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John McLaughlin

Distinguished Practitioner-in-Residence at the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies

About

John E. McLaughlin is Distinguished Practitioner in Residence in the Merrill Center for Strategic Studies at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of the Johns Hopkins University.

Mr. McLaughlin, a 1966 graduate of Johns Hopkins SAIS, served as Acting Director of Central Intelligence from July to September of 2004 and as the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence from 2000 to 2004. Prior to that, he was the Deputy Director for Intelligence at the Central Intelligence Agency, Vice Chairman for Estimates and Acting Chairman of the National Intelligence Council.

Earlier in his career with the CIA, which spanned three decades, Mr. McLaughlin focused on European, Russian, and Eurasian Issues in the Directorate of Intelligence. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he served as Director of the Office of European Analysis during the period marked by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

Then, four months after the break-up of the Soviet Union, he became Director of the CIA office – Slavic and Eurasian Analysis – that was responsible for CIA’s analysis of the fifteen independent states that emerged from the USSR. During this time, he frequently represented the Intelligence Community on the US diplomatic missions that established initial relations with these newly-independent countries.

While Deputy Director for Intelligence from 1997 to 2000, he created the Senior Analytic Service, a CIA career track that enables analysts to rise to very senior rank without branching out into management. He also founded the Sherman Kent School for Intelligence Analysis, an institution dedicated to teaching the history, mission, and essential skills of the analytic profession to new CIA employees.

In addition to earning his master’s degree in international relations from SAIS/Johns Hopkins, he received a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University and completed graduate work in comparative politics at the University of Pennsylvania. He served as a US Army Officer in the 1960s, completing a tour in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969.

Mr. McLaughlin is the recipient of the Distinguished Intelligence Community Service Award and the National Security Medal. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Academy of Diplomacy, a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and Chairman of the CIA Officers Memorial Foundation. He also serves on the Board of the OSS Society, CIA’s External Advisory Board, and the Aspen Institute’s Homeland Security Advisory Board. He is a Board of Trustees member at the Aerospace Corporation and the Noblis Corporation.

Expertise

Topics

  • American Defense Policy
  • Counterterrorism
  • Intelligence
  • Nuclear Policy and Proliferation
  • Strategic and Security Issues
  • U.S. Homeland Security
  • Weapons of Mass Destruction

In the News

The pandemic makes the world more dangerous

John McLaughlin quoted in Los Angeles Times, 4/26

The global national security effects of COVID-19

John McLaughlin interviewed on Intelligence Matters podcast, 4/22

Our 10 must-read stories — the OZY highlight reel

John McLaughlin cited in OZY, 4/18

Don’t bet on China to fill the post-pandemic leadership void

John McLaughlin wrote in The Cipher Brief, 4/17

COVID-19 affects national security in novel ways.

John McLaughlin wrote in OZY, 3/19

Trump's intel power play spooks the spooks.

John McLaughlin quoted in Politico, 3/8

U.S. foreign policy and a ‘Bridge to the Unknown’.

John McLaughlin wrote in The Cipher Brief, 3/2

After Suleimani: Crisis, opportunity, and the future of the Gulf.

John McLaughlin participated in panel for Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2/24

Is the CIA’s director going full MAGA?

John McLaughlin cited in The New Republic, 2/12

Former CIA chief weighs in on Iowa debacle.

John McLaughlin wrote in OZY, 2/5

Questions to be asking about Iran and Iraq.

John McLaughlin wrote in The Cipher Brief, 1/22

Where is the Iran conflict heading?

John McLaughlin wrote in OZY, 1/17

Prosecutors investigating intelligence analysts is a dangerous idea.

John McLaughlin wrote in The Washington Post, 1/16

‘Four embassies’: The anatomy of Trump’s unfounded claim about Iran.

John McLaughlin quoted in The Washington Post, 1/13

What’s next for Iran?

John McLaughlin interviewed in The Cipher Brief, 1/6

U.S. national security in 2020: No crises, please.

John McLaughlin wrote in OZY, 1/2

Intel probe puts CIA’s Haspel in a bind.

John McLaughlin quoted in Politico, 12/27

Today's headlines and commentary.

John McLaughlin cited in Lawfare, 12/16

Countering Chinese espionage.

