and energy issues, and then as Sen. Heinz’s Legislative Director.
The son of Greek immigrants, George Tenet worked as a busboy in his family’s diner (now known as the Scobee Diner) on the corner of Northern Boulevard and Little Neck Parkway in Queens, NY.
George Tenet holds a BSFS degree from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and an MIA degree from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. Mr. Tenet was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004. His candid memoir of his service in two presidential administrations, At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA, was published in 2007 by HarperCollins.
George Tenet is a founding board member of the Next Generation Initiative.