John McLaughlin interviewed on The Lawfare Podcast, 12/14

CyberCon triples number of events for 2020.

John McLaughlin cited in Infosecurity Magazine, 11/19

U.S. foreign policy appears 'out of control'.

John McLaughlin interviewed on CNN International, 11/12

The man who popularized the 'Deep State' doesn't like the way it's used.

John McLaughlin cited on NPR All Things Considered, 11/6

No longer worried about ISIS? Think again.

John McLaughlin wrote in OZY, 11/1

U.S. intelligence and election security.

John McLaughlin participated in panel discussion on C-SPAN, 10/30

Trump takes American leadership down a notch…again.

John McLaughlin wrote in OZY, 10/10

Which Republican will have a Watergate moment?

John McLaughlin wrote in OZY, 10/1

Trump whistleblower complaint.

John McLaughlin interviewed on CNN, 9/26

Intelligence community's perspective on Trump whistleblower complaint.

John McLaughlin interviewed on NPR Morning Edition, 9/23

What we know and do not know about the whistleblower complaint.

John McLaughlin interviewed on MSNBC, 9/20

The risk of rising aggression and declining action.

John McLaughlin wrote in The Cipher Brief, 9/16

Former acting CIA Director McLaughlin on the possibility of a U.S.-Taliban peace deal.

John McLaughlin interviewed on NPR All Things Considered, 9/9

Trump nominee sparks worries of intelligence politicization.

John McLaughlin cited in Agence France-Presse, 7/30

‘Amok’

John McLaughlin interviewed in The Cipher Brief, 7/30

How the U.S. could lose a war with China.

John McLaughlin quoted in The Atlantic, 7/25

Iran searches for the West's red lines.

John McLaughlin wrote in OZY, 7/21

The commander in chief is AWOL.

John McLaughlin quoted in The Washington Post, 6/21

How to name this era in U.S. foreign policy?

Mara Karlin and John McLaughlin wrote in Global Brief, 6/20

White House struggles to convince allies that Iran is responsible for tanker attacks.

John McLaughlin interviewed on NPR All Things Considered, 6/17

As Trump accuses Iran, he has one problem: His own credibility.

John McLaughlin quoted in The New York Times, 6/14

From military to CIA, the sacrifice is often the same.

John McLaughlin wrote in The Cipher Brief, 5/27

Trump’s orders to AG on Russia probe worry critics.

John McLaughlin cited in Associated Press, 5/25

Trump grants Barr power over classified Russia probe info.

John McLaughlin cited on PBS NewsHour, 5/24

Trump denies infighting over Iran.

John McLaughlin cited in OZY, 5/18

The dangers of Trump fatigue.

John McLaughlin cited in Financial Times, 5/17

President Trump’s Iran policy sows confusion, angst.

John McLaughlin cited in The Washington Post, 5/15

Trump’s campaign never tried to defend our democracy.

John McLaughlin cited in The Washington Post, 4/22

Former CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin weighs in on redacted Mueller report.

John McLaughlin interviewed on NPR All Things Considered, 4/18

The curious case of Julian Assange.

John McLaughlin interviewed on NPR All Things Considered, 4/13

We must keep Julian Assange from becoming a martyr.

John McLaughlin wrote in OZY, 4/12

Former CIA Deputy Director explains why 2020 'briefing book' was released early.

John McLaughlin interviewed on NPR All Things Considered, 3/28

Ex-CIA chief: Dems shouldn't retry Mueller's case.

John McLaughlin wrote in OZY, 3/25

Former CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin discusses summary of Mueller report.

John McLaughlin interviewed on NPR All Things Considered, 3/25

Battlefield Washington: Trump's Russia connections.

John McLaughlin quoted in Al Jazeera, 2/28

Whistleblower revelations on Michael Flynn.

John McLaughlin interviewed on MSNBC, 2/19

Former Deputy CIA Director John McLaughlin weighs in on McCabe's claims.

John McLaughlin interviewed on NPR All Things Considered, 2/19

INF treaty, a wise withdrawal.

John McLaughlin cited in Washington Times, 2/4

Professor John McLaughlin receives William Oliver Baker Award for service in security and intelligence

Distinguished Practitioner-in-Residence John McLaughlin was presented the 32nd William Oliver Baker Award recognizing lifetime contributions and exemplary service to intelligence and national security affairs.